Cloud Computing Is Pushing the Education Landscape Forward

April 27, 2017 Off By Hoofer
We’ve seen how much cloud computing affects various industries over the years. While businesses seem to be the ones taking the most advantage of the cloud technology, they are certainly not the only parties benefiting from capable cloud servers and the services built around them. In fact, we’re starting to see other industries such as healthcare and manufacturing utilizing the cloud to gain several advantages.

In recent years, education is a field that has been increasingly benefiting from using the cloud as part of its workflows. Universities across the country are taking more of their operations to the cloud. There are different ways cloud computing is pushing the education landscape forward.

Better Research Programs

The switch to collective resources and cloud computing in education started with various research programs conducted by universities. There are plenty of research programs in fields like medicine and applied physics that require a large amount of computing power to crunch numbers and do simulations. It would be too expensive for individual universities to invest in such a large supercomputer, which is why cloud computing becomes an essential part of these programs.

Using the same distributed computing principles used by today’s best cloud servers, Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search or GIMPS was among the first research programs to incorporate the use of collective computing resources. It basically allows everyone to install a small piece of software on their computers. That software will then connect to the main server and use the computer’s idle time to perform mathematical calculations.

GIMPS was clearly just the start. Today, universities can pool computing resources directly in the cloud by investing in actual hardware. More programs that use the same principles as GIMPS, including Berkley’s BOINC, are also helping with important research programs across various fields.

Access to Online Education

The technologies behind cloud computing are also the main driving powers of today’s distance learning programs. Instead of relying on brick-and-mortar classrooms and sessions, universities can cater to the needs of more students – students from around the world – and offer online learning experiences.

We’re not talking about simple learning platforms, either. The best universities, including Washington State University, use state of the art technologies such as live video streaming and a comprehensive online learning portal to connect students with the best lecturers. Programs such as the online executive MBA program can now be taken without having to attend actual classes. In fact, a lot of professionals actually prefer to take their executive MBA degree online due to the extra flexibility the program offers.

More Advancements to Come

What we’re seeing today is cloud computing affecting only a small portion of the education landscape. Further advancements will become part of the education system soon, including comprehensive digital libraries hosted entirely in the cloud, content such as AR and VR, and of course the advanced collaborative platforms that allow experts and students to collaborate with each other fluidly.

It will be interesting to see cloud servers being used more in education, especially since many of the advancements in cloud technology we see today also come from universities and their students. The ecosystem provides the perfect environment for immense growth.