Cork Institute of Technology’s cloud masters programme has been inundated with applications from Ireland and internationally, with more than 200 international applicants pursuing 20 places.
The course, which CIT says is a global first, launched last year.
As well as 200 students that have signed up for the course, 80 additional students have joined under the Irish Government’s re-skilling programme. These are technically qualified individuals looking to reskill in ICT and cloud technology.
From September to January, the course was theory based. But in January the students began the practical side of the course which required them to be building and operating virtualised systems to complete assignments and log in and interact with live lectures and tutorials.
Classes are also recorded so participants can access them at a later time if they are unable to attend in real-time.
Emphasis on unified comms and BYOD
Following extensive evaluations of data centre technologies across many Vendors, CIT selected Cisco’s server platform Unified Computing System (UCS) and its Nexus DC switches, along with EMC storage and VMware virtualisation, as the underlying infrastructure that students use within the course.
“CIT needed to implement a new virtual desktop infrastructure to provide online teaching for this new masters in cloud computing,” explained Gerard Culley, IT manager at CIT.
“It needed to be built on a foundation that could accommodate long-term growth and support objectives for e-learning leadership. The goal was to deliver anytime, anywhere learning accessibility.
“We selected Cisco’s UCS for these reasons. Cost was a major consideration, of course, but we were also looking for a solution that could rapidly deliver in terms of breadth and scale,” Cullen added.
For staff and students, one of the biggest benefits of desktop virtualisation is secure mobile access, especially amidst the need to support a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach for students who prefer to access the course on the devices they prefer.
“Any IT administrator in an educational environment knows that one of the biggest challenges is accommodating a huge range of devices on one network,” said Garrett Heraty, public sector, Cisco Ireland.
“Virtualisation gives every user the ability to have remote access, and it enables CIT to offer a truly connected educational experience, which was key for this course,” Heraty added.