Higher education takes learning to the cloud

The cloud could enable students to have access to other resources and collaborate more with each other to take an active part in their education.

Higher education has adopted cloud storage solutions at a fast pace to keep up with rising student demands. While there are still some security concerns, the cloud provides numerous benefits to the school. The cloud could enable students to have access to other resources and collaborate more with each other to take an active part in their education.

Cloud solutions provide a platform for applications and document storage, which can both help with day to day educational procedures. Although the cloud is typically an ongoing process because of the constant adaptations to a more secure product, advancements in the form of reliability and consistency may push the technology further. By evaluating all of the options, including private and community cloud offerings, educators will be able to verify which service will best meet their needs, according to Southern Illinois University Chief Information Officer David Crain. There are many restrictions with security and bandwidth to consider and picking a cloud that will observe these limits will help the schools provide the best solution.

“Promises of higher accessibility, availability, and efficiency are prompting universities, government agencies, and businesses to consider cloud-based services,” according to University Business. “Today’s cloud computing providers are offering higher education the opportunity to substitute a presence in ‘the cloud’ for universities’ existing data centers, servers and applications, replacing these machines’ traditional ‘physical’ presence on campus.”

Preparing colleges for the cloud

While there are still some issues associated with cloud hosting, many higher education groups have already adopted the system into their infrastructure. Educators must decide between the various cloud-based services in order to provide a central platform for applications, email access, storage and other processes, according to University Business. The cloud will make procedures more efficient by providing students with a means to facilitate information sharing, enable more collaboration and centralize the command of several tools from one place. Students and staff can work from anywhere and access their cloud service, allowing them to increase productivity without sacrificing performance.

Many institutions have deployed solutions that will mitigate some of the risk. Some cloud services have access fields that will allow IT staff to manage student authorization and control the amount of data use. The cloud will provide students with features that will empower them to take control of their education. Schools may choose to host video lectures and post school information through the cloud to give the students the best learning tools.

“Our focus was always on finding the best way to improve collaboration – not on moving to the cloud for its own sake,” University of Michigan director of infrastructure services for information and technology services Bill Wrobleski told EdTech Digest. “The fact that using cloud-based services was the best way to deliver this particular solution was a byproduct of our decision-making process, not the goal.”

Adopting the cloud may not be the solution for every educational organization. However, doing research and choosing the best cloud services to suit student needs will provide better tools for success.

Jerry Russell

Jerry has been blogging since 2007. He is the recipe developer and voice of the award-winning food site Uncle Jerry's Kitchen. His alter egos include father to three rambunctious boys, husband to a talented romance author, in-house web developer and protector of kittens and all things small and furry.

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