The education system in the United States is mired deeply in tradition. Comparing the classrooms of recent times with those in the 19th century shows very little differences aside from the technology that is used. Teachers stand in front of the room and lecture, and students sit at their desks and listen. But now, off-campus learning is forcing both students and instructors to adapt to completely new pedagogical methods.
Since COVID-19 forced the entire world to revamp its social structures, more and more universities are switching to predominantly off-campus learning styles. This has only been made possible through technologies like cloud computing. The innovations of the Digital Era came just in time to see the global population through a devastating and deadly pandemic without losing touch with each other. Now, students can remain connected in the classroom and educators can provide instructional lessons by giving their classes access to resources that would never have been possible in the past. When students and teachers understand cloud computing and the potential it gives, the increase in connectedness while still being off-campus is maximized.
The Benefits of Off-Campus Learning
Off-campus, distance learning, while originally contested and debated hotly, has been shown to have significant benefits now that it is being implemented consistently. Not only can students choose from a wider selection of campuses to attend, but even non-U.S. students can obtain a degree from the United States while still in their home country.
Further advantages include:
● No need for students who live far away from the institution to come up with transportation, and therefore less impact on the ecosystem
● Increased efficiency with no wasted travel time to the campus and between classes
● Better flexibility for students to be able to work at their convenience anywhere there is an Internet connection
● Students learn how to be more independent and self-motivated
● Work can be done at the individual’s pace, allowing for them to speed up learning when they already know the material and go slower when they need more time to master a skill
● Interconnectedness is still possible through student engagement in conversations through bulletin board discussions
● Students with jobs have more freedom to take on positions that don’t work around their traditional classroom schedule but still be able to concentrate on their course loads
● Students with responsibilities or disabilities that might otherwise have hindered them from being able to attend class no longer have the physical or time aspect to contend with
With so many advantages to off-campus learning, it’s no wonder people are switching to this style of education, making cloud computing even more crucial.
What is Cloud Computing?
When you have the need for resources beyond your computer, IT in the form of cloud computing is the most convenient way to go. Instead of having the physical data on your own server or storage database, everything is saved to the ‘cloud,’ where you can access it on demand.
This type of technology storage is used by organizations around the world to run their businesses. It’s a smart choice for data backup, email storage, sharing virtual desktops, using software amongst multiple computers, and sharing web applications throughout a company, or, in the case of education, students.
The Changes in Education Made Possible Because of Cloud Computing
Because computers can be set up anywhere and resources can be shared when cloud computing is involved, the location of the user does not matter. Teachers and learners can benefit by sharing the platform, and the institutions don’t have to worry about maintaining large servers or buying multiple copies of the software. On the cloud, the resources are secure and quickly accessible by anyone with the credentials to use them.
Cloud computing has made incredible changes in education, such as:
● The ability for virtual classroom environments to be successful and for students to be interconnected
● Software and content is easily accessible on laptops, desktops, and mobile devices
● Students and educators benefit from the cost savings of not needing to have physical books or software programs
● Cybersecurity is taken care of by the cloud program used, making data secure
● As the educational programs grow, so can the cloud computing coverage
● Whereas many programs take up significant space on the hardware resources, cloud computing minimizes the necessary requirements that are needed to run the software
Students don’t even need computers anymore to benefit from their education when they are involved in off-campus learning. Cloud computing makes it possible to learn straight from the phone!