Saturday, August 24, 2019

E-learning Systems Based on Cloud Computing: Challenges and Opportunities

Cloud-Based E-Learning
Cloud-Based E-learning System

E-learning Systems Based on Cloud Computing: Challenges and Opportunities

E-learning usually refers to an online learning system that is available in the cloud. In this system, resources are stored in a virtual environment, and accessed from a variety of web-enabled devices.

When you can access your files from anywhere you have a mobile or non-mobile smart device including your smartphone as if you are using your regular device and from anywhere, and any change made through one of these devices will be synchronized, you will certainly be grateful for cloud computing.
 Cloud Computing is a term that refers to computer systems available through the Internet, through which a number of integrated computer services can be provided by the so-called (cloud), which is a server that can be accessed through the Internet without restricting local resources to achieve the goal of facilitation and ease for users.
In other words, it can be a service provided by a third party remotely and the connection to this service is mainly over the Internet and this service is mainly based on the sharing of different sources and resources between users (data stores and servers - operating system…).
The digital clouds are public and private and any customer can use the services and may be specific to a specific company or may combine the two to be a hybrid between the public and private clouds. 

Cloud-Based E-Learning

E-learning systems based on cloud computing are modern types of the education system. Cloud computing is more useful when implemented in collaboration with e-learning, resulting in improved computer performance, reduced maintenance costs, infrastructure and software costs, increased computing power and improved compatibility between operating systems, increased data security, document transfer and facilitating collaborative teamwork.
In fact, the use of cloud computing in e-learning has many benefits that can be summarized as follows:
Cloud computing enables the user to access their files and applications through the cloud, without the need for application availability in their device, thus reducing the security risks and required hardware resources.
Cloud computing saves a lot of money to buy the software that a user needs. All that a user needs is a computer connected to the Internet, and to be connected to one of the sites that provide the software they need.
Cloud computing helps students and teachers use apps without downloading them to their devices.
Cloud computing reduces costs by reducing the number of hardware infrastructure, and by providing the number of hardware and software maintenance workers in the organization.
Cloud computing ensures that the service works continuously while saving a lot of time and cost. The company is committed to providing cloud storage service to ensure that the service is working efficiently and continuously, and is committed to repairing any sudden breakdowns as soon as possible.
The current cloud computing infrastructure includes data centers that are capable of serving customers worldwide.

It is worth mentioning that the theories that support cloud computing in education starting from the philosophy of Constructivism Learning Theory.
The building process takes place either individually through individual applications provided by cloud computing or collectively through social applications provided by cloud and allows learners to communicate and participate in building learning content. The learner, when using cloud systems and applications, feels his ownership of the education system, which drives him towards continuous activity within the system in order to build his knowledge himself, rather than logically acquired. The construction process takes place either individually through individual applications provided by cloud computing or collectively through social applications provided by cloud and allows learners to communicate and participate in building learning content.

The Uses of Cloud Computing in e-Learning

The following figure shows the application of cloud computing in e-learning.

The educational applications of cloud computing are spreading rapidly in the modern era. A report from Google shows the growing popularity of the cloud computing system in the educational sectors. For example, Google Apps launched by the company, which relies mainly on cloud computing, is currently used by more than 8 million users around the world. The total number of users of this service, from all sectors, is up to 25 million users.

Cloud Computing Applications

There are many cloud computing applications that benefit the education sector, including:
- Google Documents, a service provided by Google, to all its subscribers who have an account, and allows the subscriber to write his documents for one program.
- Spread Sheets.
- PowerPoint Presentations.
- Forms editor.
- Microsoft's Sky Drive service, which provides users with free storage space for files up to 25GB.
- Pat, the Amazon app, allows the user to develop and complete his work, no matter how large its size at the lowest possible cost.
These and other cloud-based applications bring benefits to students, teachers, and all employees in the educational field and represent a qualitative leap for traditional e-learning to faster, broader and easier access to cloud computing.

There are several programs based on cloud computing technologies that can be employed in the educational field such as:

- Google Slides
- Apple Pages
- Apple Keynote
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Powerpoint
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Dropbox
- Google drive
- Google Docs
- Capture to cloud
- Apple iCloud
- Amazon Cloud Drive
- Memopal
- SugarSync
- Cloud printer
- Zip cloud

Key Features of Cloud Computing Technology in e-Learning

The key feature of cloud computing is that any user can create, edit, and save files in the cloud according to their needs and is, therefore, a kind of self-service like Google Docs.
  The advantage of accessing applications anywhere and at any time is one of the most important features as the feature (availability) facilitates access to data and information without limitation of spatial and temporal limits.
The most distinguishing feature of e-learning is the flexibility it offers for education, transcending geographical boundaries and time constraints to provide education to anyone who wants it anytime, anywhere. The most influential lectures or tutorials are those that rely on a group and peer learning. Cloud-based Elearning allows classmates in one classroom, in different places or even separate countries to work on one file interactively and simultaneously. On the other hand, the information that can be obtained through cloud computing about students in the e-learning system can significantly reveal their educational preferences and study preferences, thus promoting a unique e-learning Ecosystem for each user. Thus, cloud computing in e-learning will enable students and users of the system in general to access their educational materials and business files. There is no need to worry about maintenance, renewable updates, bug fixes or errors. These are the responsibility of the cloud service provider. Thus, the use of cloud computing in e-learning will increase the ease of communication between students and get feedback quickly between students and teachers because of the ease of sending assignments and school projects and to accomplish and correct them interactively.

Cloud computing in e-learning is the ideal solution and opportunity that providers can take advantage of to expand their services to reach a global educational world without the need for any additional resources, especially in light of the huge growth in the volume of data and information.

Challenges and Opportunities for Implementing Cloud Computing in E-learning 

The Challenges of Cloud-Based E-learning System

Cloud computing has some downsides that may limit its spread, including:
- Security: Cloud computing is fully dependent on the service provider and the level of security he provides, such as information encryption, policy development, and cloud access procedures. This raises a range of questions such as:
Is the data secure? Who can access it? Do malware and its response harm data and applications on the cloud?
-  Reliability and compatibility: Many organizations and institutions have concerns about the adoption of cloud computing solutions  due to the adoption of these solutions on the Internet, which raises a series of questions such as:
Can cloud computing meet the needs of 24-hour business organizations no downtime in service?
- Control: when the organization adopts cloud computing, it will be at the mercy of the service provider, which can cause the organization a host of problems. Files, data and processes are run in their own infrastructure. , the service may be interrupted for one reason or another, forcing it to look for an alternative solution.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs): SLAs include a common understanding of the quality of services, priorities, responsibilities, and guarantees between the Cloud Service Provider and users. Many cloud service providers may not provide good levels of these agreements, which is inconsistent with the prerequisites for large organizations to switch to cloud services.

The Benefits of Cloud-Based E-learning System

The advantages cloud-based e-learning may include:

- Cloud computing technology Gives opportunities for computing everywhere.
- Students can create a repository (bank) of information.
- The freest and open-source software.
- Learning can continue even after the class hour.
- Provides low-cost solutions.
- Flexibility is available to maximize investments.

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