Accelerating Research in the Cloud: Preview What’s Next for Internet2’s CLASS Program 

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By Amanda Tan - Internet2 Research Engagement Program Manager

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Internet2 launched the Cloud Learning and Skills Sessions (CLASS) program at the end of 2020 to help fill the gaps in cloud training and workforce development for research computing and data professionals. The cohort-based, two-month, immersive CLASS Advanced program has since facilitated three cohorts with 83 participants spanning 47 institutions.

After wrapping up year one of the program, we took the opportunity to reflect on participant feedback, seek additional community input, and map new goals and approaches for the CLASS program in 2022. 

Join Us for CLASS Essentials
Looking for high-level, hands-on experiences using the cloud? Register for the virtual courses on CLASS Essentials for Google Cloud Platform (GCP), noon-4 p.m. ET on May 17, and CLASS Essentials for Amazon Web Services (AWS), noon-4 p.m. on May 26.

We Asked for Community Input, and Here’s What We Learned.

CLASS logo

During the last six months, Internet2 gathered input on the research and education community’s needs surrounding cloud training and upskilling, and we assessed how CLASS aligns with those needs. The effort included focus groups with CLASS participants, institutional CIOs, and research community organizations, along with feedback surveys from the first three CLASS cohorts. 

The takeaways were that the CLASS Advanced program was extremely valuable in terms of providing a sense of community for those facilitating research in the cloud and for participants looking to enhance their knowledge of cloud computing technologies. However, feedback also shed light on how the value of the program was dependent on where participating institutions were in their cloud journeys, with those further along seeking even more advanced training and those closer to the outset needing more foundational learning experiences. 

We are Evolving the Program to Reflect the Community’s Needs.

Taking this feedback into account, Internet2 is evolving the CLASS program to reflect the needs of the community. CLASS is taking a two-pronged approach to campus-wide cloud enablement. First, we are creating experiential skills sessions that serve foundational to advanced learning needs. Second, we are developing a robust, diverse, and inclusive community of practice around conducting research in the cloud. 

We are Launching New Hands-On Skills Sessions and a Self-Paced e-Book.

For learners who want high-level, hands-on experiences using the cloud combined with exposure to cloud services and terminology, starting in May 2022 CLASS Essentials will offer four-hour virtual interactive sessions designed to introduce the “what” and “how” of cloud computing for research. Participants will have an immersive experience on the basic concepts of cloud computing and will leave the program with knowledge of how to compute, provision storage, and build research workflows in the cloud. Get more information and register for these upcoming virtual sessions:

Over the next few months, we will debut CLASS Core, a self-paced e-book that introduces cloud computing as a collaboration and open science tool. CLASS Core will lay the groundwork for understanding the “why” and “when” of cloud computing for research – helping the community make informed decisions on whether a research workflow belongs in the public cloud and demystifying some of the more obscure considerations around cloud adoption.

What’s Next

Watch for upcoming announcements on how to get involved in CLASS! 

As the CLASS program continues to evolve and grow, Internet2 is designing additional educational modules that will serve community needs. We are also engaging the community through various webinars, sprints, and workshops through the CLASS community of practice. 

Want to be the first to know when we launch the new CLASS Core e-book or when additional CLASS Essentials sessions become available? Email us at class@internet2.edu