Since Amazon first introduced the term “cloud” in 2006, both the concept of cloud computing and the actual execution of it have taken off. Even if they don’t realize it, from people running their own small business to employees of huge corporations, the cloud has woven its way into most people’s daily lives.
Thanks to its flexible nature, the presence and impact of the cloud isn’t limited to business pursuits. It’s also playing a role in how college students around the world learn and communicate.
What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
Although cloud computing is a fairly broad term, it always refers back to applications that are run on infrastructure other than your own.
For example, instead of buying a project management software CD and installing it on your computer, using a cloud solution like Basecamp means you can log into your project management system from any device with an Internet connection without ever needing to install anything.
Many Students Use the Cloud Without Realizing It
As previously mentioned, many people use cloud computing services without even realizing it. College students are no exception to this rule.
Google Docs is probably the most common example of this. Although many students simply think of this program as a word processor that makes it easy to collaborate, it’s actually an example of a very successful cloud application.
Colleges are Putting the Cloud Into Action
Schools like Texas Tech University are already using cloud computing to give their students more convenient access to a wider range of programs.
For example, the engineering department at Texas Tech uses the cloud to provide current students with access to LabView, Aspen Hysys and MathCAD.
College Classes Built on Cloud Computing
In addition to the cloud’s role within traditional college settings, entrepreneurs like Sebastian Thrun are using the cloud to change the face of higher education.
By utilizing Google’s App Engine, which is a cloud web service like Amazon’s EC2, Thrun and his team built Udacity. While it’s just over a year old, Udacity has delivered over a dozen free college courses to more than 400,000 users around the world.
The cloud is also changing the way hardware is made and sold.
Because its entire operating system is based in the cloud, Samsung is able to offer a fully-featured laptop for just $249. With access to thousands of apps, a weight of less than three pounds, 100GB of cloud storage and over six hours of battery life, the Samsung Chromebook really is the perfect laptop for college students.
Although the cloud is less than a decade old, it’s already had a major impact on college students.
Not only have students and colleges embraced this approach to computing, but both startups and established companies are using it to improve the accessibility and affordability of a college education.
As a result, it’s almost guaranteed that cloud computing will play a major role in the future of higher education.
About the Author: Jesse Galt is a freelancer who writes about a wide range of topics, including Internet management reputation services and guerrilla marketing strategies.
Photo credit: bplanet