Cloud Computing

2010 Short LIst: Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less
Appeared in 2009 Horizon Report; in ANZ Edition, 2008-2009; in 2009 K-12 Edition; and in 2009 Economic Development Edition.

The practice of cloud computing has not changed substantially since its appearance in the 2009 Horizon Report, although it has continued to grow and remains an important and interesting technology. Cloud computing includes three broad areas of development: cloud-based applications, which are designed for many different tasks and which are hosted in the cloud; development platforms for creating cloud-based applications; and massive computing resources for storage and processing, such as the EC2 or the GoGrid.

Cloud-based applications that allow work and information to be distributed and shared have become particularly worthy of attention by campus planners. Collaboratively-authored documents can be developed by several writers simultaneously. In the classroom, shared documents between students and teachers can change the model of turning in assignments and waiting for feedback; teachers can look in on work in progress, offering assistance at the moment the student is thinking about the task rather than a day or two after it has been completed. For many, the issue is no longer whether to accept cloud-based tools, but how to develop and manage cloud-based work patterns.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

  • The Medical College of Wisconsin Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center in Milwaukee developed a cloud-based program that allows institutions and individuals inexpensive access to large-scale protein research.
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar offers one of the first cloud platforms in the Middle East, offering its students, researchers, and local businesses opportunities not previously available.
  • Cornell University hopes to use cloud computing —and the ability to analyze large amounts of data from multiple sources—to study and promote wildlife conservation and biodiversity.


For Further Reading

7 Things You Should Know About Cloud Computing
(Educause, August 2009.) The use of cloud computing as it relates to higher education is discussed in this issue of the 7 Things You Should Know... series.

Cloud Computing: "Be Prepared"
(Bernard Golden, Educause Review, July/August 2009.) Cloud computing is more than a fad. This article examines practical, political, and policy issues of the cloud.

Ohio Takes to the Clouds
(Guest Viewpoint, Campus Technology, 22 October 2009.) Cloud computing lowers IT costs, promotes clean technology, and links the University System of Ohio together.