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This document provides a defined pathway for instructors and Professors at MSU to utilize iCER resources for classroom education.


Services Available

iCER will work with instructors to provide the following services in support of classroom education:

  • Guest lectures and workshops on accessing iCER compute resources for research

  • HPCC student accounts and HPCC research space for MSU classes

  • Support for MSU instructors and Teaching Assistants on using iCER resources

  • Provide your class with access to OnDemand (ondemand.hpcc.msu.edu), a web-based portal to use Python via Jupyter notebooks (including data science/machine learning libraries such as TensorFlow), an RStudio environment, Matlab, Stata, and an interactive Linux desktop environment that includes many standard software packages.  OnDemand users have access to all of ICER’s file systems as well as all computing resources.
  • Create shared directories on ICER’s high performance file system where you can store large shared datasets and/or where your students can collaborate, and help you transfer data to and from the system.  Individual directories and files can be made “read only” so that students cannot accidentally destroy data.
  • Install software specifically for your course, for access by your students.
  • Offer training on all of these resources to your students, either in class via mini-workshops (e.g., on OnDemand, the Linux command line, using the High Performance Computing Center) or via our asynchronous Desire2Learn-based training modules.  The D2L modules also include assessment items to measure student mastery of the materials.
  • Provide reservations for computing resources during class or at other specific times of the day or semester, so that your students can instantly have access to the resources they need to do their assignments.
  • Provide support to instructors and teaching assistants both prior to the semester and while classes are underway to ensure that you are ready to use the resources described above, and to quickly deal with any problems you may encounter while doing so.

Request Classroom Support

Instructors are encouraged to explore resources provided by MSU’s IT Services before using iCER’s resources for classroom education. In cases where IT Services does not provide the support needed, instructors may submit a request for either CI resources or training. Requests should be submitted two weeks in advance of when your students will need access to the MSU HPCC (to allow for time for account creation, specialized software installation, etc). 

Cyber-Infrastructure Resources

Instructors who require students to use iCER’s hardware resources should:

  • Submit a New Account Request online form for all students enrolled in the course. Please note that instructors are also responsible for requesting the accounts be closed when students are no longer enrolled in the course or when the course is finished. The following information should also be included in the request for education-sponsored accounts: 
    • MSU NetIDs of students enrolled in the course, 

    • Course name for the group name of the student accounts,
    • Programs/software* to be used during the course, 

    • Resource requirements such as GPUs or CPU core counts, and 

    • Start and end dates of the course.

      Note: Student accounts, like other accounts, are automatically provided with 50GB of space on the home directory and other disk space policies apply (e.g. temporary storage limits on the scratch disk space).  Additional space may be requested for cases where: (i) the student account is also sponsored for research by a research faculty member or (ii) the instructor requests additional space with justification.

       
  • Instructors can also submit a Research request to create a research space for the course group and add all students enrolled in the request form.

  • [Recommended] Provide iCER with a course syllabus, including examples of assignments and projects, three weeks prior to the start of the semester to ensure that ample time is allocated for completion of assignments based on HPCC queuing policies and planned/unplanned outages.

*Where possible, please plan to utilize existing software resources hosted and maintained by iCER. Additional requests to host/install and maintain software for the purpose of classroom instruction, should be indicated separately.

Classroom Training

Our Staff will make good faith efforts to arrange for guest lectures/workshops by staff upon request.  If you would like one of the ICER Research Consultants to present in your class, you are advised to:

  • Submit a training request 30 days in advance of the lecture date as instructors may not be available on short notice.  Please include the following information to help us evaluate whether we can help:
    • Number of students and whether they have HPCC accounts (required for hands-on training), 

    • Course times and dates for lecture. 

    • Short description of what you want students to know or be able to do by the end of the training. 

    • Brief description of how this seminar will support the learning objectives of the course. (This will be used for our reporting purposes.) 

  • If iCER can provide the training requested, we will require you to complete a short report/questionnaire at the end of the training describing your experience working with iCER instructors.

Class Account Agreement

Instructors are expected to make good faith efforts towards implementing the following policies:

  • Awareness of iCER and MSU policies - Instructors using iCER resources are expected to have an understanding of iCER and MSU IT policies.  Broadly, they should be cognizant of MSU’s data sharing policies, wait times on queued jobs and the possibility of unscheduled outages. These factors should be taken into consideration while designing assignments and projects that utilize iCER resources.  iCER/HPCC policies are emailed to users upon account creation.
  • Contacting iCER - Instructors should provide clear policies in their syllabus about when students should contact iCER staff.  iCER will provide account, hardware and system software (ex. Slurm) support. Very limited applications software support for the course TAs and instructors is available. However, so as not to overwhelm the ticketing system with course-specific questions, we ask that all student questions be routed through the TA or course instructor who will then determine whether to forward these to iCER’s ticketing system. While students are encouraged to visit iCER research consultants during office hours, these hours are meant for research support and are not designed to be used as a means of TA support. In particular, students should be aware that submitting queries to iCER that seek answers to homework problems will be considered cheating and a violation of the Honor Code.
  • Planning for outages - iCER resources may become unavailable as a result of an unscheduled system outage.  Instructors are advised not to depend on iCER resources for final exams and/or projects that require a short turnaround time.
  • Installing Software - Instructors should plan to provide iCER support staff with a list of software required for coursework prior to the beginning of the semester. While two weeks is typically sufficient time for installing most packages, ITAR restrictions or other factors may delay software installation by up to a month.
  • Storing Data – Instructors should advise students against storing data on the “scratch” space. Files are typically purged on /scratch after 45 days and cannot be recovered.  Instructors may request a research space for students to store their class related data for the duration of the semester. Students may also store their data in their home directory. Accounts for course work are typically limited to 50 GB.  
  • Terminating Education Accounts  - Student HPCC accounts, linked home folders, and group folders created for courses will be removed 30 days after the end of the class. This applies only to education-sponsored accounts and NOT research-sponsored student accounts. However, students who wish to convert their educated-sponsored account to a research-sponsored account after the course is completed must have their research supervisor submit a request for membership change no later than 30 days after the semester in which the course was completed in order to retain the data saved in the education-sponsored student account.
  • Training on iCER Resources - iCER will work with instructors to integrate iCER training sessions within your course.  Please do try to schedule this well in advance, preferably at the start of the semester Alternatively, you may recommend our monthly offering of “Introduction to HPCC” hands-on workshop a prerequisite for your class.
  • Acknowledging iCER - Instructors and students are requested to acknowledge the use of iCER upon publication of data related to iCER resources used during the course.


Last updated: May 27, 2021


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