Access for All: How Cornell University Uses the Cloud to Reimagine Course Delivery

On-demand Webinar

When two Cornell University instructors wanted improve student access to course resources, they turned to the Cloud. By using cloud-based virtual desktops and application streaming services, every student could access the same application on any device. This increased in-class interactivity, eliminated the need for visits to the on-campus computer labs, and improved the experience for distance learners. Now, students use the same applications required in future careers, in the classroom and beyond, and on any device.

Cornell University’s Rajesh Bhaskaran, Sr. Lecturer and Swanson Director of Engineering Simulation, Jeff Christen, Lecturer Information Sciences, and Sarah Christen, Assistant Director of Community Platforms and Cloudification Services, discuss how they have adopted cloud solutions and the impact it has had on teaching and learning.  

Attendees will learn:
  • How instructors can democratize the teaching of simulations and business intelligence courses by increasing access to complex software packages like MATLAB, ANSYS, and Tableau.
  • Best practices to turn classroom lectures into real-time, hands-on learning labs.
  • Cost models and considerations for universities.
  • What cloud-based solutions are available, including Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0, and how instructors can partner with IT staff to choose the right solution for their courses


Sarah J. Christen
Assistant Director of Community Platforms and Cloudification Services, Cornell University

Sarah Christen is the Assistant Director of Community Platforms and Cloudification Services at Cornell University. Sarah’s teams at Cornell lead the support and development of the Kuali Financial System, the Cloudification service at Cornell, the Managed Server environment, which supports virtual machines both on premise and in the cloud and the Storage Services team. These teams work together to help Cornell move applications and services from the on premise data center to cloud services. Sarah has organized the Cloud Forum at Cornell for the past three years bringing together universities from all over the country to collaborate on cloud strategies.

Rajesh Bhaskaran
Director of Swanson Engineering Simulation Program, Cornell University

Rajesh Bhaskaran leads the Swanson Engineering Simulation Program in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. He has helped introduce ANSYS® simulation tools into diverse engineering courses. He has led the development of as an online portal for learning and teaching finite-element analysis and computational fluid dynamics simulations. His educational videos have garnered close to 3 million views on YouTube. Around 80,000 people have enrolled in his MOOC on engineering simulations at

Jeff R. Christen
Lecturer, Business Intelligence, Cornell University

Jeff Christen is an IT leader specializing in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing. He currently leads Cornell’s Data Warehousing team and has been involved with Cornell’s data warehousing effort for the past 15 years. Jeff also teaches a Business Intelligence Systems course for Cornell’s Information Science Department. He is a frequent presenter at HEDW (Higher Education Data Warehousing Forum), Alliance (Higher Education Oracle User Group) and IOUG (International Oracle User Group) conferences and also a past president of the HEDW.

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