Education plays a vital role in maintaining the economic growth of a country and the integration of advanced technologies within it has frequently enhanced teaching and its methods. Therefore in his changing environment, one of the latest technologies incorporated by universities and colleges is cloud computing which is the need of today’s education sector as it has an immense impact not only in online courses but also in traditional classrooms. It is actually an extension of the concept of distributed computing over internet. In developing countries in particular, where education is expensive, opportunities are limited, and economic disparities exist, e-learning via cloud computing could raise the level of literacy, education, and economic development. There are ample courses and workshops available on cloud now based on the concepts of big data analytics, map-reduce programming on Hadoop clusters, virtualization, nosql databases and service-oriented computing. Software’s like Zookeeper, Storm abstraction, Yahoo Hadoop cluster, Yahoo Grid Lab allow universities and colleges significant agility, flexibility, accessibility, collaboration and reduction in IT cost, infrastructure and complexity.
Cloud computing has shown wonders when applied in higher education by following ways-
* It eliminates the need of expensive textbooks by providing digital content at cheaper cost.
* Cloud based contents have replaced outdated learning materials as they are real-time, updated, complete and accurate.
* It has software as-a service (SaaS) model that enables many software programs for use either free or on a low-cost subscription. Foe example- Google Docs, Pro Profs Training Maker which is a cloud based learning management system (LMS).
* Cloud applications can run both on internet browsers and mobile devices so universities and colleges don’t require investing heavily on student’s desktop or laptop for practical as the same can be used on smart phones availing external storage on Google that offers free cloud based storage.
* Cloud enables world-wide reach to students who then aspire to move ahead of traditional education means and earn degree or diploma online.
Cloud computing has not only helped students to have access to higher quality education, online assignments, grades and mark sheets but also teachers can use the cloud to set, collect and grade work online using Google Apps and Edmodo (an educational social network) which provides such services for free. Flipped classroom approach encourages independent learning among students through use of online videos, audio, podcasts, and documents etc. which are easily accessible through laptop, smart phone or tablet supported by internet or wifi connection. Cloud computing could be viewed as a cheap and convenient option for processing large amounts of information in schools and universities. Educational institutions in both the private and public sectors can make use of cloud resources to deliver and extend state-of-the-art services to their own students and staff with fewer local resources and hardly any extra investment in IT infrastructure within the institution.
By sharing IT services in the cloud, educational institution can outsource noncore services and better concentrate on offering students, faculty, teachers, and staff the essential tools to help them succeed. Cloud computing trend of replacing campus computers is demand of today’s education sector but privacy and security threats are yet an issue to be considered.