University of Central Missouri: UCM Joins AWS Academy Helping to Equip Students in Pursuit of In-Demand Cloud Computing Skills

The University of Central Missouri announces its participation in the AWS Academy, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) program that provides higher education institutions with a ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum.

According to Qingxiong Ma, Ph.D., a professor in Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA), UCM began integrating AWS Academy program courses into the CISA program in summer 2021. These courses prepare students to pursue careers in the fast-growing cloud computing space and facilitate them to achieve the industry-recognized AWS Certifications.

The AWS Academy curriculum is developed and maintained by AWS subject matter experts, ensuring that it reflects current services and up-to-date best practices. Courses are taught by AWS Academy-accredited educators who undergo AWS rigorous professional training in order to help students become proficient in AWS technology.

UCM currently has three faculty members who are AWS accredited educators – Qingxiong Ma and Rajkumar P.V. from CISA and Lianwen Wang from Computer Science. Dr. Ma is the central contact person for AWS Academy at UCM. He helps faculty members who are in the process of adopting AWS Academy courses and labs. Since UCM began to formally adopt AWS Academy Labs in its programs last summer, the university now has more than 300 students directly benefitting from using and learning many of AWS services for free.

“To support our students in the AWS certification exams, over 80 exam vouchers have been distributed to our students based on their inquiries,” Ma said. These vouchers will give 50% discount on the exam fee.

He added that UCM has not completely adopted AWS Academy courses because they are not fully aligned to our current degree programs. Instead, the AWS course content is adapted and integrated into courses taught at the university so that they are degree-oriented. Students are encouraged to contact any of the three educators for questions on how to build the certification path and how to enroll the courses.

“By taking our courses, students earn credit hours, and also learn cloud computing skills and technologies, which help them to get professional certifications,” Ma said. “So if a student wants to take the AWS courses, they have to enroll in our courses.”

More than 500 universities and colleges participate in the AWS Academy, but UCM is currently the only higher education institution in the Greater Kansas City area to do so. Recently, however, three high schools in Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs have participated in the AWS Academy program. UCM’s partnership with AWS Academy will make the technical transition “seamless” for students from those high schools.

“We are proud make the AWS Academy curriculum available to our students,” Ma said. “The rapid rise of cloud computing is creating a growing number of high-quality jobs at organizations around the world, and the technical skills that students develop through this program will position them well for their careers today and in the future.”

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