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Issues, Trends, Innovations and Research in ID, IT and DE – EDID 6506
Assignment 3
Research Paper on
Software as a Service (SaaS)
By
Krissa Johnny
Presented in fulfillment
of the requirements of
EDID 6506 – Issues, Trends, Innovations and Research in ID, IT and DE
Trimester III (2013 - 2014)
E-mail:
krissa.johnny@my.open.uwi.edu
University:
University of the West Indies Open Campus
Course Coordinator: Camille Dickson-Deane
Date of Submission: November 13, 2013
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
Graduate Coursework Accountability Statement (To be completed by student)
ACADEMIC YEAR: 2013 - 2014
COURSE CODE: EDID 6506
NAME: Krissa Johnny
SEMESTER: III
TITLE: Issues, Trends, Innovations and Research in
ID, IT and DE
ID: 309100691
1. I hereby certify that I am the author of the attached item of coursework and that all materials from
reference sources have been properly acknowledged.
2. I understand what plagiarism is and what penalties may be imposed on students found guilty of
plagiarism.
3. I certify that this paper contains no plagiarized material.
4. I certify that this is my own work and that I did not receive any unfair assistance from others
(including unauthorized collaboration) in its preparation.
5. I certify that this paper has not previously been submitted either in its entirety or in part within the
UWI system or to any other educational institution.
6. In the case of group work:
a. I certify that the individual work of each member of the group has been clearly indicated;
b. that where no such indication has been given, I take the responsibility for the work as if it
were the section of the paper for which I am solely responsible; and
c. that I have not collaborated with any members of the group to breach the University’s
regulations.
Signature: ………Krissa Johnny……………………….
Date: ……………November 13, 2013……………………….
The field of instructional design and technology encompasses the analysis of learning and
performance problems, and the design, development, implementation, evaluation and
management of instructional and non-instructional processes and resources intended to
improve learning and performance in a variety of settings, particularly educational institutions
and the workplace (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012). Professionals in the field instructional design and
technology often use systematic instructional design procedures and employ instructional
media to accomplish their goals. Additionally, these professionals study current research and
emerging trends to ensure that the instructional experiences provided are best suited for the
goals and objectives which are to be achieved.
According to Veletsianos (2010), “emerging technologies are tools, innovations, and
advancements utilized in diverse educational settings (including distance, face-to-face, and
hybrid forms of education) to serve varied education-related purposes (e.g. instructional, social,
and organizational goals). Veletsianos (2010) further states that emerging technologies (ET) can
be understood in the context of five characteristics namely: ET can be, but are not necessarily,
new technologies; ET are evolving organisms that exist in a state of “coming into being”; ET go
through hype cycles; ET satisfy the “not yet” criteria; and ET are potentially disruptive but their
potential is mostly unfulfilled.” On a daily basis, professionals are bombarded with various
emerging trends and issues, some of which are either missed or short-lived. One such emerging
trend is Software as a Service (SaaS). Consequently, this research paper discusses SaaS and its
relevance in the field of Instructional Design and Technology.
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Software as a Service (SaaS) often referred to as “on-demand software” describes any cloud
service where consumers are able to access software applications over the internet (Interoute
Communications Limited, 2010), rather than installed on a computer. These applications are
hosted in “the cloud” and can be used for a wide range of tasks for both individuals and
organizations. SaaS is regarded as part of the nomenclature of cloud computing along with
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS), as the software is hosted on
the Internet or the “cloud.”
The era of cloud computing has made SaaS a common delivery model for many business
applications. These include, but are not limited to Office and Messaging software, Gamification,
Virtualization, human resource management, collaboration and content management
(Wikipedia, 2013). In addition, several types of SaaS applications are accessible such as Google
and Microsoft Windows Live (TechTerms, 2011). Google, which offers a suite of online
applications called Google Apps, include Google Docs, which permits users to create and share
documents online, and Google Sites, which facilitates collaboration on projects via a custom
Web interface. Microsoft’s Windows Live service provides Web versions of Microsoft Office
programs, such as Word and PowerPoint. Consequently, documents created with the online
Office applications can be saved on a user’s SkyDrive and shared with other Windows Live
users.
The idea of using software as a service first emerged in the late 1990’s in order to allow sharing
end user licenses in a way that reduced cost and also shifted infrastructure demands from the
company to the software provider. However, there seems to be conflicting evidence on the
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exact origin or initiator of the trend. According to Hang & Dibie (n.d.), “The SaaS acronym
allegedly first appeared in an article called “Strategic Backgrounder: Software as a Service”,
internally published in February 2001 by the Software & Information Industry’s (SIIA) eBusiness
Division.” However, according to Ballinger (2012) and Toolbox (2010), the popular version
“SaaS” was coined by John Koenig for the SDForum Software-as-a-Service Conference in March
2005 and has become the industry adopted reference term, clarifying and replacing the earlier
terms On Demand and ASP (Application Service Provider). Despite conflicting evidence on exact
origin, SaaS has proven to be one of the emerging trends which was neither missed nor shortlived and can be illustrated by the following diagrams taken from Savage (2012) and
Vicosystems (2009) respectively:
Software as a Service (SaaS) is located in the application level of the stack
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Software as a Service (SaaS) is not only limited to business applications and is relevant to the
field of instructional design, technology and distance education particularly in the area of
distance education, which is growing exponentially. The growing numbers of students who are
becoming involved in distance education and blended learning means increased pressure to
build distance learning programs and modules. According to Chang & Guetl (2010), instructors
of blended and distance courses are expected to include more data-intensive and computingintensive learning resources such as interactive videos, virtual worlds, modeling and
simulations, and Web 2.0 tools in their courses. This means that the current IT infrastructure
offered by most distance learning programs is unlikely to sufficiently meet the increasing
demands of instructors and students in an effective and efficient manner.
This demand for IT and the decreasing amount of resources available to meet that demand, is
making cloud computing an attractive solution for meeting campuses’ technology needs
(Blanton & Schiller, 2010). As such, administrators of distance learning should consider cloud
computing, and by extension the delivery model of SaaS, as an alternative solution by including
the emerging trend in their strategic planning. SaaS has numerous reasons for being beneficial
to organizations such as educational institutions and personal users, likewise in the field of
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instructional design, technology and distance education. Interoute Communications Limited
(2013) highlights the following reasons as:
1. No additional hardware costs: the cloud provider provides the processing power
required to run the applications.
2. No initial setup costs: as soon as the user subscribes the applications are ready to use.
3. Pay for what you use: subscriptions can be terminated at any time which allows the
user to pay for software that will be used only for a limited period.
4. Usage is scalable: when additional services are required, the user can access those on
demand without the need to install new software or hardware.
5. Updates are automated: updates are available online free of charge to existing
customers and are usually deployed automatically by the cloud provider.
6. Cross device compatibility: SaaS applications can be accessed via any internet enabled
device. This makes it convenient for instructors and students who are now equipped
with mobile technology devices such as tablets and smart phones.
7. Accessible from any location: applications can be accessed from anywhere and are not
restricted to installations on individual computers.
8. Applications can be customized and whitelabelled: customization is available with
some software, which means that it can be altered by institutions or individuals to suit
their particular needs and branding.
Notwithstanding the numerous benefits listed above, there are challenges and risks associated
with SaaS and cloud computing technologies in general. These include concerns with privacy,
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security, vendor lock-in/dependency and legal/regulator/information policy consequences (He,
Cernusca & Abdous, nd.). Yet, these challenges are too few to outnumber the many reasons for
cloud computing and SaaS being relevant to and being beneficial to the field of instructional
design, technology and distance education.
In retrospect, conducting research on emerging trends/issues in the field of instructional
design, technology and distance education was a tedious process. Having selected eight trends
and having all rejected as no longer emerging was very frustrating and discouraging. Even
having looked to the future and Googling research topics such as “Emerging trends 2015” did
not produce the results I anticipated. However, in spite of the frustration, there was much
benefit to be derived from the research process. Through conducting the research, I was
exposed to many trends/issues in the field that I was never aware of. Many trends I researched
on my own but many more I stumbled on as I searched through the numerous sites and
documents on emerging trends. This process, though it did not lead to my successfully selecting
an emerging trend, did however broaden my knowledge on trends/issues in the field I am
pursuing.
Selecting Software as a Service (SaaS) as an emerging trend, materialized as a result of research
conducted by a colleague for the same assignment. His excellent research skills on the topic led
to his acquisition of more than one emerging trend. Having been approved for all his trends, I
requested his permission to conduct research on Software as a Service (SaaS). Researching on
this trend was even more frustrating than my initial phase of research. Being emerging, very
little concrete documentation exists on this trend and consequently I had to rely on Wikipedia
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and mostly Blogs to redirect my searches in order to obtain sufficient information to complete
the research paper. Being emerging meant that the information obtained on the trend was
general as searches on the impact of SaaS on the field deemed futile. Overall, the research
process leading to completion of this paper was invaluable as through my effort I was able to
gather more information than if I were to read in a unit of study on the course page.
In conclusion, professionals in the field will continuously be bombarded with the influx of
technologies and trends/issues which emerge daily. Whether or not the trend is a success, each
emerging technology presents its benefits and challenges as well as the situations in and
individuals for which it will be most applicable. As an emerging trend/issue, SaaS presents both
benefits and challenges to instructional design, technology and distance education, particularly
in distance education which is growing exponentially. As discussed, the benefits of SaaS far
outnumber the challenges, however, more research needs to be conducted to fill the gap in
literature on the emerging trend so that professionals are in a better position to make critical
decisions as it relates to implementation of the trend/issue.
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Reference
Ballinger, M. (2012). SaaS or On-Premise? Is Moving Applications Into the Cloud Really an “Allor-Nothing” Approach? Retrieved November 10, 2013, from
http://blog.sageerpsolutions.com/saas-or-on-premise-is-moving-applications-into-thecloud-really-an-all-or-nothing-approach/
Blanton, S & Schiller, C. (2010). Is There Safety in the Cloud? EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 33(2).
Retrieved from
http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/I
sThereSafetyintheCloud/206543
Chang, V. & Guetl, C. (2010). Generation Y Learning in the 21st Century: Integration of Virtual
Worlds and Cloud Computing Services. In Z. Abas et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Global
Learn Asia Pacific 2010 (pp. 1888-1897). AACE.
Hang, H. & Dibie, O. (n.d.). Software as a Service. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from
http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~kena/classes/5828/s12/presentationmaterials/dibieogheneovohanghaojie.pdf
He, W., Cernusca, D. & Abdous, M. (n.d.). Exploring Cloud Computing for Distance Learning.
Retrieved November 12, 2013, from
http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall143/he_cernusca_abdous143.html
Reiser, R. A. & Dempsey, J. V. (2012). Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology.
3rd Ed. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
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Savage, J. (2012). Get Off of My Cloud. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from
http://www.sleeter.com/blog/2012/07/get-off-of-my-cloud/
TechTerms.com. (2011). SaaS. Retrieved November 9, 2013, from
http://www.techterms.com/definition/saas
Toolbox. (2010). SaaS. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from
http://it.toolbox.com/wiki/index.php/SaaS
Veletsianos, G. (2010). A Definition of Emerging Technologies for Education. In G. Veletsianos
(Ed.), Emerging Technologies in Distance Education (pp. 3-22). Edmonton, AB:
Athabasca University Press.
Vicosystems. (2009). Software as a Service Model. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from
http://vicosystems.wordpress.com/
Wikipedia. (2013). Software as a Service. Retrieved November 9, 2013, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_as_a_service
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