What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing, according to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a service (rather than a product) that provides on-demand network access of IT amenities through the Internet (as cited in Serrano, Gallardo & Hernantes, 2015). The concept has been around for about 50 years, and has been referred to as an “application service provider” and “software as a service”. Mobile cloud computing has been steadily growing and it is predicted that, not only will the market exceed $68 billion by 2017, it will be the dominant way in which people access computer applications (Rahimi, Ren, Liu, Vasilakos & Venkatasubramanian, 2014). Two applications that are cloud based include Microsoft Word and Power Point which are part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite.
Benefits of Students Using Office 365
Having all students at an institution use the same software eliminates compatibility issues. Standardizing the software that instructors and students use for academic administrative purposes provides a uniformity or consistency in the process. Faculty can create Word and Power Point documents that all students can access and vice versa. Having everyone use the same platform allows for standardized training and ongoing assistance with the software. Since the software is in the cloud, students do not need to download the programs to their device; they just access the program and save the created documents in the cloud. Institutions that use Office Exchange (e-mail) have the ability to offer cloud-based Office 365 on a no cost basis to students.
Fostering student learning through engagement and assessment
Microsoft Word: There are numerous benefits to using Word for classroom teaching and learning. Not only can using Word help faculty and students create professional looking documents for course assignments, its editing and format features help users produce academically correct assignments (i.e., APA, manuscripts, scientific notations, etc.). Engagement can occur between students-peers and students-instructor easily through the review and sound features in Word. In other words, assessment can be automated to allow for extensive comments and feedback embedded in the Word document.
PowerPoint: Presentations, if effectively designed, can aid in student learning and instructor teaching. Weimer (2012) found that most instructors today use PowerPoint when teaching; and ,students generally report that such presentations assist them with their learning. Using PowerPoint in the cloud allows students to create presentations individually or within groups that can be shared with the class. Instructor or peer reviews can be performed to provide feedback and assessment of the presentation.
Cloud computing allows users to access software through a variety of mobile devices and create documents for use in the classroom. It provides users to use a standardized way to create documents so that compatibility issues are minimized. The future of technology is turning evermore towards efficiency and anytime, anywhere access. I believe that “software as a service” will continue to grow as new products are developed and easy access to use improves.
Microsoft (2015). Office 365: Office when and where you need it. Retrieved from https://products.office.com/en-us/business/explore-office-365-for-business
Rahimi, M., Ren, J., Liu, C., Vasilakos, A., & Venkatasubramanian, N. (2014). Mobile cloud computing: A survey, state of art and future directions. Mobile Networks & Applications, 19(2), 133-143. doi:10.1007/s11036-013-0477-4
Serrano, N., Gallardo, G., & Hernantes, J. (2015). Infrastructure as a service and cloud technologies. IEEE Software, 32(2), 30-36. doi:10.1109/MS.2015.43
Weimer, M. (2012). Does powepoint help or hinder learning? Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/does-powerpoint-help-or-hinder-learning/