Spencer named one of six Canadian faculty cohorts

AWS Educate Cloud Ambassador program geared for top-tier cloud educators

1/5/2021 11:24:07 AM

ST. JOHN’S, NL – College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Richard Spencer is one of six Canadians named as faculty cohort for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Educate Cloud Ambassador program for 2020.

In the months since his appointment, the world of cloud computing has become more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change how many people interact, and how employers across the globe do business.

The AWS Educate Cloud Ambassador Program is for top-tier cloud educators who serve as ambassadors while sharing their knowledge and experience in teaching cloud computing with other educators at their institution, in their community, and around the world.

“Cloud computing is on-demand computer resources, data computing, storage, and networking without actually having to manage it physically on-site,” Spencer explained. “Storage examples would include Office 365, iCloud, Dropbox, etc. You’re basically doing IT stuff over a web browser instead of physically being in the same room.”

Spencer, who teaches the Computer Systems and Networking program at CNA, says when the pandemic hit, his program would have been very difficult to teach without the aid of AWS.

“Initially, we couldn’t have easily delivered a lot of my program’s courses. AWS is more important than ever right now because many are lacking the physical classroom environment. However, through AWS we can create isolated networks in the cloud with isolated virtual machines and we can simulate our in-class learning, but in an online environment.”

In addition to having an AWS Educate Cloud Ambassador on staff, CNA has since been named as both AWS Educate and AWS Academy. With membership, AWS will give CNA students and educators access to course and other learning resources to help students prepare for cloud careers in growing fields. They can also connect with companies hiring in the field through the AWS Educate Job Board. 

AWS Academy provides higher education institutions with ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum that prepares students to pursue industry-recognized certifications and in-demand cloud jobs. AWS Academy will help ensure CNA’s educators stay at the forefront of AWS Cloud innovation, while equipping students with the skills they need to excel in one of the fastest-growing industries.

“We get to share our experience and knowledge with other educators all around the world. Being a Cloud Ambassador is great. I feel like I have made some forward motion with cloud computing and trying to bring it to the forefront in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s nice to see the hard work I’ve been doing pay off.”

According to Spencer, CNA is one of approximately 100 institutions in Canada who have received the AWS Educate Institution designation, and he feels the access to other AWS Educate Cloud Ambassadors is invaluable.

“Having a global network to draw on means that we will be on the cutting edge of technologies and ways of doing things in a virtual world. To me, it’s great because it gives me connections with other AWS Educate Cloud Ambassadors which will enable us to figure out a lot of best practices, how to bring it into our classroom, and how to virtualize our classroom environments going forward,” Spencer explained.

“I think, even after COVID-19 has passed, CNA will still be offering a lot more programs online than we ever did before. It’s a meeting of the minds to get everything on board and get best practices from everyone all over the world and incorporate them here at CNA.”

In October, CNA announced the expansion of offerings to include the launch of the AWS Cloud Computing microcredential in 2021, which was built as a solution for anyone who didn’t have time for full programs but was still interested in upskilling and advancing in the workplace.

“Earning the AWS microcredential will give students the opportunity to obtain five digital badge certifications related to cloud computing in just one semester, so it’s a really good value,” added Spencer.

Stephen Warren, Dean of CNA’s School of Business and Information Technology (IT), says the designations are a huge accomplishment for CNA.

“Becoming an AWS Academy member institution puts College of the North Atlantic in the company of the top post-secondary institutes across the nation,” Warren said. “It confirms our commitment to provide cutting-edge training on the best-in-class platforms.”

For more information about information technology programs at CNA, visit: www.cna.nl.ca

Media Contact:
Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic