The ASU course encourages high school students to get their heads in the clouds

This is an early morning wake-up call for fellow teachers and students studying business data analysis at Trinity Smith, Arizona State University (ASU). During the spring 2022 semester, Smith began most mornings with 30 high school students who were enrolled in the CIS 194 Cloud Foundation, a course distributed by ASU.

The online course is co-developed by ASU’s University Technology Office and WP Carey School of Business, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the National Education Equity Lab. Cloud computing offers high school and college credit, as well as an industry certification opportunity, for high school students – those attending Title I or disadvantaged schools.

Students from all over the country participate in ASU courses

Last week, the 13-week course completed its second semester, which was distributed in a hybrid system to 14 high schools across the country, including states like Iowa, Louisiana and New York. So far, more than 225 high school students have enrolled in the course.

The course uses canvas to conduct the online, asynchronous part of the learning – including weekly assignments and quizzes recorded by ASU faculty. Students log into courses directly from the comfort of their high school classrooms and computer labs, which reduces the barriers for students to access online courses and learning materials.

Many students do not have reliable access to a device or Internet connection at home, so having time and space at their school is crucial to completing the course.

Smith, one of the five teachers participating in this semester, shared: “As a teacher, I have come to realize that the digital divide is far more complex than the lack of proper resources. This is exacerbated by the lack of exposure to IT education and career opportunities, which makes this course even more important for these students. “

In addition to learning asynchronous, students were invited to join course teaching fellows during weekly office hours, who are listed as ASU students like Smith. Conducted by Zoom, students from all schools join to review current learning modules, complete homework, and ask questions.

On average, about 30-35 students participated in each live session. Smith noted the importance of this interaction for students: “Although optional, students participate in these sessions to review current learning modules and, more effectively, to gain a baseline understanding of the course’s upcoming content.” And since the topics are quite complex, this time allows students to get a little more comfortable with the content before moving on to the next module.

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