IT at the Faculty of Engineering evolving to meet community needs

Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Author: Lucien Levreault, IT Director, Faculty of Engineering

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Using the cloud to teach students 9,000 km away:

As part of a strategic partnership with the Egyptian government to train the next generation of Egyptian engineers in digital technologies, the Faculty of Engineering required infrastructure resources in a short period of time to support the instruction of 300 students. Areas of study included cybersecurity and cloud analytics.

There were concerns about the potential impact of using University infrastructure to teach these courses. The required processing power, storage needs and, more importantly, IT security concerns could place the University at risk. This meant that external resources would have to be used.

Due to a tight timeline, solutions were required that could be implemented quickly and learned easily. Enter Microsoft Azure Lab Services.

Azure Lab Services offers an easy setup and provision of on-demand access to preconfigured virtual machines (VMs) to support different scenarios including teaching a class, training professionals, running a hackathon or a hands-on lab. Users access all their lab VMs from a single place and can be scaled to hundreds of VMs with a single click, and the service manages all the underlying infrastructures. With the University utilizing Microsoft 365 to implement Azure Lab Services, it offered the best guarantee of meeting the Faculty’s timeline.

The first course for which Azure Lab Services was used was Cybersecurity (SEC5100) in fall 2021. The use of Azure Lab Services was so successful that the course was offered again in the winter term. This summer, the environment will also be used for a Cloud Data Analytics course.

New IT services centre for the Faculty:

The IT services facilities in the Faculty are undergoing a facelift. Starting this summer, our new offices will offer an enhanced client experience, a fresh new look, including dedicated spaces for one-on-one and small group discussions, and training for staff and students. Take a peek!

Photos of IT services centre

The Faculty is making steady progress in aligning with the Digital Campus Transformation Plan and Transformation 2030. These examples of collaboration between Engineering IT Services, Information Technology and the Faculty are just the beginning!

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