Open for learning. New classroom EdTech from Deep3.

by Lydia Kennedy and Ryan Thornley

Catch up on our latest open source technology Medus Labs direct from Head of Cloud Technology, Ryan Thornley.

Ryan says…

“The open sourcing of a solution is a different type of project for us, it doesn't have an external customer, which is a completely new way of working for our team! We knew the outcome would be open source so we had certain 'core' ideas about the standards we needed to follow – no one wants to work on a codebase tangled up like spaghetti! To be successful, this work required the team to come together to discuss ideas and assumptions that may be made. We had to try and envisage what our future intended users would expect at each point.

So what does the technology look like?

“When designing some workshop material as a part of our Cyber Schools Hub work in partnership with the NCSC; the team noticed a bottleneck that would affect any teacher/lecturer who may be looking to utilise AWS in a classroom environment. If a teacher had many students, manually creating an account for each of those students, and applying relevant permissions and removing any resources after the class has finished; it is not only time consuming, but also prone to mistakes being made. The team thought this was a wider problem than just Deep3 so opted to build a free solution that could be shared with the development community.”

Medus Labs automates and simplifies the process of creating dedicated sandboxes within AWS. Using AWS Organisations and CloudFormation we can take the pain out of having to manage multiple identical accounts for students to use. We discovered through our own experience it can take a significant amount of time to manually create an account, apply only the minimal relevant permissions and to clean up the environment afterwards reducing any unnecessary cost that could be incurred from resources being left by the students. Medus Labs streamlines this process by utilising the latest Java AWS SDK, combined with our expert knowledge of AWS CloudFormation to give users a simple web interface to control multiple AWS accounts. With just a few clicks you can setup many identical AWS accounts for students, a handy student user is created for you and each student only has the minimum amount of permissions required to complete their work. Once the lessons are complete Medus Labs can audit the entire environment, removing anything the user has created so it’s ready for the next lesson.”

What happens now Medus Labs has been added to open source?

“We hope other developers and engineers will see benefit in the system so far. By ensuring the code is clean, maintainable and easily extensible, it will also encourage others to further develop and to freely innovate.”

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