Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NC education cloud? The NC Education Cloud is a $34.6 Shared Services Initiative designed to more efficiently and effectively deliver technology services to school districts in North Carolina.

What cloud services will be offered? Two core offerings will include Infrastructure Services, and a Service Delivery Platform that will include identity management, learning management systems, content management systems, and collaborative tools.

When will these services be available? Select early offerings will be available in the first half of 2011.Once the planning phase is complete, we anticipate that services will begin deployment in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Will the education cloud use commercially available third-party services like email? A core principle of the NC Education Cloud program is to utilize commercially available services, and when most cost effective and efficient, procure them as a service.

My LEA just implemented a new learning management system (LMS). Will I be required to transition to the LMS offered by the education cloud? All services are opt in.

Is the use of education cloud services mandatory for an LEA? All services offered by the cloud program are opt in. Most districts will find services offered by the cloud program to be more cost effective that in house deployment.

Will LEA’s be charged for using education cloud services? If so, how will these charges be determined? Federal funding provided under the Race to the Top funding through 2014. While there may be elements not covered under the RttT umbrella, all programs are opt in. Fee structures will be determined in the planning process under the advisement of LEAs.

What happens to the education cloud in four years when RttT funding is no longer available? The sustainability plan will be developed in the early phases of this project. In general, the cost to sustain the NC Education Cloud will be less than LEAs continuing to procure and deploy services on their own.

What role(s) will DPI play in delivering education cloud services? DPI will hire a Cloud Services Manager to help facilitate contracts with commercial service providers.

Who will administer and manage the education cloud? The overall cloud program will be governed by an advisory structure that will include overall project oversight and working groups. The overall day-to-day operations of the cloud will be managed by commercial providers.

How are the education cloud and the Instructional Improvement System related? The NC Education Cloud and the Instructional Improvement System (IIS) are distinct programs funded by the Race to the Top initiative. The IIS will likely be built on top of components that will be deployed as part of the Service Delivery Platform of the NC Education Cloud.

How are the education cloud and the other RttT initiatives related? A key reason the NC Education Cloud was funded by Race to the Top was to support the various technology needs of RttT initiatives. While infrastructure services are exclusively earmarked for LEA use, most technology resources deployed by other initiatives will be built around the Service Delivery Platform.

What role(s) will the LEAs play in determining what cloud services will be offered? All LEAs will be interviewed on site to determine what services are being consumed in districts today, and to give every LEA an opportunity for input. Additionally, an advisory committee will be formed with representation from each region of the state. As projects are developed LEAs will be asked to participate in working groups to drive the direction of deployed services.

What should LEAs do now to prepare for the education cloud? LEAs should participate fully in the site interview process. Additionally, LEAs should avoid long term capital investments and contracts until the plan is developed in early 2011.

Will the education cloud impact LEA IT staffing levels and responsibilities? NC Education Cloud Shared Services offerings are intended to give LEAs additional options related to the procurement and operations of technology. All staffing decisions related to supporting district technology needs will continue to be made at the local level.

I'm a vendor interested in providing cloud services. How can I participated? We anticipate that RFPs will be released for initial cloud services in mid-2011. These will RFPs will be released through normal state channels through the NC Office of Information Technology Services.