Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers an annual $80 student credit through AWS Educate along with free tiers for many of their services, and educational grants for classes.
AWS Educational Grants
Educator Account (Faculty)
Educator Accounts all yoou to set up AWS Classroom for you class. When you choose “AWS Cloud Basics” for the class, students get “EC2, S3, RDS, Cloud9, CloudFormation, Tag” for free, and students get a $50 credit.
AWS gives us the option to request a classroom enrollment link. In addition, TAs can enroll/manage/view the students in their section.
AWS Educator Cloud 9 Classroom
When you create a Classroom, choose “AWS Cloud Basics” for the class, students get “EC2, S3, RDS, Cloud9, CloudFormation, Tag” for free, and students get a $50 credit.
Note: there are other classroom templates list on the FAQ page and the list a template classrooms includes a Cloud9 template, but it does not appear in the classroom type selection. It appears Cloud9 to be rolled into the Cloud Basics template.
The Classroom is managed by third party Vocareum. It’s a bit cumbersome to navigate; it requires 3-4 clicks to actually open your Cloud9 environment. The good news is that the Cloud9 environment looks and behaves very much like before. To control cost set up the classroom to close the browser after 30 minutes of inactivity, which should prevent students running out of credits due to an idle session.
Opening Cloud9 in the AWS console on the first day resulted in 14c charge. It appears to be charging a combination of time spent and storage. They have an estimator here (https://aws.amazon.com/cloud9/pricing/) and they estimate $2.05 per month for 90 hours of Cloud9 usage.
If the student depletes all their credit their account is automatically deleted/inactivated. But, AWS will send you 30%, 50% and 70% warning usage emails, and every student can request a “one time only” extra credit of $20 to finish their project and back up their work. It will be imperative to have the students back up their work some place else (Google Drive, Dropbox).
Large Class Management
It appears to be best to have each TA create a classroom and invite their approximately 48 students. The owner of the Classroom can view the credits usage of each student, and can also “go in” and view a student’s workspace. In the past semesters, each student shared their Cloud9 workspace (a constant link) with their TA. With the current AWS Educator account, this feature is DISABLED. But the TA can go and view a student’s workspace. We are testing to see if the TA can see the File Revision History, which we have used in the past to detect copy/paste cheating. It might not be available anymore.