Cloud computing in education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: Can barriers be overcome?
Interest in Cloud Computing (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) in the e-learning arena is growing due to potential greater cost savings from scalable architectures and open source products, and the possibility of higher learning outcomes. Greater connectivity between centralized server-side applications and low cost/low processor capacity mobile devices (M-learning) could provide better access, more control, and greater freedom for e-learners. Many United States businesses and governmental agencies are outsourcing organizational functionality such as email to such Cloud systems as Gmail and Google Apps. However, some serious issues with the viability and suitability of the Cloud Computing model for education remain: primarily, storage of sensitive data on third-party servers outside of the organization. Family and individual privacy are important cultural values in the Arabian Gulf. Also the loss of data through discontinued Cloud services has not been uncommon.