With email, direct messages, and applications like Google Docs stored safely in the cloud, it’s a no-brainer for student management systems to be there too. But, hearing the phrase ‘the cloud’ has generally been met with some resistance due to safety fears and data security worries.
So, with the vigour of the experts on MythBusters, we’ve cracked some common myths about the mysterious cloud.
To get us started, we need to set one thing straight—cloud storage has nothing to do with weather fronts or storm systems. Rather, ‘in the cloud’ refers to saving data to an off-site storage system, usually managed by a third party. This remote, off-site location is then accessed online, as this is what provides the key connection between your computer and the database.
One of the biggest myths is that data isn’t safe in the cloud, and privacy concerns mean many are reluctant to store their data anywhere online. Cloud data encryption is the front line defense for any cloud system, utilising complex algorithms to conceal cloud-protected information. But, what does this actually mean? In short, your data is highly protected and safe on the cloud. In fact, we’re likely to see accelerated growth of cloud computing in not only higher education, but also healthcare organisations, financial institutions and government agencies.
One thing we’ve seen during the global pandemic is that educators and learners have adapted to online learning with resilience and a desire to empower the education experience during a challenging time. For many educators, using the cloud made remote learning capabilities, such as engaging learners, sharing interactive content and taking advantage of virtual classrooms effective and accessible. Virtual classrooms in particular are advantageous for engaging online learning, with the ability for trainers to work remotely, save costs, and deliver training to learners anywhere. This accessibility has made the face of learning multi-faceted and adaptable, allowing education and training to thrive in all kinds of learning environments. The cloud even has a place in solving the issue of the digital divide, with new cloud-based connections allowing learners in rural areas to connect to online learning.
It’s true that in-person learning can create highly valuable collaborative learning experiences, but online learning on the cloud can offer collaboration with just as much integrity, offering various different advantages. Cloud-based online learning can empower learners through increased flexibility, agility and accessibility, which are factors of what digital natives expect from their learning experience. With trainers and learners having the enhanced learning ability to share podcasts, surveys, videos, blogs and more in the cloud, alongside the capabilities of a virtual classroom, collaboration is able to remain strong in an online environment.
Having your student management system in the cloud can give your training organisation unprecedented levels of insights about your learners. Analytics can empower training organisations and educators to learn about student’s individual course needs and behaviour to improve learning experiences and course designs. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg—the future of training and education will continue to be highly data-driven and the student journey will continue to be transformed. According to Forbes, the cloud can be a competitive advantage by allowing higher education institutions to stay engaged with current students, past students and potential students. This could result in an increase in admissions, identification of individual learning paths, providing assessment help for pinpointed struggle areas and more.
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