Cloud Academy: IBM Delivers Free Software To Colleges


The IT vendor is working with 20 colleges and universities in the U.S. on the Academic Skills Cloud initiative and will add more schools over time, IBM said. The effort builds on the IBM Cloud Academy program the company recently launched for educational institutions.

Through the Academic Skills Cloud professors can help students learn such technology skills as software development and information management, and become familiar with Web 2.0 and cloud computing technologies. Students will be able to access curricula and course materials from anywhere using their laptops and mobile devices.

IBM said faculty would benefit by quickly integrating new IT courses into their curricula while existing school information technology resources would be freed up for other tasks.

The specific technologies initially included in the program include Rational development software (Application Developer, Team Concert and Software Architect), WebSphere Application Server, and the DB2 and Informix relational databases, IBM said. Cognos, Lotus and Tivoli software will be added later.

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IBM will be providing the software through a private cloud environment that it will manage, said Mark Hanny, an IBM executive who oversees the initiative, along with his other responsibilities.

Two schools taking part in the program include the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and the School of Computer Science & Mathematics at Marist College.

The latest effort is part of a broader program that has some 9,000 faculty members at 5,000 universities working with IBM software in 35,600 courses, according to Hanny.

IT vendors such as IBM, Apple and Microsoft are often generous with their software products in academia. In addition to altruistic benefits, such generosity can pay off when students who become familiar with those technologies in school favor those products when they graduate and move into the working world.