Then came the popularization of the Internet, “and users figured out that computers were more fun when you use them to talk to others”.
Now, “A new book by Educause, a higher-education technology organization, argues that we’re entering a new chapter in computing â the era of cloud computing â and that it’s one that will have implications for all aspects of university life,” continues Wired Campus.
Called The Tower and The Cloud: Higher Education in the Age of Cloud Computing, Educause is releasing it this week at its annual conference in Orlando, says the story, going on »»»
Cloud computing is usually used to refer to applications that run on computer networks rather than on personal computers, but the book defines the term more broadly, wrapping in topics like open-source software and social-networking tools that seem increasingly popular at colleges.
The 21 essays in the book were written by well-known leaders in college technology, including Clifford A. Lynch, executive director of the Coalition of Networked Information; Paul N. Courant, university librarian at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; and Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Harvard University and author of the book The Wealth of Networks.
However, says the post, Richard N. Katz, an Educause vice-president who edited the volume and wrote the opening essay, warns the isn’t only a, “celebration of what is possible and what is becoming possible,” but also “a cautionary tale.”
“We don’t know really what happens when you make your infrastructure interdependent with Amazon or you place your data in the care of Google,” he says, referring to some of the major companies offering Web-based computer services.
“One theme of the book is that cloud computing is pushing colleges to become more open with their scholarship and software production,” says Web Campus, adding:
“True to that ethos, the organization has made the full text of the book available free on its Web site, and the authors have used a Creative Commons license for their individual essays, allowing others to republish them. Old-fashioned print copies are also available for purchase from Educause.”
Says the web site intro »»»
The emergence of the networked information economy is unleashing two powerful forces. On one hand, easy access to high-speed networks is empowering individuals. People can now discover and consume information resources and services globally from their homes. Further, new social computing approaches are inviting people to share in the creation and edification of information on the Internet. Empowerment of the individual — or consumerization — is reducing the individual’s reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar institutions in favor of new and emerging virtual ones. Second, ubiquitous access to high-speed networks along with network standards, open standards and content, and techniques for virtualizing hardware, software, and services is making it possible to leverage scale economies in unprecedented ways. What appears to be emerging is industrial-scale computing — a standardized infrastructure for delivering computing power, network bandwidth, data storage and protection, and services.
Comsumerization [sic] and industrialization beg the question “Is this the end of the middle?”; that is, what will be the role of “enterprise” IT in the future? Indeed, the bigger question is what will become of all of our intermediating institutions? This volume examines the impact of IT on higher education and on the IT organization in higher education.
Wired Campus – New Book by Educause Explores Impact of ‘Cloud Computing’ on Colleges, October 27, 2008
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