DESIGNING A CLOUD BASED ELEARNING IMPLEMENTATION MODEL FOR HIGHER AND TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NAMIBIA
Main stream academic institutions are aiming to improve from past trends and venturing into new emerging technologies for quality delivery of teaching and learning. One of these trends that enhance teaching and learning is termed eLearning. ELearning is when teaching and learning is facilitated through the use of information communication technologies. ELearning is highly popular because it is flexible, it supports self-paced learning, and learners can access learning material anywhere, anytime and in the absence of the instructor. The problem with eLearning is that of managing data, ensuring security, limited server space, infrastructure sourcing and expensive maintenance. In addition to these problems, most academic institutions in the developing world are unable to fully finance eLearning systems and the skills for the support of these systems. Higher and tertiary institutions in Namibia which also use eLearning in their day to day teaching and learning activities are faced with slow bandwidth challenges. However, cloud computing can ease the financial burdens and reduce support issues brought about by lack of information technology skills and infrastructure. A qualitative case study at one Namibian tertiary institution was used in which interviews and experiments were used to obtain data. ELearning administrators at the case site were interviewed and it was established that at this tertiary institution the eLearning system also experiences infrastructure problems, support issues due to lack of expertise and insufficient human resources. In addition, their eLearning server reduces performance as the number of concurrent users connecting to it increases. Thus, migrating to a public cloud would solve most of these issues but there was no concrete plan as to how to migrate to cloud. Consequently, this research used design science research to design a cloud based implementation model for higher and tertiary institutions in Namibia so that academic institutions can seamlessly migrate to cloud. An experimental cloud was setup using a cloud based implementation model. The results of the experiment proved that the biggest challenge being faced by this tertiary institution’s eLearning server can be overcome. One of the challenges that could be solved is that the server is slow due to the ratio of RAM on the server, which is not proportionally adequate to the number of users. Most eLearning technical challenges and technical support challenges were solved. The use of cloud computing was proposed as a solution to these challenges.