Are you cloud-certified? Preparing Computing Undergraduates for Cloud Certification with Experiential Learning

Eng Lieh Ouh, Benjamin Kok Siew Gan

Cloud Computing skills have been increasing in demand. Many software engineers are learning these skills and taking cloud certification examinations to be job competitive. Preparing undergraduates to be cloud-certified remains challenging as cloud computing is a relatively new topic in the computing curriculum, and many of these certifications require working experience. In this paper, we report our experiences designing a course with experiential learning to prepare our computing undergraduates to take the cloud certification. We adopt a university project-based experiential learning framework to engage industry partners who provide project requirements for students to develop cloud solutions and an experiential risk learning model to design the course contents. We prepare these students to take on the Amazon Web Services Solution Architect - Associate (AWS-SAA) while doing the course. We do this over 3 semester terms and report our findings before and after our design with experiential learning. We are motivated by the students' average 93\% passing rates over the terms. Even when the certification is taken out of the graded components, we still see an encouraging 89\% participation rate. The quantitative feedback shows increased ratings across the survey questions compared to before experiential learning. We acknowledge concerns about the students' heavy workload and increased administrative efforts for the faculty members. We summarise our approach with actionable weekly topics, activities and takeaways. We hope this experience report can help other educators design cloud computing content and certifications for computing students in software engineering.

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