IBM launches cloud academy

IBM has announced a global forum for educators, researchers and information technology (IT) personnel from the education industry. The new IBM Cloud Academy will help these professionals to pursue cloud computing initiatives, develop skills and share best practices. These efforts will help them to reduce operating costs while improving quality and access to education.

This announcement represents a continuation of the cloud computing projects that IBM has initiated over the past two years. According to IBM’s officials, 17 educational institutions worldwide have already signed up to participate in the academy.

According to Michael King, vice president, IBM global education industry, this initiative will allow those in the education industry to easily gain immediate access to a variety of new educational resources and research applications and tools. King said this academy will advance awareness and adoption of cloud computing, including best practices for education and research institutions.

New technologies and research methods
Institutions and other participants of the Cloud Academy will be able to collaborate through an IBM-managed cloud. Available via the Internet, this cloud simplifies entry for the development and contribution of subject matter expertise.

Members can easily create working groups on areas of interest to the education industry. Other benefits include ability to collaborate on new innovations for clouds in education-related areas with IBM developers and working on technical projects across institutions. In addition, members can also share research findings as well as exchange new ideas for research.

The IBM Cloud Academy will also facilitate innovation of further advance cloud computing. All the members will be encouraged to prepare education-focused open source software for clouds. IBM officials suggest they can do so by various means including integrating cloud provisioning and de-provisioning services, validating content for compliance with accessibility standard, and utilising IBM cloud offerings for teaching, learning, research and administration.

This initiative will also result in creation of new technologies and research methods. By working with elite researchers in IBM labs throughout the world, the participants will be able to extend the boundaries of cloud computing in education.

General membership available in a few months
IBM will collaborate with participants on integrating cloud technologies into their campus and district infrastructures. IBM’s Academy of Technology will support this new academy through the company’s top technical leaders who are working in research, hardware and software development, manufacturing, and services.

Participants of the academy will also have access to the company’s public cloud services. Currently, the charter members are working to define the final structure of the academy. The academy is scheduled to open for general membership in early 2010.

The US-based institutions participating in the academy include George Mason University; Georgia State University; Gwinnett County Public Schools; Marist College; New York University; North Carolina State University; Pike County Schools; The Executive Leadership Foundation’s Technology Transfer Project — a collaborative effort for Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

International institutions include Beijing University of Technology in China; Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), Qatar University (QU) and Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) in Qatar; Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon in France; Ozyegin University in Turkey; Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; and Victoria University in Australia.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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