College Students Take to the Clouds
Tying a bow around the cloud and higher education

College Students Take to the Clouds

10/27/2010 by Justin Edelstein
Higher Education institutions around the country have a lot to gain by adopting cloud computing technologies - their students may have even more.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been writing about a few topics that pertain to the cloud, education, and consumer entertainment. In this post I plan to tie it all together like a ribbon around a diploma. Higher Education institutions have a lot to gain by using cloud computing technologies and by enabling their students with Cloud Tools.

Here's What We Know About College Students

  • they all have mobile devices
  • they have all grown up on the Internet
  • they use social networks to communicate

Here is where the interesting secret sauce happens - students using to manage their activities at a University. I must shout out to Ed Schlesinger who is a leading proponent of college students using Salesforce to manage their daily lives using a product he has named StudentForce. There are a few things in play here - students are of the age where they would adopt a Chatter 2 enabled application built out specifically to suit their needs of tracking classes, assignments, classmates, teachers, and documents. Add a Cloud TV type of scenario whereby students could access their lectures on demand via this service as well and you have a nice platform for learning where students can both access and post their assignments with their teachers all in a safe and secure environment.

I know that when I was in college I missed out on the Facebooks and the Friendsters and Twitter but I know for sure that I would have used a tool like this regardless. Students today have the advantage of already knowing how to use it and they more or less expect that a tool with the collaborative underpinnings of something like Chatter would be available for them to do their work. They likely can't imagine any other way of getting work done. Who would want to email a teacher when you could post something on their wall? Who needs a paper syllabus when you could have it online and in context of the work that you are doing within the course.

Straight A's For Everyone!

With the movement of more and more applications, entertainment, and communications to the cloud why wouldn't a University decide to pick up on this idea and run with it? It seems like a win win for everyone - students get to work the way they want to and are used to working, teachers get to engage more deeply in conversations with students, and the University gets the peace of mind in knowing that the environment is safe, secure, scalable, and audit-able.