What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing first appeared on the near-term horizon in The NMC Horizon Report: 2009 Global Edition. Since then, its use for supporting collaboration, file storage, and access to computing cycles, and the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown tremendously. Cloud computing has become the unifying factor among content and applications on the many devices people use in everyday life. Whether connecting at home, work, school, on the road, or in social spaces, nearly everyone who uses computers relies on cloud computing to access their information and applications. This ability to access services and files from any location and on any device is driving development of cloud computing applications in the consumer space.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Very big area and with us now. On my PC desktop (& some mobile) I use on a daily basis: Google mail (provided by my university via apps), Evernote, Mendeley & Dropbox. - john.cook john.cook Nov 11, 2011
  • There is now the term "cloud learning." I think this technology will become indispensable in education, but people won't really realize it.- kumiko.aoki kumiko.aoki Nov 18, 2011
  • Absolutely. This is so big now that I often forget it's a "thing." Our campus moved to Google Apps and nearly every campus-based document is composed there. Dropbox, Evernote, Zotero, Mendeley, are all hugely popular with the people I work with. But I also don't know that any of those people would say they're working in "the cloud." It's just like air to them: they don't even see it though they depend on it. (They includes me.) - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • I see cloud computing as a nice step from a technical and cost perspective for a lot of educators on all levels. Not having to rely on the technologies being on site and working can reduce your overall costs. Dropbox and and many of the current cloud services that are being utilised by education is more on the tools (google apps/exchange online, dropbox/box.net, evernote, delicious, youtube) side and the first step toward the 'cloud'. Location and time starts to be removed from the equation with these tools. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 19, 2011
  • Can reduce data centre costs, provide resilience - allow Universities to focus on the learning and less on the administrative side of running a University- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
  • Development of new models of collaboration in learning including its co-design and co-production - Gavin Gavin Nov 20, 2011
  • I see cloud computing as having a profound impact on higher education. # aspects of it I am looking at at moment - cloud storage for students and faculty; remote access to apps that normally people would have to come to labs etc to get and the ability to provision classrooms centrally and remotely will be huge - even in the short term. They have the potential really to change how we provide services. And I wonder if ways of tying these services together and providing a single-sign-on secure environment has the potential to be the LMS killer.
  • My university is working on an inventory of cloud services we know that our faculty and students already use - some sanctioned by the University and many that are not. So far we have discovered more than 40 cloud services in use - and counting. Clearly the future of academic computing - and related IT services to support faculty - will increasingly need to understand how best to manage the challenges and opportunities created by the phenomenal growth of Cloud Computing.- paul.turner paul.turner Nov 20, 2011
  • - drvdiaz drvdiaz Nov 21, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • From my experience working for Vice-Chancellor's office (UK HE) there is a tension between keeping it under control and the in-house VLE and relying on services available though the Cloud. Getting some of the services I mention above (apart from Google mail) can make central services nervous, and may even be blocked. I helped developed a University wide strategy for use of 'Web 2.0 and external resources' but in reality adoption has been slow. UCISA have published a briefing paper which includes look at risks: http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/publications/cloud.aspx Also, JISC commissioned a study of early adopters of shared services and cloud computing within higher and further education:
    http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/flexibleservicedelivery/Feast%20Final%20Report%20May2011.pdf - john.cook john.cook Nov 11, 2011
  • Also, that a specific business mindset can enable the adoption of cloud computing. With shrinking budgets, some institutions are looking for ways to spread their staff across new projects without hiring more. By outsourcing the things that aren't unique to the institution, they can use their own staff to focus on things that need to be customized locally. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • Data jurisdiction is an often overlooked area of Cloud computing that I think is very relevant to education. If your data is stored in another country, who has access to this information and how? - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 19, 2011
  • Ensuring sustainability - will my cloud provider still be functioning in a year? will they introduce charges? - Jamie's point is important around intellectual property and data protection. How can we manage a scalable solution with what could be dozens of cloud services for each student and staff? What could we do around- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
  • Great opportunity for 'New Schools' -self directed learning, the free Slow Uni of Warsaw, The School of everything, Universidad Experimental, The University of the people etc and the emerging ideas from the occupy movements?- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • I like this quote from the above UCISA report "Cloud services may also be deployed to address staff resource and skills issues. One application is to move services out to the cloud to release staff for deployment on projects that may be more aligned to teaching, learning and research." - john.cook john.cook Nov 11, 2011
  • Cost reduction would be the biggest. Followed by acces to technologies and services that would otherwise been out of reach. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 19, 2011
  • As above - the ambient learning movement - heutagogy - great opportunity for 'New Schools' -self directed learning, the free Slow Uni of Warsaw, The School of everything, Universidad Experimental, The University of the people etc and the emerging ideas from the occupy movements?- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
  • Cloud Computing services have the potential to radically reduce the 'time to market' for universities and their faculty to adopt new web-based tools and services to benefit their research, increase collaboration between institutions, and to allow faculty to find new tools to improve delivery of content and activities related to teaching and learning. It is no longer acceptable for central IT to tell faculty it will take a year - or longer - to bring a new centrally supported service online, when it can be set up in the cloud in minutes, and made instantly available to students.- paul.turner paul.turner Nov 20, 2011
  • Cellular networks and cloud computing allow for more distributed networks, greater interaction, flexibility and mobility on and out of campus .
    https://www.developerscoop.org/the-future-of-mobile-apps-lies-in-the-cloud-2/ - bdieu bdieu Nov 20, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

as part of Internet 2 a number of HE institutions in the US is doing a project with box.net - UIUC, Berkeley etc - sorry, no link as yet - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011
http://www.internet2.edu/netplus/- paul.turner paul.turner Nov 20, 2011

Also there are a number of virtual lab implementations out there eg NC State http://vcl.ncsu.edu/ - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011
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