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  • Srikanth Gaddam

Cloud Computing and The Future Of Higher Education Post-Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic that is currently ravaging the world has drastically changed how things are done across different sectors of the economy. At present, the federal government, local governments, higher education and corporations are seeking alternatives to doing things while keeping faith alive that normalcy returns in the shortest time.

One industry that has seen its status quo disrupted in recent times is education. Higher education is particularly impacted; colleges and universities have also been hard hit, and many of them are currently trying to stay afloat in an ocean of financial challenges.

Remote learning has offered a way out as E-learning enables virtual learning via digital platforms. However, this solution comes at costs that no one anticipated. Tertiary institutions now have to support remote students amid other challenges that they face.

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hat Challenges Does Covid-19 Pose For Higher Education?

No doubt, the novel coronavirus pose some challenges for higher education, some of which includes:

· Financial Challenges: Higher institutions are currently losing a lot of money due to the pandemic. Money that can be raised from parking fees, dining outlet sales, and other supplementary revenues can not be generated at the moment. In addition, some institutions are faced with refunding fees for sundry tuition. They also need to scale virtual engagement modalities to stay relevant. These rising costs have induced the restructuring of operations to suit industry demands.

· Registration Crisis: In addition, student enrollment for the coming session has been gravely impacted by COVID-19. Already, there is a shift in financial priorities due to the impending recession. They are currently guidelines on student enrollment that have changed the process for the near future; all these changes are a result of the uncertainty that the future holds. There are hordes of questions that enrollment officials do not have answers to, and this can be discouraging to current students, local and international prospects. Convincingly answering these questions and arriving at practical solutions that work for everyone are uphill tasks that must be completed if the tertiary institutions are to remain solvent. These situations are compounded by increasing costs of tuition and a corresponding increase in student debt.

Is Cloud computing the answer?

Cloud computing refers to the availability of computer system resources and computing power to multiple users. When deployed to e-learning, it makes learning easier as students no longer need to lug books; neither do they have to sit in lecture halls. Live chats, video conferencing, online assessments, and virtual labs are remote learning trends that are facilitating the virtual classroom.


Regardless of the current disruption caused by the pandemic, students can still have excellent educational experiences, all thanks to cloud computing.

How can cloud computing facilitate operations of universities?

  • Virtual Classrooms: Cloud technology allows instructors to have face-to-face interactions regardless of geographical location. Functional and well-optimized cloud technology will enable them to negotiate the issues of the enrollment crisis.

  • Reduction of operation cost: With cloud computing, the costs of resources (ebooks and video materials) that are often expensive are eliminated. This will reduce the costs of education for all the parties involved and make it easier for the institutions to offer the students education. Besides reducing the expenses, the students will have access to the updated information in their fields of study.

  • Access To Cloud-based apps and Storage: The need to acquire personal storage devices or software is eliminated because students now have access to cloud-based apps that meet that need.

  • Having Virtual Labs: This is taking the virtual classroom further. With virtual labs, students can benefit from instructor-led sessions in online labs that are easily accessible anytime and on any device.

What does Cloud Computing Offer Higher Education in the Future?

Cloud computing has a lot to offer the higher education field in the nearest future. Its benefits are enormous, and they include:

· The flexibility of Modes Of Instruction: Cloud computing will make it possible to merge both traditional and modern methods of learning and instruction. With well-deployed cloud technology, conventional tertiary education will be blended with online classes. Before the pandemic, certain universities had online education platforms. In the future, more universities will further leverage their online education prospects. Cloud technology will increasingly play a more significant role in the way students in tertiary institutions are instructed and trained. Digital learning will be the trend, although the connection with physical campuses will remain.t might take a while for both methods to merge. With time, the melding of the traditional and modern means of instruction will offer tertiary education and flexibility that it never had before. Future learning models will incorporate the idea of community into the digital learning experience. There will be increased interaction by students across the world. Students will be the better for this as there will be an unbroken melding of the communal offline experience with co-learning. What's more, online platforms will allow for the exchange of current and updated content.

· Increased Accountability: The higher institutions will be more accountable to their students and graduates. The changes that cloud technology will generate will ensure that older modes of instruction will become outmoded. On the one hand, students will have access to cutting edge tools and technologies. On the other hand, the content that they will have access to will be current and better suited to the changing times. This is especially true with the changes that the pandemic has wrought on the status quo across businesses, industries, and economies. There will be changes in the demands of employers and the way things are done on the corporate and commercial landscapes. Higher institutions will be forced to anticipate these changes in the modes and methods of instruction that they provide to their students. Cloud technology will enable this change as it requires being attuned to current technologies and ways of doing things.


Takeaway

Higher education will never remain the same. Reduced costs operation cost, online-driven education, and changing modes of instruction to meet the changing times are just a few ways that cloud computing will impact higher education. These changes have already been occasioned by the current pandemic and are ongoing. However, more institutions of higher learning will be forced to leverage public clouds as multipliers that will facilitate their adoption of virtual models of instruction.

About the author

Dr. Gaddam is a seasoned entrepreneur who launched three successful technology companies in the last seventeen years. Dr. Gaddam' s greatest accomplishment lies in raising ERP Analysts, Inc. from a two-person organization to eighty-five million firm. ERP Analysts, Inc. has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies by Inc. 5000 for ten years, Deloitte Fast 500, & Business First Fast 50 for several years. ERP Analysts is recognized as a “Best Places to Work” in Ohio for several years (www.erpagroup.com). Dr. Gaddam graduated the Doctor of Management (DM) from Case Western Reserve University, MBA from the Ohio State University, and the Owner/President/Management program (OPM 43) from Harvard Business School. He is the author of the book “Destination Success: Discovering the Entrepreneurial Journey” and also co-author of “Roadmap to Success,” with Deepak Chopra, Ken Blanchard, and other entrepreneurial leaders.

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