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An Experience With Cloud Computing In The Classroom

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Emerging Information Technologies

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.150.1 - 15.150.10



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Paper Authors


Susan Miertschin University of Houston

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Susan L. Miertschin is an Associate Professor in Computer Information Systems at the University
of Houston. She began her career in higher education teaching applied mathematics for
engineering technology students. She demonstrated consistent interest in the application of
information and communication technologies to instruction. This interest plus demonstrated depth of knowledge of computer applications and systems caused her to change her teaching focus to
computer information systems in 2000. Recently, she has completed graduate course work in the
area of Medical Informatics in order to deepen and broaden her knowledge of a key application
domain for information systems. She has taught both online and hybrid courses and is interested
in enhancing the quality of online learning experiences.

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Cheryl Willis University of Houston

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Cheryl Willis is an Associate Professor of Information Systems Technology at the University of Houston. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida.
Her teaching focus is primarily on applications development and database management. Her
research interests include curriculum revision processes for career and technology programs;
service learning in information technology undergraduate programs and the use of emerging
technologies in undergraduate teaching. She has developed curriculum for business education and
information technology at the secondary, post-secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Experience with Cloud Computing in the Classroom

Introduction Cloud computing is a general term for shared applications and infrastructure provided by an external service provider and paid for on a pay-per-use basis. For enterprise computing based on a business model that relies heavily on in-house computing infrastructure, the cloud concept has major implications. Vendors such as Amazon and Google sell reliable and scalable computing resources that are generated by very large-scale virtualized, distributed computing systems. Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite provides communication and collaboration functionality delivered through a subscription. Microsoft targets small businesses with the suite of services advertising that the organization will no longer need to “maintain a complex IT infrastructure of its own”. The question for enterprises then is “Who needs in-house servers?” A somewhat parallel question for college educators might be, “Who needs to use an in-house learning management system?”

Cloud computing has implications for personal computing as well as enterprise computing. Web- based email was one of the first “hot” cloud applications to make it big. For example, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft’s hotmail, and Google’s Gmail all compete, offering free accounts with practically unlimited storage capacity. Many other software applications are available through the cloud now, and soon there will be many more. Rather than purchasing software and installing it on a local machine, applications like Google Docs provide free computing software together with storage resources, all available anywhere and anytime, as long as the user can connect to the World Wide Web. Coupling Google Docs with Google Groups provides the power to collaborate. Microsoft Office Live and Microsoft Office Web Apps (currently invited technical preview only) comprise Microsoft’s entrant in the online personal productivity market. These cloud applications allow users to take advantage of anytime anywhere access to familiar products (built to function similarly to local installs of MS Office) in addition to online storage and sharing of documents.

This paper will first describe the history of cloud computing and then provide information about some of the technology behind cloud computing. The paper will examine results from one of the authors’ classroom experiences with a cloud-based office productivity tool. Included in the discussion will be features and functionality of the product, as well as student reactions to its use in class. The purpose of the paper is to provide an overview as well as guidance for others who are considering classroom use of emerging cloud capabilities.

History of Cloud Computing

The concept of cloud computing began in the nineteen-sixties as technologies to connect computers to each other and enable them to transfer data back and forth were just beginning to emerge. Even before the first two computers were connected together to exchange data, Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, the director of Behavioral Sciences Command and Control Research for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), envisioned a shared computer network. His vision went far beyond what would begin as ARPANET and later evolve into the Internet, and his vision also went beyond what came to be known as the World Wide Web. The scope of

Miertschin, S., & Willis, C. (2010, June), An Experience With Cloud Computing In The Classroom Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16530

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