Author Archives: Cenon

How Universities Implement Cloud Computing

How Universities Implement Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been universally recognized as a critical component in the field of education. This is more so in the higher education sector where more advanced tools are necessary for data sharing, teaching, and protection, as well as for advanced instruction.

Generally, most countries in the world experience a decline in higher education budgets. Because of this, and because of the fact that universities need to be able to continue to deliver quality services in spite of the limited budget, the role of IT has tremendously arisen to a whole new level (Mircea, 2011). Of course, IT is a complicated technology to operate and maintain by itself. With cloud computing, however, things become more easily manageable (Tout, 2009).

Furthermore, cloud computing remarkably boosts the learning ability of the students. With this technology, learning approaches and strategies unheard of before, or, at the very least, thought to be undoable, are now being used on a large scale. The University of Washington, to name one in a harem of many, normally uses the cloud to effectively implement collaborative learning approaches where the students are able to work alongside students from other locations in order to achieve a common goal. The said university, too, has greatly enhanced the e-learning capability which has made distant learning more effective and more efficient (Pocatilu et al., 2009).

So, how do universities implement cloud computing? How do they effectively integrate it to their systems?

According to IBM (http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/library/ws-vcl/index.html?ca=drs-), cloud computing services are categorized to three: infrastructure, platform, and software. Basically, these three are the foundations with which universities and colleges implement cloud computing.

First, let us briefly discuss how cloud computing becomes useful as an ‘infrastructure.’ Basically, the cloud can be used as a digital place where data, even servers, can be stored and protected. Indeed, cloud computing will allow university administrators to actually control much of their resources with more efficiency and with less cost.

The second important application of cloud computing in the higher education sector is the PaaS, or Platform as Service. Basically, cloud computing will allow universities to use it as a platform where they will be able to access other services and more advanced and more dedicated applications. As a matter of fact, PaaS will not merely allow one to access advanced services, it will also allow creation of unique services. This is, in fact, why cloud computing is very efficient: it, basically, allows users to use cloud computing as a jump off point where users can either use it to access other services, create that application or service, or both.

Last is the SaaS, or Software as Service. Basically, cloud computing allows users – in this case, universities and the learners in those universities – to actually utilize a wide range of applications and software online. As we all know, there are literally thousands of these useful applications in the internet, some of which are free while the others are not. At any rate, SaaS will allow users to access all of these.

Of course, most of the cloud computing structures used by universities are hybrids. In other words, they are eclectically modified to serve the institution in the most efficient way possible. And, provided that some minor details are resolved, cloud computing will definitely redefine the whole educational process itself (http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-28.html).

By Cenon Gaytos

The Downside Of Cloud Computing In Education

The Downside of Cloud Computing in Education

Cloud computing, in recent years, has become the focus of intense educational debates and arguments. Basically, cloud computing is one of the top products of the latest internet technology. As such, just like much of the products of the era, this technological breakthrough carries with it so much potential. In fact, cloud computing has been used even by the education sector in order to make the delivery of their services more effective and efficient.

However, there have been some questions about the overall effect of the technology to the educational system. While it is true that cloud computing has been largely beneficial to the business sector, there have been some doubts regarding its effectiveness in the education area. After all, education (particularly higher education) is entirely different from business.

In this article, we are going to talk about some arguments of some important educational and IT experts regarding their view on the total impact of cloud computing on education. One technical authority, Bruce Schneier (2009), mentioned in one of his books that cloud computing is not really a new technology. According to him, this is simply the modified version of a 50-decade model software which has been made totally worthless with the arrival of the personal computers. He added that almost everything that outsources in the internet is cloud computing.

According to Scheiener, the most important advantage of the cloud computing in the field of education is the fact that educational institutions can save a great deal of monetary resources with it. After all, they have a technology that would only need to be paid when it is to be used, and, most importantly, they have at the tip of their fingers a software that need no manual updating; as such, they spend less money for it.
However, there are some limitations that are worth mentioning when it comes to the use of cloud computing in the higher education sector (Miller, 2009).

  • Cloud computing needs a constant and fast internet connection. Basically, this is a very modern technological advance. And, like all of the other advances, it cannot really work independently without the internet. In other words, the absence of the internet would totally hamper important transactions and processes.
  • The second debatable issue regarding cloud computing is the fact that data stored here are not completely secured. Because of the fact that data is stored online, it would mean that these data would be susceptible to theft and hacking. The bottom-line here is that cloud computing can, at the very least, expose your system and database to harmful elements.

Well, how serious is this threat? Generally, this is a very serious and a very real threat. As we all might know already, a lot of the websites are susceptible to infiltration. There are relatively few sites that are immune from hacking, since even the most protected websites can be pinned down by the most determined hackers.

Cloud computing, according to experts, actually raises this danger level by a lot of percent. Because cloud computing connects all important databases to the internet, it would mean that important data are also exposed.

However, it is must be understood that cloud computing will not be this sickly forever. According to Schneier, as cited by Harrison (2009), cloud computing still holds a lot of promise. And, definitely, it will have a very important role in the near future, a role that would not be threatened by external elements.

By Cenon Gaytos

Cloud Computing: Its Benefits, And How It Is Implemented By Universities

Cloud Computing: Its Benefits, and How it is Implemented by Universities

There is no question with regards to the critical role that is played by higher education in the molding of the structure of our societies. It is through the creation of competent higher education institutions that we are able to produce competent and responsible individuals who will be instrumental in ensuring that the societies grow as they should (Lazowska et al, 2008, as mentioned by Mircea and Andreescu, 2011).

In order to ensure that these venerable higher education institutions are on par with the latest social and global trends, it is only logical that they constantly update their technologies and make sure that it is developing alongside the latest technological advances all over the world. One of the best ways in order to achieve this end is through cloud computing. According to Ballroom (2009), cloud computing technology is sometimes identified as the ‘silver bullet’ in the field of educational technology. In other words, experts understand the fact that cloud computing holds so much promise, and, at the same time, carries a lot of risks. With these facts in mind, we will ask ourselves a very important question: how do universities and other higher education institutions implement cloud computing?

First of all, given the right knowledge on this advancement, one can truly expect to gain a lot from it. Basically, the universities in the United States implement cloud computing for three important reasons: one, it greatly reduces the overall cost of hardware acquisition and maintenance; two, it significantly multiplies research and academic outputs; and three, it allows learners and teachers to access a wide range of Web 2.0 applications. Basically, these are the most essential reasons why educational institutions, both lower and higher education sectors, must embed cloud computing into their systems. After all, the only thing that can make cloud computing against itself is over-reliance on the part of the administrators (Erkoc and Kert, 2011).

In the United States, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is one of the many universities which have openly taken advantage of the glories of the cloud computing. According to Orebaugh (2010), Penn State is a university system with a lot of external and satellite campuses. To be exact, Penn State has over 19 campuses, 15 colleges, and a singular online university. The sheer size of this institution, and the mere fact that all these integral parts are geographically dispersed, meant it could serve nearly a hundred thousand learners every semester. However, the size of the system would also mean one thing: the impossibly difficult task of gathering, storing, analyzing, and dispersing data from all the campuses and from all the colleges. Fortunately, cloud computing has made these tasks simple. Plus, they were able to expand the services that they offered with their open university.

Of course, one of the biggest and the most prominent of these universities, Harvard University, is also implementing cloud computing (Patil, 2010).  According to Armbrust (2009) as cited by Patil, the main goal of Harvard with the cloud system is to make sure that even the least technologically acquainted individuals are able to utilize and to learn from the wonders of the internet-based applications, especially the Web 2.0.

By Cenon Gaytos

Education: Why Cloud Computing?

Education: Why Cloud Computing?

There are a lot of good reasons why schools, both in the lower and higher education sectors, should adopt cloud computing and embed such into their systems. In this article, we are going to talk about the different benefits, as well as some of the disadvantages and limitations of using cloud computing. However, it is but unwise and illogical to go on with the aforementioned subjects without understanding the meaning of the word ‘cloud computing.’

Briefly defined, cloud computing has a lot to do with the internet. In fact, the internet has been referred to as ‘cloud’ in recent years because, after all, everyone can access it. Cloud computing has actually evolved from the original concept of the internet, and its purpose has been made broader. Basically, cloud computing allows people to access the internet and most – if not all – of its resources anywhere and anytime.

Lawrence Cruz, a writer for Associated Press, defines cloud computing in less technical manner. For Cruz (2011), cloud computing is a collection of applications and technologies which can be accessed and manipulated by a large number of users in real time.

In the field of education, cloud computing is very practical for a variety of reasons. Indeed, cloud computing will enable a certain educational institution to actually make use of the global internet resources for data analysis and data storage. Furthermore, the world today is, quite literally, run by the cloud and and cloud-connected technologies. As such, to work independently from this fact is to work with futility.

So, what are the benefits of cloud computing to the educational institutions which implement it?

Here is a list of advantages or benefits as provided by Mircea and Andreescu (2011):

  • Cloud computing allows institutions to access real time information from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. In the field of education, this is pretty important as it gives the teachers and the learners to constantly update their stock of information.
  • Cloud computing allows teachers and learners to access applications and other useful tools for free.
  • Basically, this technology is a particularly new one and, because of this, it is not only efficient, it is also environment-friendly.
  • Because cloud computing allows for interconnectivity, students are exposed to openness. In other words, they are able to experience and feel what it is like in the real world. As such, they will be able to learn things more decently and more effectively because the entire learning process is facilitated by a teacher or a mentor.

The advantages mentioned above are already enough to convince anyone why our schools need to have cloud computing. However, it must be sufficiently understood that the main benefits of the cloud are to be felt by the schools’ number one clients: the learners. Basically, cloud computing will aid the school attain its most crucial goal which is the equal delivery of educational services to each and every learner).

Basically, cloud computing will enable learners to formally undergo education even without going to the four-walled classrooms. For families who travel a lot, cloud computing will allow their children to travel with them, while continually learning lessons, submitting assignment, and getting grades.

By Cenon Gaytos

Cloud Computing: Its Implications on Education

Cloud Computing: Its Implications on Education

Cloud Computing: Its Implications on Education

Cloud computing is something which has become popular in almost all aspects of our lives. Indeed, it has even attracted the attention by the people in the academe, more specifically, in the field of education. But there is really no need to be surprised about it; in fact, some authorities have predicted this to happen.

The Economist, a well known journal in global circulation, once said that Cloud computing is something that will ‘get geeks excited.’ According to the journal, cloud computing will definitely affect the lives of everyone.

So, what is cloud computing in the first place? For sure, most of us must have heard about in from the media or from friends. But, the truth of the matter is that we do not really know what it precisely means. According to researches, there are, as of the moment, 28 definitions of the term cloud computing. Basically, however, cloud computing has something to do with the ‘virtual servers’ that we can all find and access in the internet (Knorr, Gruman). In other words, we are actually making use of the technology without even knowing what it is or what it does.

What, then, is the implication of this technology to the field of education? In what ways can teachers and learners alike benefit from the graces of the marvel of the 21st century?

First, let us try to discuss some of the benefits that schools and universities can get with the use of cloud computing as stated by none other than the software colossus, Microsoft:

  • Basically, the first important advantage that this technological evolution can grant our centers of education is the advantage of flexibility. This means that the IT departments of any school adopting this technology will have the unprecedented capability to adjust its system depending on the needs of the learners. Of course, this is actually pretty general.
  •  Initially, setting up the technology will cost schools a lot. This is the very reason why there are very few schools in the less-developed world which have this capability. Should a school decide to acquire one, however, the staff and the administration must be ready to hand in a lot of money and resources. However, it will all be worth it for in the long run, the cloud computing system will pay for itself.
  • Through cloud computing, the schools will be able to share valuable data with each other without necessarily putting at risk their sensitive and classified information.

The aforementioned advantages are, as a matter of fact, the key reasons why schools with limited budgets still strive to get hold of the technology. There is, after all, no denying that cloud computing is not merely investing on the future, cloud computing is, by itself, the present and the future.

With the cloud computing set up in the school or university, the learners and the teachers will be able to interact with each other, they would be able to share information, and they would be able to develop their analytical skills as they are provided with all kinds of information made available by the internet.

However, as Katz in her ebook entitled ‘The Tower and the Cloud (2009), it is but advisable that each and every one of us remains vigilant. After all, cloud computing is largely an untamed unicorn: it can take you to great heights in as much as it can destroy you entirely.

By Cenon Gaytos

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