Mod 6: Teaching With Technology: Cloud Computing – Microsoft Office 365 (Power Point and Word)

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.

Conclusion

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. 

~ Sharon

References

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 & Applications19(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 Software32(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/

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11 responses to “Mod 6: Teaching With Technology: Cloud Computing – Microsoft Office 365 (Power Point and Word)

  1. Cloud computing is awesome when you drive an hour to work and realize you left your flashdrive at home. I started to put folders in the Cloud and it makes so handy to get things. Our school has 365 available for all students and it is on my first day list of things to tell students to get. I just need to get hard assed about this and make them start putting stuff in the Cloud.

    I agree about the same software working at a school. We’re had more problems with them downloading Google docs when a PP is ready to run in a few seconds. Also, I tell them that I am familiar with MS Office, but not the others. If they want some help they have to work with what I know. Same for the IT staff. Everybody knows Office, but not the others.

    Jim

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  2. Sharon,

    My university uses 365, and I like it. I like using PowerPoints more in my f2f classes. I use them as a triggering event for class discussion on new concepts.

    Online they are a little different because I add voice and sometimes record me speaking as I go through the PowerPoint. It is like watching a video but the engagement occurs in the class discussions.

    Mark B

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  3. Hi Sharon,

    I like the idea of cloud computing, but I also like to have a back up plan just in case. I have seen my students rely on the cloud numerous times when accessing a shared document to present as a small group. Great stuff when it all works.

    I recently witnessed a faculty candidate give a course lesson as part of the job application process. The person relied on a PPT presentation accessed through the cloud and when the power crashed and internet connected was briefly compromised due to a huge thunder storm passing through it was a significant amount of time before the person could bring it all back up. In this situation a back up hard copy and going old school would have saved nearly 15 minutes of class time (out of a 50 minute class). In a matter of minutes the class erupted and the instructor lost control. Not having a back up plan to keep things on track meant lost time in regrouping everyone and cost the candidate precious time to do an active learning segment.

    Going old school with chalk or a wipe board session would have shown a flexible instructor that was still focused on instruction and engagement. Bummer this did not happen.

    Cecile

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  4. Hi Cecile, you made a really good point! Everyone should have a backup plan. I like to call it plan “B”. Technology is great when it works, but can be quite challenging when it fails. ~ Sharon

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  5. Hi Mark, Office 365 is great for quick projects; however, I have found that it does not have all of the features that the downloaded version offers. Still, it is great for those who cannot afford the full version. We are fortunate that we offer our students the full download version in addition to the cloud version. I am not sure that all institutions provide the full download to their students. ~ Sharon

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  6. Hi Jim, I love to use cloud storage for backup purposes. I like to have multiple storage areas because I learned the hard way what happens when information is lost. ~ Sharon

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  7. Hello Sharon. I like the idea of the cloud but the thing that has kept me from utilizing it is the thought that I might not be able to access it. It’s my understanding that you have to have internet access to get at the cloud and whatever is in in. What if the server or internet is down? I won’t pretend to know that much about it but I like the concept because it saves on the expense of computer programs and technical issues if someone forgot, lost, or damaged their storage devices. What are your thoughts on this? Your post was very interesting. Like I said, I do like the concept.

    Debi

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  8. Hi Sharon,

    Do you think PowerPoint’s are starting to be or have been overused? I think many instructor’s overuse PowerPoint and don’t use them correctly in terms of formatting or putting too much information or not enough visual aids.

    As much as we are attempting to break away from traditional lecture, I don’t think we should shy away from it completely.

    How can an instructor find that fine line between using PowerPoint but not relying on it?

    Joshua

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  9. Hi Josh, No, I do not think that power points are overused. However, I agree with you that many instructors use the tool improperly. Many people forget that the idea behind power point relates to the word “Point”. Power Points were designed to remind/guide the instructor and the student as to the major ideas to be covered during a presentation (lecture). Unfortunately, many people have used this tool to display the entire lecture; and, sadly end up reading the slide. Preparation is the key to an effective presentation–not the reliance of power point technology. 🙂 ~ Sharon

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  10. Terry Mc Quay

    Cloud computing is great. I use Word and Power Point in POLS 101 Introduction To Government. One thing that I like is that students can purchase the software at a cheap price in the book store especially if they need it to complete the class.

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    • Hi Terry, yes, it’s easier for students to get access to Microsoft products today. With a click of a button, they can download the software to their computers. Microsoft also allows for a one month free trial of their products. This is a nice option for students who only need the product for a limited time, or just to try out the software. ~ Sharon

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