CLASS: Cloud Learning and Skills Sessions
CLASS is in Session
CLASS: Cloud Learning and Skills Sessions, fills the gaps in training for cloud and research computing. The program accelerates the adoption of best practices in research computing and data in the cloud and provides professional development for research computing and data professionals (those who support researchers). The third CLASS Advanced Cohort is currently underway.Learn More
CLASS Researcher Spotlight
Internet2 recently interviewed Ajay Kurani from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine about the benefits of participating in CLASS. He said CLASS helped him accelerate his own research and the knowledge he gained helped shorten the timeframe for research “by several months.” Stay tuned for more profiles!
Internet2 has explored the challenges of fully leveraging cloud computing platforms with U.S. research and education (R&E) community stakeholders including CIOs, campus research computing leaders, researchers, and funding agencies. These discussions have consistently highlighted the lack of suitable and sustainable training for our large, diverse, and distributed workforces as a significant factor hindering the effective use of cloud platforms for research workflows.
In response, Internet2 is partnering with major cloud providers and research universities* to develop the Cloud Learning and Skills Sessions (CLASS) program. Launched in late 2020, this program assists U.S. higher education institutions, research IT organizations, and research groups by providing the necessary training to effectively leverage cloud platforms for research workflows.
The CLASS program will leverage cohorts to provide training and support workforce development by gathering and curating a collection of training materials tailored to the R&E community, and by providing online training that utilizes these materials. Following the training, Internet2 will continue to convene the cohort where they will create an ongoing community of practice in which they can share information and lessons learned.
A combination of vendor-neutral guidance for leveraging cloud platforms and training on the tools and technologies supported by cloud providers will allow for coverage of a broad range of research use-cases to more effectively leverage these important resources.
The initial cohort focused on advanced topics for research computing and data concepts for professionals with a sound knowledge of cloud platforms and an interest in (or a need for) developing more complex workflows that leverage advanced services and capabilities. We’re starting Part 2 – Workshop Intensives for our second Advanced Cohort and launching a third Advanced Cohort for Fall 2021. Also in the Fall of 2021, we are running foundational concepts testing and development for university professionals with limited experience using cloud platforms.
For further questions or information about the CLASS program, please email email@example.com.
*Participating research universities:
- American Indian Higher Education Consortium
- DePaul University
- Florida International University
- Grinnell College
- Harvard University
- Indiana University
- Jackson State University
- Michigan State University
- Missouri University of Science and Technology
- Northwestern University
- Oregon State University
- Princeton University
- Purdue University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rice University
- Stanford University
- State University of New Jersey — Rutgers
- Texas Tech University
- University of British Columbia
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Delaware
- University of Florida
- University of Richmond
- University of South Carolina
- University of Utah
- University of Virginia
- University of Washington
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
What is CLASS?
Cloud Learning and Skills Sessions (CLASS) is an Internet2 program that helps institutions, IT organizations supporting research, and research groups with training and workforce development through cohort-based training programs tailored to the U.S. research and education (R&E) community, providing an additional avenue for research computing professionals to connect with their peers.
Guidance for research using cloud platforms and training on specific platforms and technologies supported by multiple public cloud providers will ensure applicability across the diverse R&E community. The pilot program consisted of an advanced cohort to meet the needs of researchers at Internet2 schools currently leveraging one or more cloud platforms with identified use cases.
Subsequent cohorts will include both foundational and advanced cohorts, recognizing that R&E institutions and research groups are at various stages of cloud adoption and proficiency. Those resources will continually be updated to ensure they are current with cloud capabilities and research use cases.
How is CLASS different from training programs offered through cloud providers?
CLASS is a program developed with leadership from some of the top research universities in the country in partnership with leading cloud providers. Input from these institutions has identified areas of workforce development not currently addressed through existing training programs offered by cloud providers. CLASS will address these gaps by focusing on common areas of interest in research computing and data across institutions, including security, complex workflows, and resource management across multiple research groups. The initial cohort focused on advanced capabilities from cloud providers, supporting Internet2’s community preference for open source solutions as well as models for training and development tailored to the R&E community ecosystems and resources.
Why is there a need for CLASS?
Cloud adoption is still in its early stages across U.S. R&E Institutions. Researchers and technology and cyberinfrastructure teams struggle with not only the challenges of navigating multiple cloud platforms and the pace of change of these platforms, but also in transitioning their workflows to take advantage of a multi-cloud environment. These needs are more acute as work becomes increasingly distributed and crosses the boundaries of individual research labs, institutions, and scholarly domains.
Members and participants in the Internet2 community are interested in addressing these challenges collaboratively, sharing lessons learned and best practices. Our community has recognized that the challenge is larger than any one institution or researcher — there is a need for cloud providers, institutions, and Internet2 to come together to address these challenges and support these issues collectively.
CLASS is driven by higher education members’ most compelling needs as they navigate planning for the impacts of COVID-19 and the uncertainty for research continuity over the coming academic year. Even before the pandemic, data-driven discovery was impacting all aspects of research computing and data. Cloud computing is an increasingly important component in supporting these important new research opportunities, as well as the resiliency of research computing and data on campuses.
What are the goals for the CLASS pilot program?
- Work with partners to create a continuous training model for cloud computing with research computing and data professionals across disciplines;
- Sharing and accelerating the adoption of emerging best practices in research computing and data in the cloud across the R&E community; and
- Improving requirements gathering for professional development and training from research computing and data professionals across the community
How were institutions selected for the pilot?
Institutions were selected for the initial pilot (advanced curriculum offering) based on their ability to contribute to the curriculum development, their current experience with and utilization of cloud technologies, and leadership in the research computing and data community. For future cohorts, including those for the foundational curriculum, it is anticipated that a call-for-participation will be issued, providing the opportunity for broad community participation.
How does CLASS intersect with the NET+ program and/or E-CAS?
CLASS builds on successes of the NET+ program, the NSF-funded Exploring Clouds for the Acceleration of Science (E-CAS) project, and with Internet2’s Networking in the Cloud services, such as Cloud Connect, Internet2 Peering Exchange, and Rapid Private Interconnect with major cloud providers. Internal stakeholders across Internet2 have reviewed and provided input into the CLASS initiative. As with these previous programs and projects, CLASS has leveraged the convening power of Internet2 to solve issues collectively, resulting in the leveraging of these solutions more broadly across the community.
Why did you start with the Advanced cohort for the pilot?
The focus on advanced cloud computing training was identified as a key need by the initial cohort of participating institutions.
How will CLASS be measured and assessed?
CLASS will be assessed via evaluations from participants, CIO sponsors, and measures of increased cloud adoption across institutions for research. It is envisioned that CLASS will eventually become a platform for workforce development across research computing and data.
How does this initiative overlap with CloudBank?
The CLASS initiative is complementary to CloudBank. CloudBank is focused on the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) community (initially) and on the purchasing mechanisms for cloud use. In contrast, the Internet2 CLASS effort is focused on the scaling skills and workforce development for research computing across central, distributed, and research IT groups. The University of Washington is participating in both CloudBank and CLASS in recognition of the complementary benefits of both initiatives.
How does this initiative intersect with RHEDcloud?
This initiative is complementary to the security work of the RHEDcloud project. The CLASS effort is focused more broadly on skills development of the central and distributed research IT groups. Some modules, such as those focused on security and compliance, could be developed in conjunction with the RHEDCloud Foundation.
How do I learn more about CLASS?
We want to hear from you.
Contact us for more information.