Using Cloud Computing as a Tool for Web Development

This paper is the outcome of an investigation of using Visual Studio in Microsoft Azure as a tool to empower information systems education in ways that lead to a superior perceived learning experience for students and improved learning outcomes. Specifically, we investigated a web development course that is required for all information systems students in which the first half covered the fundamentals of HTML, CSS and Javascript. The second half of the course required students to install a large IDE and then build a simple e-business website that featured a wide range of HTML and CSS components along with user interaction mechanisms such as forms and a database. Variance in student computers led faculty to reduce requirements in the course due to the time and effort required of students to implement the IDE. Furthermore, students with highly capable computers, and the good fortune of an easy installation experience, had more time to devote to their coursework than their peers who struggled for an extended period to get their systems working. A between-subjects study of students in this class was conducted to assess the merits of a cloud computing environment being used to ensure that each student had access to the same high-quality learning experience and that students’ efforts were directed toward the learning objectives of the course and not to troubleshooting computer hardware and software issues.

Keywords: IS Padagogy, Microsoft Azure, Cloud Computing, Web Development