Model of E-Education Infrastructure based on Cloud Computing

Model of E-Education Infrastructure based on Cloud Computing

Zorica Bogdanović, Aleksandar Milić, Aleksandra Labus
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5784-7.ch005
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With rapid increase in the number of users, services, educational content, and required resources, educational institutions face new challenges in design and deployment of IT infrastructure for e-education. This chapter deals with defining and developing a model of IT infrastructure for e-learning by using cloud computing concept. The first challenge is adoption and implementation of digital identity management systems and the second is providing support for a system that would be able to use all advantages of federation systems for digital identities management. The experimental part of the chapter consists of a study directed towards the validation of the proposed IT infrastructure model for e-learning. Research was conducted in the Laboratory for E-Business at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences. The results of the research show that the implemented model of IT infrastructure enables the system of e-learning to be more efficient, flexible, and more economical.
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Theoretical Background

Talking about application of cloud computing infrastructure in higher education, three basic approaches can be noticed. First approach is complete outsourcing of e-education infrastructure (Sultan, 2010) which educational institutions provide to their users (teaching staff, administrative staff, researchers, students, etc.) with services such as e-mail, digital libraries, etc., through the leased infrastructure of a cloud provider. Second approach is cloud within the private infrastructure (Caron, Desprez, Loureiro, & Muresan, 2009) that requires highly skilled cloud administrators and appropriate hardware and software resources within the educational institution. Third approach represents combination of previous two approaches (Costanzo, Assuncao, & Buyya, 2009). The educational institution can develop and deploy its own cloud infrastructure. If the infrastructure becomes overloaded, a third party cloud services can be leased in the periods of increased demand.

In the previous years, there has been much research in the field of cloud computing. However, only a few dealt with the problem of developing and deploying models for e-learning infrastructure using cloud computing. Main research directions important for the problems considered in this chapter include: identity management within cloud computing environment, modelling the cloud computing infrastructure, analyzing performances of the cloud computing, and resource management in e-learning systems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cloud Computing (CC): Is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): Provides the consumer with the capability to deploy consumer-created or acquired applications, which are produced using programming languages and tools supported by the provider, onto the cloud infrastructure.

E-Education: Refers to use of information and communication technologies in education.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Provides the consumer with the capability to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources, and allows the consumer to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications.

Private Cloud: Is an infrastructure operated for a private organization that may be managed by the organization or a third party, and may exist on premise or off premise.

Software as a Service (SaaS): Provides the consumer with the capability to use the provider's applications running on a cloud infrastructure.

Virtualization: Is one of prerequisites for the realization of cloud computing and enables an efficient usage of resources, because several virtual machines can operate on one physical machine.

Learning Management Systems (LMS): Are powerful integrated systems that support a number of activities performed by teachers and students during the e-learning process.

Identity Management Systems (IDM): Represent an IT infrastructure that is used to manage users' identities and authentication and authorization data.

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