After learning about the use and benefits of the Cloud, as well as experiencing these through the use of AWS in our final project, I thought I would share with the class the infrastructure of the company I worked for this summer as it is similar to the features of the Cloud. I worked for 2U (previously known as 2tor), which is a company that partners with top 25 universities, such as Brandeis, University of Southern California, and Washington University in St. Louis. 2U brings these schools’ undergraduate and graduate programs online so that students can earn degrees from anywhere in the world.
What makes 2U so unique to other online education websites, such as Pheonix.edu or Coursera, is 2U’s advanced technological platform. 2U’s platform can be accessed by anyone from any part of the world with Internet access. So, a student can earn a Georgetown University Nursing degree while learning in Australia. The platform acts as a virtual classroom in which it is a video chat session with up to 20 people allowed in the chat at the same time. Each person’s box in the chat is labeled with their name, including the professor’s. On the side of the session, there is a space for the students and professors to chat with each other via typing, in addition to the speaking abilities of the session. The platform also allows for the professor to break up the students into different “rooms” and have them work in groups, perhaps, and then bring everyone back together. Along with the ability to view all the people in the session, there is also a spot for professors to upload lecture slides and go through them with the students along with their lectures.
The platform feels so “real” and similar to a live classroom, that past students have actually formed relationships via the platform. 2U is even able to celebrate the first engagement between two students initialized because of their platform.
2U’s interface also has a place for professors to upload their lectures from each class so that students can access them at later times.
I think 2U’s interface is similar to capabilities of the Cloud as it is shared access to information from anywhere in the world. 2U is continually praised for its advanced technological platform. I can only imagine what they will think of next with the increasing advanced in technology in today’s society.