Ever since “the cloud” came to the internet and computer world, it has always had this magic allure. The cloud is a space in the internet that stores your data, can be accessed from anywhere in the world, but it’s intangible. “The Cloud” has been created into a buzzword that people assume refers to a mystical, giant hard drive that floats somewhere deep in our internet’s space-time continuum and makes life very easy for those who want to store and share a lot of data. However, the cloud is actually a company’s server. According to Gizimodo, the cloud is a very real, physical place that stores data from people from all over the world. This of course, has caused there to be a lot of legal issues of ownership and privacy of data along with companies trying to discover ways to capitalize on utilizing their servers as “clouds.”
A photo of “the cloud” from Mashable.
Desktop vs. Cloud Based Authoring
As a tech driven society, we are constantly seeing more and more apps being moved into the cloud. Google apps, for example, has your standard apps (like Microsoft Office Suite) that you once had installed onto your Mac or PC solely accessible from online. Google Drive and Google Photos have become such an easy way to store your data, and make it accessible anytime, anyplace. Not only is it easy to store and access your data, but the cloud also saves your work automatically for you (and can protect it when your computer is having a bad day and feels like shutting off mid-project). Desktop apps, are based on your computer. This means that it can be accessed only from your hard drive (which may be shared among team members), but only one individual can work on a document or project at a time; essentially zero collaboration abilities.
- Collaboration Like mentioned above, one of the biggest downfalls of desktop app authoring software is how difficult and time consuming it can be to collaborate on a project. Cloud authoring, on the other hand, makes collaboration effortless and much more productive. The cloud allows team members to work on the same project simultaneously. This means multiple members can be working at the same time in a document, and can communicate directly if they have ideas or questions. Since cloud authoring is also web-based, this also allows for these team members to work together even if they are on opposite sides of the country. Another great benefit of the cloud is ensuring that there is no duplication of work. All of these features allow for projects to be completed more efficiently than a desktop app.
- Version Control One of the great benefits of cloud authoring is not having to worry about updates. When your course authoring platform utilizes the cloud, you will always have the most up to date software. Software updates can be frustrating especially when they have to be compatible with your current software version on your desktop. Every time that you have an update, you have to pause what you are doing and allow the update to install, which can take time and be tedious to do. With cloud authoring, the updates happen automatically through the web, so you never have to worry about which version your desktop is on.
- Ease of Use If it has not been made clear yet, using cloud authoring is simply easy. There is no installation of software, all of your course development projects are in one place and accessible anytime, and teams are able to collaborate seamlessly on all of their projects. From an organizational stand point, cloud authoring is a great way to keep all levels of an organization up to speed on any project. Anyone can have access to the files, see the work that has been changed and often times a cloud authoring platform will have reviewing functionality that allows team members to make comments for others to read. So, if someone is joining late on a project, they are not lost in a sea of documents. They have the information available all in one place and organized, so they can pick up projects right where someone else left off.
Want to learn more about cloud authoring? Watch the full recording of our Cloud Authoring webinar featuring Dr. Schneider from dominKnow and Dr. Aleckson from Web Courseworks.