IBM on Wednesday announced a program designed to help educators and students pursue cloud-computing initiatives and better take advantage of collaboration technology in their studies.
The IBM Cloud Academy, announced at the Educause annual conference, includes a global roster of educational institutions as initial participants. Educause is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.
IBM will provide the cloud-based infrastructure for the program, with some basic collaboration tools available at the outset. IBM's LotusLive service provides the basis for the new offering. Participants will immediately be able to do some very basic tactical functions on the new system:
- Create working groups on areas of interest to the education industry
- "Jam" on new innovations for clouds in education-related areas with IBM developers
- Work jointly on technical projects across institutions
- Share research findings and exchange new research ideas
Shared research across universities and other higher-learning institutions remains a vital part of technological innovation, but many programs don't have formal tool sets in place. Cloud services are a logical place to run these types of programs, especially as international groups need immediate access to data from their partners.
Cloud computing has many benefits for academia, as IBM highlights through its Cloud Academy program:
- With cloud computing, universities can open their technology infrastructures to businesses and industries for research advancements.
- The efficiencies of cloud computing can help universities keep pace with ever-growing resource requirements and energy costs.
- The extended reach of cloud computing enables institutions to teach students in new, different ways, and help them manage projects and massive workloads.
- When students enter the global workforce, they will better understand the value of new technologies.
Universities--and perhaps more to the point, students--are not just the target market for current and future cloud services, they have come to expect software to work in a different way than we did even 10 years ago. Efforts like this will help push the boundaries of application consumption and increase innovation.