As this forum is for SQL Server (hence the name "SQL Server Central") and the question is unrelated to SQL, I expect you won't get many replies.
That being said, I think that 20-30 hours per week for a single course sounds like a lot. But it depends on if that covers the course itself or if that is ONLY after-hours work. It also depends on where you are taking the course as different places likely have different things they are teaching.
Cloud is definitely an interesting beast and there is a LOT to it too. I've not touched mininet or python, but I've used wireshark before and it is a powerful and dangerous tool. When you say "Azure stuff" that is very vague as Azure is a VERY large system. You have the VM's, the SaaS, the PaaS, and each of those has a lot of different things inside them. My Azure knowledge is VERY light - I have only dabbled in the VM side of things which includes disk, network, and the VM, but I know you can get a SQL instance as a service, AD can be hosted in Azure, and there is the machine learning aspect which I have never touched. Personally, I think that your exposure to Azure in the second module is likely going to be light on what Azure offers.
As for reaching out to others in the class, I would recommend using their forums or chat system as I have a feeling that SQL Server Central is not where others are posting...
Now, if you wanted my opinion on issues in cloud computing - I can see 2 big ones. The first is uptime the second is security. Uptime is a multi-system problem because if the cloud host goes down, nobody can access their resources. If your ISP goes down, you cannot access your resources. If your local network has issues, you cannot access the resources. Having things hosted locally means as long as you can access the local network, things are up!
And security is a huge one as problems keep being found in hardware and software and can impact cloud systems as much as on-premise systems. The advantage to having stuff on-site is that if you set up your firewall correctly and your systems are not in the DMZ, nobody outside your network can access the systems.
That plus password reuse (a common problem with non-technical people, and even some technical people) means that cloud systems are targets when a breach happens on any system. On-premise systems have this problem too, but it is harder to exploit as the bad actor needs to be on-site to exploit the system.
Other issues that can arise are end-to-end encryption of data (some sites are still only hosted in HTTP) and ensuring the encryption is valid (some sites don't keep up with certificates and when they expire they may lose some customers). Then you get IoT devices which may have lost support from the vendor due to the age of the device and once the cert expires, the devices may be unusable. OR if the cert gets compromised, bad actors could interact with your device without your knowledge!
The above is all just my opinion on what you should do.
As with all advice you find on a random internet forum - you shouldn't blindly follow it. Always test on a test server to see if there is negative side effects before making changes to live!
I recommend you NEVER run "random code" you found online on any system you care about UNLESS you understand and can verify the code OR you don't care if the code trashes your system.