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With easy, quick adoption, easy updates, and the ability to let users log in from anywhere, cloud computing has become a major force in the business world.
It also provides many benefits to colleges and universities, many of which have embraced the technology.
Benefits for Schools
The benefits of cloud computing for schools include:
- Easily accessible storage space for vast amounts of sensitive data and information.
- Adaptation to the ever-growing use of mobile devices by students and faculty.
- Easy, quick updates to the latest software and applications.
- Storage space for students' class notes and projects, allowing them to easily keep up with classes.
- Streamlined enrollment and admissions processes.
- Scalable design that allows the school to expand or reduce computing capability without a lot of fuss
Adoption by Colleges
While cloud computing is still evolving and hasn't quite gained a foothold on all campuses, many colleges are on board.
In a survey by Ed Tech Magazine and Cult of Mac, 6% of colleges said they maintain cloud-based technologies.
Twenty-eight percent are in the process of implementing cloud services, and 29% are planning to add cloud computing in the near future. Of the respondents, 32% said they are just discovering cloud computing.
Cloud Applications in Education
Storage is perhaps the biggest use of the cloud for many colleges.
With huge amounts of data to collect on their student body, many schools are moving to the cloud in order to reduce or eliminate the amount of computer hardware they have to keep on-campus. This is especially important for smaller community colleges, which might not have the space or the money for a large storage infrastructure.
The cloud also allows for easy collaboration between students on projects, using apps like Google Docs.
And educators can create class materials that are accessible on mobile devices, cutting down on the amount of paper that students have to keep track of over the course of a semester.
Schools That Are Using the Cloud
Here are just a few ways specific schools are using cloud computing:
- Texas Tech University's Whitacre College of Engineering provides students access to its remote lab via the cloud. Students are able to access the lab using their computer, smartphone, or tablet anywhere there's a high-speed internet connection.</li>
- New York private liberal arts school Marist College wanted to provide professors and students access to its business analytics technologies. The problem was, faculty members had to spend a lot of time setting up systems and software that could deliver these technologies. By implementing cloud computing -- and its flexible, easily adaptable infrastructure -- the school cut down on costs and time spent setting up these systems.
- The University of Rhode Island's College of Pharmacy uses cloud-based analytics tools to help its researchers find research, funding opportunities, and collaborators all over the world.
As mobile devices become more widespread and colleges work to keep up, cloud computing is likely to become more and more common on campuses.