Dr. Kent Palmer recently presented his research on developing a Cloud-based Cyberlearning Environment for Introductory Computing Programming Education at the International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies. Dr. Palmer’s research focused on using the Google App Engine to develop cyber learning objects that would be hosted in the cloud. Apps were developed for teaching both Python and Java programming. This research was done in collaboration with researchers at Southern Polytechnic State University, University of Cincinnati, and Albany State University.

The cloud based learning objects allow students to engage in class activities from nearly any location and at anytime. Since the objects are hosted in the cloud and ran on remote severs, students are able to work on nearly any device that supports a web connection. So a student can engage in class activities from their smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. As long as they have a web browser they do not need to install additional software. Normally to learn programming students need to install compilers to compile their code and an editor to write their software. On personal computers this sometimes created a difficulty for new students that did not know how to install and configure the software and may not have been possible on mobile devices such as tablets and phones. The learning objects developed by these researchers overcame these difficulties and allowed students to focus on learning how to program.