Marrying education and the cloud

By Kylie Robertson, Communications Officer, Calgary

It wasn't that long ago that I was a registered university student. I remember it like it was yesterday: the long, sleepless nights, the assignments, tests, and grades. In order to access all that information, I logged on to a digital student resource system (at my school it was Blackboard), where I could see anything from my course materials, to lecture schedules, grades, and assignment drop offs.

It's only been a year since I graduated, but in that time, three major institutions have done a major overhaul of their learning management systems (LMS).

The University of Alberta, NAIT, and Athabasca University are teaming up with Cybera to offer students a more flexible learning management system experience through a project called the Learning Management Cloud. By using cloud resources, these schools are able to share expensive computing resources, greatly reducing the costs of running them. They also have the flexibility to expand or contract their compute capacity as demand for the LMS increases or decreases.

I can recall numerous times during final exams week when my LMS would crash due to high volume. The Learning Management Cloud should make a noticeable difference for these three institutions (particularly if they previously could not afford heavy-duty computing resources).

This is a major step towards bringing educational information technology leaps and bounds forward in Alberta. And it is hopefully just the beginning '€” the Cloud collaborators are interested in having other post-secondary institutions take part in this project (the more who join, the more economical it is for everyone).

For more information, visit the Learning Management Cloud project page.