Higher Education can be regarded as the main engine for research and innovation in any country. While that’s completely true, even the strongest economies of the world struggle to provide quality higher education at affordable prices.
It has been observed all across the globe that higher education is becoming prohibitively expensive. Even in USA, one of the world’s hubs for higher education, the quantum of student loans taken out for higher studies is nearly $1.4 Trillion.
So, what can we do to make higher studies more affordable and accessible for a large number of people? Well, the answer to this lies in information technology in general and cloud computing solutions in particular.
Let’s cover a few ways cloud technology can change the game altogether for both education institutions and students alike.
Uniform Learning Experience
Not all students are lucky enough to have access to high end technology gadgets such as the latest smartphones and high end computers. This should never become an impeding factor for aspiring students who want to pursue advanced studies.
The main advantage of a cloud powered learning platform is that all the processing work is performed over the hardware of the Cloud Service Provider (CSP), or on-campus data center. Students can get even heavy tasks executed through low end devices.
Perhaps one the greatest advantages of making education cloud powered is that colleges and universities can initiate distance learning programs. The entire curriculum and other learning resources can be placed over the cloud infrastructure.
Students from all across the world can enroll in cloud powered higher education platforms. The great thing about such a mechanism is that students will be able to access learning material at a time and place of their suiting.
By making higher education cloud native, educational institutions can greatly reduce their cost component, which can then be passed on to students in the form of lower tuition fees and accompanying expenses.
With more students participating virtually, the size of campus building can also either be reduced or more learning programs and disciplines can be introduced. If an institution opts in favor of a CSP, it can further reduce the costs of an on-campus data center.
The cloud can not only handle learning content, but also student evaluation tools such as exams, quizzes, assignments and projects etc. This will not only simplify the process but also rapidly enhance the pace at which students can be evaluated.
Student Records and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The cloud, coupled with AI can transform the current higher education scene in many ways. Choosing the right field or discipline at this stage determines the entire career path for students but most of them end up making wrong or immature choices.
This is where the capability of AI can be leveraged to help college and university students make informed decisions about their future. Students can be assisted through AI algorithms that can suggest a field for each student based on historical data and inclinations.
Further, higher education institutions can correlate historical student data with industry’s job trends to produce graduates that are actually required in the field using valuable insights gained through Artificial Intelligence.
Research and Development (R&D)
The cloud can enable collaboration between faculty and students across geographical borders. This in turn can unlock immense potential in the fields of research as many different perspectives can be accommodated over a single platform.
We are living in the age where data has become a prized commodity in itself. The cloud empowers us to store, manipulate, articulate and analyze data in ways that are not possible over traditional IT hardware; thanks to its immense storage and processing potential.
Covid-19 and Higher Education
Education is surely among some of the hardest hit sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cloud powered education imparting platforms can be used to restore the currently halted process of delivering higher education. This remote learning will also ensure student safety.
No one is sure when our lives will return to normal once we have overcome the effects of the novel Corona Virus. Still, the cloud can play a pivotal role in maintaining the flow of education to students via remote access mechanisms.
Even when we are well past this crisis, it appears that this disease will leave a lasting impact on how we conduct our day to day business, including the process of imparting and receiving higher education.
The cloud is already playing its role in making higher education more accessible and affordable. However, the level of urgency has drastically increased due to the ensuing lockdowns enforced to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Cloud can play a decisive role in restoring the broken chain of education not only at the college and university levels, but also at the grass roots level as our kids are more vulnerable to this disease in many more ways than adults.