Cloud computing provides the infrastructure for advanced learning. It is with the help of this technology that we can attend online classes and submit papers from any corner of the world.
Students can and receive work via the Cloud or find college paper writers if they have a bunch of assignments with approaching deadlines to complete. However, no technology comes without a drawback, and cloud computing is no exception. So, why should we appreciate it – and what problems it hides?
Advantages of Cloud Computing
Since its introduction in the educational system, the pluses of using cloud computing in education abound.
Paying for access to cloud space ultimately costs less than using another classroom or setting up a new bookcase for papers. In doing so, educational establishments can reduce the cost of studies and attract more students. For the latter, cloud computing also saves a lot of money. Students no longer have to carry several pieces of equipment around: most courses or assignments can be accessed and done on a smartphone.
Cloud computing creates virtual classroom environments that fit as many students as they wish to participate in the lesson. Professional and higher education are no longer restricted to a specific time and place. More and more online courses can be done in a student’s spare time regardless of where the student lives.
Speaking of teachers, cloud computing has also changed the field. With a plethora of online resources to fit almost every purpose, teaching has become even more meaningful. There are little to no restrictions to a subject matter, its presentation, and a subsequent assessment. This means that teachers can tailor each course to specific student requirements.
Another aspect is the ease of access to educational resources and the opportunity to submit assignments and coursework online. Moreover, all the above can be done not just from a PC, but a laptop, a tablet, and even a smartphone. In this regard, cloud computing allows students to pursue their degrees at their convenience. Whereas before a student had to go to the library, now he or she just needs to start a smartphone.
More and more government bodies, science centres, and cultural establishments migrate online and make their resources and services available to a wider audience. Cloud computing helps to organize a network of institutions that participate in the educational process. A single login opens online libraries and archives that store a wealth of research material. It also eases access to some public services for students. Google Arts&Culture is an excellent example of empowering Arts students by bringing the collections of the world’s leading museums online. While visiting these collections may be physically impossible, the Cloud makes them readily available on a computer screen.
This aspect of cloud computing can improve accessibility and infrastructure – or ruin them. When it is configured correctly, all the applications in the Cloud can handle the fluctuating number of users. The peaks and spikes in usage often coincide with registrations for courses and submissions of assignments. Scalability suggests that the Cloud resources outstretch to meet the increased requirements. Once this hectic period is over, the Cloud resources scale down so as not to waste them. This also helps to reduce the cost of services.
No new buildings, no extra flights for overseas students, no waste of resources. Cloud computing is very green, and in this day and age, it matters. This aspect adds to cost-effectiveness, as there is no need to print textbooks or coursework. Everything can be done online – and what a great way to save the Earth it is!
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Despite a long list of benefits cloud computing brings to the educational environment and processes, some drawbacks have to be considered.
High Digital Literacy
Today’s students are born with an iPhone in their hands. This is not true of their teachers, who sometimes fall behind technological advances. If cloud computing becomes omnipresent in education, those talented teachers who are at odds with technology will find it hard to fit in.
At the same time, students who come from a less technologically advanced environment will also experience stress if they are unable to match the technical requirements for their studies. Therefore, any institution that looks to introduce cloud technologies also needs to ensure all its members are comfortable using them or provide them with extra support.
The Cloud uses VPN to protect all content stored there. When teachers and students connect to the Cloud, they fall under the same protective shield. But while VPN is thought to be secure, it can be compromised and data stolen. The data may include test answers or even sensitive personal information. And of course, if there is no Internet connection, the Cloud and all its data cannot be accessed. This usually is the reason why people distrust this advanced technology.
Proponents of cloud computing extol its low costs. Indeed, it costs less to pay for a month of good Internet speed and extensive bandwidth than if you had to build and maintain a paper archive. However, with the paper archive, you invest once, and then you only need to look after it well. Any big library is a good example thereof. With the Cloud, you always pay, whether it is access to services or maintenance.
Dependence on a Vendor
This is the least obvious drawback of cloud computing, so critics barely mention it. But educational institutions have to bear in mind that it may be hard to change a provider of cloud services. Once a school, a college, or a university has chosen its cloud vendor, they are effectively locked in a contract. This is not just about money but the scope of services and their quality. Whenever a migration occurs, it inevitably disrupts the teaching, learning, and research processes.
With educational services being increasingly delivered in a distant mode, cloud computing is indispensable for this process. It is true that a lot of serious issues, like data protection and overall security, still have to be addressed. However, there is hardly any alternative to the Cloud whose benefits outweigh its drawbacks. The educational systems should up their technical and digital literacy and learn to enrich their work with the Cloud’s help.