- Amazon Web Services and the University of Georgia have partnered on a project that allows students enrolled in a long-distance physical education course to easily report data to their instructor. Computer science major Chuma Atunzu, with the help of James Castle, lead instructional designer at the university, joined with Amazon Web Services to build a serverless application that allows students taking an online gym class to give their instructor access to heart-rate data with one click.
- The online walking class is meant to help students who are interning or studying abroad complete a required a physical fitness course, Castle said. Students across the globe have used the new app, which automatically transmits information through the internet cloud. The app saves time for students and the instructor, who in the past had to upload and download the data. Amazon charges the university one cent.
- Castle said the project gave Atunzu real-world practice developing a program that benefits his classmates. His team has discussed creating another program for an online jogging class, and he suggested other institutions should consider similar programs to benefit the growing online student population.
This small project is a win for the instructor and students enrolled in the online walking class, not to mention student programmer Atunzu, who is looking for a job. Other institutions could create similar apps, Castle said, and colleges shouldn’t be afraid to call on the expertise of non-campus resources such as Amazon Web Services.
This serves as another example of the growing interest among faculty members and students in the Internet of Things, in which “smart” devices talk to one another through the internet or a wireless network. Such projects reflect the importance of colleges to provide space for STEM students to develop skills as they build IoT applications, as well as room for faculty members to conduct research, guide new business model innovations, integrate and analyze data, and work with private businesses to create IoT tools.
In order to encourage students and instructors interested in creating programs like the University of Georgia, colleges may need to upgrade technological infrastructures and make sure there’s enough bandwidth to accommodate devices. Administrators also should consider that faculty members need time and freedom to work with students to develop such ideas. Schools that move in this direction are in a good position to help lead in the growing IoT economy.