These are my notes from Kent Brooks‘ presentation, “Cloudy is a Good Thing!: Enhancing Instruction with Tools from the Cloud” at the 2011 Heartland eLearning Conference on March 8th. Follow him on Twitter: @kentbrooks. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. Kent’s website is kentbrooks.ning.com. Kent is the Chief Information Officer at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, Oklahoma.

We live in a very interesting time for IT, when YOU (as an individual / consumer) have access to more powerful and robust tools than I can provide for you as an IT department

An Amazing Trend via Kent Brooks

Kent really likes online mind mapping service mindmeister
this is his preso today, shared as a cloud-based mind map

There are tremendous challenges demographically where we live, and we have to find better ways to do what we do

If you use a web-based email client like Gmail or Facebook, you understand a lot of the power of the cloud already

Software as a Service (SAAS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)
Hardware as a Service (HAAS)

How upset do you think students can be in an accelerated course when our Moodle site is down for two minutes?
– this year we did something different with a company called Amazon

Remember when Wikileaks was getting removed from hosting?
– they were hosting at Amazon’s EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud)
– hackers couldn’t do denial of service attacks successfully on Amazon’s servers

What does this mean: Amazingly powerful and robust infrastructure available on the cloud for anyone to use

Example video of a student deployed to an undisclosed space in SW Asia, who is an airman and because of cloud computing is able to share his course introduction from the other side of the planetWe’ve had crazy [high] numbers for our intercession classes
– over 5000 for winter intercession this year
– some of this is explained by our drive to serve our military service members

Truth of that amazing trend graph: Can Amazon or Google provide more robust, stable hosting than I can?
– Yes. (this may hurt my feelings, but the truth is they can.)

Using Dropbox
– reason many faculty are using it is convenience, stability and access

Convenience is a BIG deal

We always ask: Is a free tool useable? Is it better? What is the purpose?

Google has about 1000 people working on security on their servers, we have 3 (and that was just part of their job)
– example of benefits of us (at WOSC) moving to Gmail as part of Google Apps for our Domain: We unplugged our Barracuda spam filter (we didn’t need it)

Around 2003, the culture was “you get what you pay for”
– so many of you would have laughed at the idea/prospect of free tools
– the environment today is VERY different

Resources for Kent’s preso yesterday: Unplugging from the Commercial Software Grid: Why Free is Better Even if you have a Budget

you will always have hosting, development and training costs no matter what you do
– the licensing issues are what is variable

Bad budget times may be your best friend from some standpoints

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