Implementing Cloud-based e-Learning Systems: potential benefits and practical results
Cloud-based computing is arguably the most talked-about recent trend in the field of information technology (IT). Claims in the IT literature include significant financial and operational benefits. The literature also reports some concerns, for example, with the security of data that is stored and processed on servers not owned or controlled by the organization that owns the data. However, there is a growing trend towards the use of cloud-based IT services of all kinds, including educational services such as cloud-based hosting of courses. Rather than investing in its own technology infrastructure, the school or university may launch online courses hosted on servers owned by external providers, paying on a pro-rata basis related to the intensity of use. New courses – and costs – are added in proportion to student demand – and the fees received. The courses are often so designed that students are able to access the materials and interact with tutors and with each other by means of available mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. // This paper discusses the planning and implementation of eLearning via cloud computing services, with emphasis on how to reap the potential benefits. Three practical case studies are presented: a cost-benefit analysis of a project that has improved the effectiveness and efficiency of previously existing online courses for technical and sales training delivered to thousands of students distributed worldwide; the technical design of a system that may be implemented in any higher education institution, but designed specifically for the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN); the design, implementation and use of cloud-based English language courses for adult students in Mozambique – the most recent country to join the British Commonwealth, and probably the only one where English is not included among the official languages. // Paper ID: 444
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