More Colleges Moving to Amazon Cloud Computing for Learning Platforms!

Dear Commons Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article commenting on the recent International Society for Technology (ISTE) in Education conference held earlier this month. The big news was Amazon’s announcement of new cloud-based software for assisting teachers in finding course materials and developing lessons. However, the article goes to comment how Amazon is making great inroads into cloud-based learning platforms geared more for colleges and universities.

“In the past five years or so, more and more software that colleges use for online teaching and classroom management has moved to “the cloud,” meaning it is run from some far-off data center via the web rather than from servers controlled by a college. And these days most of those cloud systems are hosted by Amazon, through its Amazon Web Services, or AWS.

How did this sea change occur, and what are the implications for faculty and staff?
Cloud-based learning platforms are not new, but as recently as 10 years ago they were the exception. The norm for a learning-management system in higher education was for the institution to run the application in its own data center. In fact, colleges initially pushed back against the cloud trend, insisting that academic data never leave the campus for privacy reasons (Ferpa in particular) and for the concern about big tech companies using personal data in ways the colleges could not control.”

The article goes on to mention the advantages and disadvantages of cloud-based services. But the more important observation is that Amazon has done very well with Web-based services. By going after this market, it is no wonder that has it come to dominate it. Cloud-based learning platforms are surely the future. I was not aware that the future was coming so quickly.



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