Enhancing student engagement through cloud computing coursework: challenges and opportunities in the time of COVID-19

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities world-wide to adjust to an online delivery model. This has resulted in many unforeseen challenges for module delivery and student engagement. Computing modules such as the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Cloud Platform Development (CPD) final year undergraduate module require substantial hands-on lab work and coursework, and thus call for more deliberation and interventions to maintain student engagement.
The CPD module uses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform for labs and coursework. The module teaching material created at GCU is also taught at the African Leadership College (ALC), Mauritius. Pre-COVID-19 module delivery at ALC had used a flipped classroom model with the GCU online material delivered by ALC tutors. However, for the current academic year, the ALC campus was closed, with the enrolled students spread over many countries and time zones in Africa, resulting in a compounding of the challenges for module delivery.
Cloud platforms, such as AWS are continuously evolving with many new services introduced, resulting in challenges when designing suitable coursework, however, the large array of diverse services available also provides opportunities to provide a well-rounded experience to students. This could increase engagement by linking implementations on the cloud platform with prior studied modules and also providing opportunities to introduce students to the latest concepts such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Blockchain.
In this study, we describe the approaches and techniques employed right from the inception to the delivery of a coursework aimed at increasing the students’ engagement. We also provide the results of a survey conducted after the module delivery to ascertain students’ engagement and identify areas for improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 10th Computer Science Education Research Conference (CSERC '21)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Sep 2021


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