The Cloud and You
4.4 (22 ratings)
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The Cloud and You

The Cloud explained - exploit the benefits, avoid the pitfalls
4.4 (22 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
216 students enrolled
Created by Dr Michael Rees
Last updated 3/2014
Current price: $15 Original price: $20 Discount: 25% off
21 minutes left at this price!
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  • 43 mins on-demand video
  • 5 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • the Cloud explained
  • how to connect to the cloud
  • using cloud apps for everyday tasks
  • employing cloud storage for documents and backup
  • have working cloud accounts on course completion
  • list the major cloud services
View Curriculum
  • basic familiarity with connecting a smartphone, tablet or computer to the Internet

"What is the Cloud?", and "Why is it useful?" are the two main questions answered by this course. In everyday life you can gain many benefits from the Cloud but there are a number of pitfalls to avoid as well. Understand Cloud technology and unlock the advantages while avoiding the downsides. Over a couple of hours learn about the wide range of Cloud tasks such as email, business functions, social media, store and retrieve documents, and manage photo and video collections. Quizzes keep you on your toes and two workshops give your practical experience of using the Cloud.

Who is the target audience?
  • individuals of any age, professionals and small business
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Curriculum For This Course
About the Course
2 Lectures 04:01

My name is Dr Michael Rees. I am a retired university academic who taught and researched computer science for 40 years. In 1998 I did my first work with what is now called the Cloud. I have been a Cloud advocate ever since and one of my main aims in life is to:

Link the crowd with the Cloud

I give a brief overview of the main Cloud components to complete this backdrop to the course.

Preview 02:49

Read the text contents of this lecture carefully to obtain the optimum use of this Udemy site.

Note that a short Kindle book entitled The Cloud and You is available as a companion text. Check your local Kindle book store for details of purchase.

Using this site
The Cloud
5 Lectures 18:23

This lecture gives an overview of the main Cloud features.

Smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops can connect to the Cloud via the Internet. Once connected these devices have access to a wide range of facilities for day to day living.

Servers typically housed in data centres run software to control the Cloud and to provide a wide range of services. One of the most popular services is secure Cloud storage supported by large banks of disk drives housed alongside the servers.

Access to the Cloud via the Internet and the cost of Cloud services has dropped to the point where individuals, professionals and small businesses can use the Cloud conveniently.

Preview 02:28

You connect to the Cloud using a combination of the Web and the Internet. Typically a browser running on a device interacts with a web site, the Cloud service, running on a server.

In addition, popular Cloud services offer an API, Application Programming Interface, which interacts with dedicated apps on a device. The API gives programmatic access to the Cloud service.

With personal data stored in a Cloud service there needs to be a secure access path. This is normally provided via a user name and password combination. Once authenticated you can gain access to the data and control sharing if needed.

Preview 02:37

Put simply there are three compelling reasons:

  1. Access from any device on the Internet
  2. One safe place for apps, documents and services
  3. Share documents and data with anyone

To gain these benefits a different approach to computing is needed. Aim to use any of your devices to use Cloud services rather than tie your apps and data to a particular local computer

Preview 03:39

The significant benefits of the Cloud come with some downsides.

You need an Internet connection to carry out tasks. The Cloud providers must be trusted to deliver a reliable service and to stay in business. You must assess the security of data transport and data storage

Once the pitfalls are weighed against the benefits you must decide whether the Cloud is for you.

Cloud pitfalls

Thousands of cloud services exist today. Here I concentrate on the types of services of use to individuals, professionals and small businesses. The Cloud services are email, storage, media collections, office apps and structured data collections.

Online shopping and financials services are left for a later lecture.

There a few computing tasks that cannot be undertaken in the Cloud. These day you would have to mount a special case to avoid the use of Cloud services.

Cloud services

A quick test of the major Cloud features, the pros and cons of using the Cloud and some of the key Cloud services.

Cloud features
6 questions
Cloud Storage
3 Lectures 09:00

Cloud storage is the next most popular Cloud service after email and mirrors the benefits of the Cloud itself.

You can access your Cloud documents from any device, the documents are stored in a single, safe place, and while documents are private by default you can share them with named individuals or more them public.

The DropBox Cloud storage service has been operating since 2007 and has 200 million users today. A free account comes with a lowly 2 GB of space but can be used on all major devices and platforms.

From the list of files and folders documents in common formats are downloaded for reading, other document types have to downloaded to the device and handled by other apps.

On laptops the DropBox server app synchronizes Cloud documents to a local folder providing a local backup. Several laptops can do this with documents synced between all machines.

Downsides include the necessary Internet connection, trusting the Cloud storage provider and impacts on data caps as the documents are uploaded and downloaded.

Check out other Cloud storage providers:

Microsoft OneDrive with 7 GB free space
Google Drive with 15 GB free space
Amazon Cloud Drive with 5 GB free space
Box with 10 GB free space

Cloud storage features

Once you commit to the Cloud it should be second nature to store and share your documents and
media files in your Cloud storage services

You must upload your documents initially from your laptop to the Cloud storage. For a large file collection this will consume significant parts of the data cap of your Internet service. Take care to manage this and initially trickle feed your files to the Cloud.

Once in the Cloud the files can be managed by renaming, moving and deleting them via the Cloud service.

DropBox also includes a useful versioning system that keeps a history of all file changes and allows you to revert to older versions if needed.

Sharing is the key feature of Cloud storage. DropBox allows sharing via email, social media and a link that can be inserted into web page, text messages and so on.

The next lecture is a workshop where you will gain practical experience with Cloud storage.

Cloud storage management

From the link below download the PDF file and display it in another window. Follow the workshop instructions.

Cloud Storage Workshop

The questions in this quiz cover material from the lectures in the Cloud Storage section of this course.

One question expects you to paste in a link to a shared photo on Dropbox as explained in the Cloud storage workshop.

Cloud data
8 questions
Cloud Office Apps
2 Lectures 03:58

I use the term Cloud Office apps to mean the ability to work with Cloud documents using Microsoft Office formats. Not only can these apps store, manage and share Office documents but they can also create and edit them within the browser.

This lecture describes Google Drive which exhibits the required attributes. As a contrast Microsoft OneDrive is covered in the workshop that follows.

You will see that Cloud Office apps are ideally suited for individuals, professionals and small businesses. Many tasks can be carried out without the need to install desktop Office apps. since Google Drive and OneDrive are free for basic amounts of storage this saves the cost of desktop software.

Professionals and small businesses may need their own domain name and they can look to relatively inexpensive paid services such as Google Apps for Business and Microsoft's Office 365.

Cloud Office Apps

From the link below download the PDF file and display it in another window. Follow the workshop instructions.

Cloud Office Apps Workshop

Office Apps
8 questions
The Cloud and You
2 Lectures 09:47

Some other Cloud services are covered including social media, structured data services, financial services and online shopping.

Social media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
Instagram, Foursquare, WhatsApp and Pinterest

Structured Data Collections

Diigo, Mendeley and Feedly

Financial Services

PayPal, Square, Apple Passbook and Google Wallet

Online Shopping

Amazon, Ebay and Kogan

Other Cloud services

These are closing remarks and summarize what you should remember from this course.

Go forward and boldly

Embrace the Cloud

Embrace the Cloud
2 Lectures 02:20

Please complete the two simple surveys. The first asks you to copy the shared links generated in the two workshops, and the second asks for your quick opinion of the course.

The links are provided in the text of the lecture.

Final Survey

If you want to take the practical workshops further this lecture suggests a few more exercises that allow you to gain more experience with using the Cloud.

Next practical steps
About the Instructor
Dr Michael Rees
4.4 Average rating
22 Reviews
216 Students
1 Course
Linking the crowd with the cloud

I am a retired academic who is passionate about the cloud and how many benefits it brings to individuals, professionals and small companies. With over 40 years experience of teaching and researching computer science at university level I now want to bring my expertise to the community. My focus is on how every person can use inexpensive devices like smartphone, tablets and laptops to enhance their lives using the simple and extensive features of the cloud.

Fellow of the British Computer Society

PhD in Incremental Compilation
University of Southampton

DipAdMaths in Programming Languages
University of Oxford

BSc in Applied Maths
University of Birmingham