Our Cloud Computing Class Evolves

This week, here in the Quad Cities of Illinois/Iowa, we taught Cloud Computing for the Quad Cities Computer Society.

We’ve presented this”Cloud Computing” topic many times over the last year.  This topic hasn’t been our choice – we prefer teaching about maps, pictures, and blogs – but groups keep asking us to teach about Cloud Computing.  It’s a BIG topic!  The first several times we taught it, we felt people needed to understand more of the concept of Cloud Computing rather than specific ‘How-To.’ We demonstrated the concepts by using gmail – starting an email on the computer, taking the computer away and continuing the same email on an iPad, then taking the iPad away and finishing the same email using a smartphone.  It doesn’t matter what device you use when the email is in the cloud.  Then we explained file storage in the cloud and compared OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox.

After a few times of presenting the class as a concept class, we decided to add the How-To of using Dropbox to transfer pictures from your smartphone to your computer.  That was fun, it feels like magic.  By the time we were called upon to teach Cloud Computing to the QCS club, we decided to convert it to more of a How-To class and taught specific steps to share files and folders using Dropbox.  We challenged the group to identify when a document or picture we were showing was stored in the Cloud, or on the local computer.  They did good, and had great follow up questions.  We felt that we had chosen the right content when, after the seminar we received emails from a couple of people in the class and they shared documents and pictures with us using the Dropbox technique we taught in class!

You can read the seminar handout for Cloud Computing.  You can even watch a recording of the entire 1.5 hour presentation if you want!  The president of the club asked if we could set it up so that the seminar was broadcast and recorded as a Google+ Hangout.  So, Jim set up his Surface Pro tablet on a tripod, aimed it at the front of the room and started a Google+ Hangout.  It actually did get recorded quite successfully – but realize that the audio visuals were set up for the live audience, not the recording.  The sound isn’t the best and you can’t see the detail on the screen, but you will get the gist of the seminar if  you watch the 1.5 hour unedited video of Cloud Computing.