Cloud computing brings about increased efficiency, innovation through higher and real-time collaboration, mobility, reduced operating costs, and the ability to transform without a costly upgrade or the purchase of new systems. Typically these benefits have only been talked about for businesses and the impacts it will have in that spectrum.

So other than companies and corporations, who else could benefit from all these…well benefits? Colleges and universities should have come to mind. If not, that’s okay after
reading this you’ll see why.

Cloud Computing In Colleges: 3 Reasons WhyEach year, colleges and universities accept from 1 to 200,000 new students who are mostly a year younger than the last. And as you’ve read, heard, and read again Gen Next (please stop calling me a millennial, I was in 5th grade when Y2K hit) does things differently. Institutes of higher education must be up to that challenge as well. Here are 3 reasons colleges should look to the cloud for their next wave of technology to support their students.

Reason 1: Collaboration

We, being a Gen Y, grew up with tools like AIM (insert poor choice of screen name here _______), Facebook chat, text messages, and so on that making communication and collaboration easier. We grew up scheduling beach trips, parties, and Friday nights with our friends using cloud computing tools, it’s only natural for a messaging vehicle is available through our college or university. If not, we’ll look to somewhere else to find it, bringing our friends along with us.

Take G-mail for example. Going into college I had only had one email account my whole life, it was an AOL domain, and many of you know AOL isn’t known for its collaboration, but G-Mail is, rather the tools that come with creating an account.

I can remember my first college project. A sophomore in the group took the lead and forced everyone to sign up for an account so we could not only make changes to our project in real time, but we could also leave each other notes for review. We could access the documents at all times from devices and computers so instead of one person being responsible for owning the document, it was a group effort. This brings me to my next point…

Reason 2: Mobility

As Gen Next-ers, our phones are an extension of self. And at colleges everywhere you go on campus there is a computer is within reach. Here’s where universities should wise up, students turn to the ever trusting Google for their collaboration products, but this puts a lot out on the web. If universities built out collaboration tools similar for not only projects I could update that project timeline while drinking my morning tea.

We live in an advanced mobile age and there’s no reason for a website, especially one as important to my overall health, as was my grades. As a university you should make sure I can access my student information, and any other important documents, on my smartphone with an easy user interface.

Reason 3: Less Weight In Our Bags

The cloud could eliminate those weighty textbooks we are forced to lug back and forth between class. Even if it’s not required at class, most travel to the library to get work done and if you go to Penn State that can be a long walk.

Many textbook providers are turning to tablets and delivering the books over the cloud via Kindle, Nook, or publisher apps. It would be nice if included in your enrollment for a class you could opt to get the book delivered to your iPad?

With the textbook on your iPad, the ability to take notes on it as well as make updates to project documents, plus only having one lightweight tablet to lug around would make for happy students and happy university.

What are your thoughts? How else could colleges benefit from cloud computing?