Faculty and students on 200 campuses nationwide will have free access to advanced data management and analytics software via cloud computing beginning in the fall 2010 semester, after business software company SAS last week opened its OnDemand for Academics program to more higher-education customers at no charge.
The web-hosted analytics software has gained traction in higher education in recent years, and education technology experts said the free offer could expand the software’s presence at colleges where IT departments have seen deep cuts during the country’s economic downturn.
The OnDemand for Academics tool would join a growing list of campus technologies hosted on the internet—a strategy known as cloud computing—which allows access to the most up-to-date programs without using costly on-campus servers. This means students can access the online tool from anywhere they have an internet connection and won’t be forced to buy the software for their laptops or make a trip to the school computer lab to use the SAS analytics program, saving money for the university and time for IT staff—many of whom have a larger workload after budget cuts have trimmed staff numbers in recent years.
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