September 4, 2012

Collegewide Google Apps for Education Project Underway at OIT

"There is a growing need for all members of the college community to be able to collaborate across the college's unique presence throughout New York state and beyond. To support these academic, administrative, professional and personal endeavors, the time has come to provide a set of innovative flexible tools, which offer reasonable cost and the potential to be widely used," according to David O'Neill, vice president for integrated technologies.

To meet this objective, during summer 2012  the Office of Integrated Technologies established a working group to examine the feasibility of implementing Google Apps for Education across the college as a standardized set of services for collaboration and communication among students, faculty and staff. This working group was charged with advising and assisting the executive sponsor, O'Neill, during the calendar year ending Dec. 31.

The purpose of this group is to:

  • help gather information needed to consider the  feasibility of offering Google Apps for Education as collegewide service to support collaboration and communication for all faculty, staff and students
  • use and test the following Google services: Calendar, Docs/Drive, Groups, Sites and Talk
  • work together over to provide feedback on a baseline set of Google Apps services.  

Note: The college will undertake a separate project to assess email  at a later date.

Project leads Gayle Noel and Suzanne Hayes, of OIT, invited 45 participants from across the college representing faculty, professional and support staff. Their distribution is as follows: CDL, four; grad, three; regional centers, 24; OAA, 7; OIT, seven; and other, six. Thirteen members are faculty, 29 are professionals and three are support staff.

Since July, this group has been working as a virtual team to use and experiment with a selection of Google services; participate in a Web-based community to share knowledge and experience; and provide ongoing feedback through electronic surveys.

At the same time, OIT staff has been working with the product to determine the optimal configuration of the services and how to plan future synchronization with current user accounts within LDAP directories and single sign-on service.

During the early fall, feedback will be summarized and presented to senior management. A communication plan will be created in October and final implementation of the core set of services is anticipated to begin rolling out to the college in November. December will wrap up the project with any pre-planning that needs to be done for future Google Apps enhancements required in the following year. To learn more about the progress of the project visit the project web site.

This website requires a Google Apps account login which can be requested by submitting a ticket through the users support services site at www.esc.edu/techinfo.