Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

An Analysis of the Use of Cloud Computing among University Lecturers: A Case Study in Zimbabwe

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

An Analysis of the Use of Cloud Computing among University Lecturers: A Case Study in Zimbabwe

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Cloud computing concept is a nascent type of distributed computing which is still in its formative years. Cloud computing is an up-and-coming computing paradigm for delivering computing services that aims to provide scalable and inexpensive on-demand computing infrastructures with good quality of service levels (Lamba & Singh, 2011). The term cloud computing is habitually used in the present day with an assortment of connotations and elucidations. Recent literature is awash with examples which demonstrate that cloud computing may possibly bring about cost reductions and make possible ground-breaking online services (Taylor, Young, Kumar, & Macaulay, 2011; Alizadeh, Hassan, Behboodian, & Karamizadeh, 2013; Alizadeh et al, 2013). However, it is the same literature which indicates that barricades to adopt cloud computing are diverse (Lamba & Singh, 2011).

Cloud computing is provided in four forms as are listed below:

a. Cloud computing is provided as a service and it takes different forms. These forms are; Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) whereby hardware resources like storage facilities, large capacity memory and processing power are offered as services to customers on demand, usually at a cost.

b. Database as a service (DaaS) which is almost like IaaS, but is more of a kind of dedicated storage which offers database capability as a service.

c. Platform as a service (PaaS) is the provision of facilities to support the whole application development lifecycle including design, implementation, and debugging. Programming software applications are provided with compilers all on the internet.

d. Software as a service (SaaS), this is where software applications like Google web-based office applications, popularly known as Google docs, are offered as services on the Internet rather than as software packages.

Out of these categories, Google docs fall under the SaaS category. Google docs are a type of cloud computing service provided by Google and its deployment model is public cloud model. In this paper we looked at the benefits of using Google docs to researchers and academics and explored the factors affecting the effective adoption and use of Google docs by university Lecturers in Zimbabwe. Google docs was chosen because of its prevalence, security and cost effectiveness among cloud facilities available.

PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH

This study looked at the benefits of using Google docs to researchers and academics and analysed the factors affecting the adoption and use of Google docs by Lecturers. To gather the required information the researchers carried out a case study of lecturers at a university in Zimbabwe. Qualitative and quantitative techniques were used in the research approach. The data collection tools used were interviews and a survey questionnaire. The researchers were guided by insightful interviews to get an eye opener into the issues affecting the embracing and exploitation of this unsullied technology. This helped in the design of the questionnaire that was used to draw out information from the subjects. In his book 'The Economics of Cloud Computing' Williams (2011) stated that;

...the technology behind cloud computing is by and large the easy part. Frankly, the hardest part of cloud computing is the people.

This is a clear indication that it is the users who are impediments to the adoption and use of cloud computing. Therefore it is paramount that these users are supposed to be investigated to establish the factors affecting the adoption side.

LITERATURE REVIEW

What is Cloud Computing

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defined Cloud computing as "a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or cloud provider interaction"(Badger, Grance, Patt Corner, & Voas, 2011). …

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