Google Apps goes to school at Notre Dame

The university is moving its student e-mail accounts to Google Apps Education Edition

The University of Notre Dame has joined a number of other schools that are using Google Apps Education Edition to provide e-mail and other collaboration tools to its students.

CIO Gordon Wishon, who was in Boston to attend Google's Campus Technology 2008 conference, said the university is in the process of integrating Google Apps for Education with its existing systems.

Like other US universities, Wishon said Notre Dame decided that it could save money by using Google's cloud computing model to give students free access to e-mail and collaboration tools.

"Today we're in the process of bringing all our [student] e-mail accounts into Google Education and giving them access to the Google Apps," he said. "For the present time, we are not doing that with faculty and staff accounts but that may still happen in the future."

With Google Apps for Education, students will have access to Gmail accounts, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk, which provide services that the university might not have been able to provide otherwise, Wishon said.

For example, Wishon said Notre Dame did not provide students with access to calendaring services, among other services that were available to faculty and staff.

"So the Google relationship provides us with a very cost effective method of extending services to students," he said.

Converting the student accounts from the university servers to Google services should be completed by the end of the first semester, according to Wishon.

Wishon said there's a real possibility for the faculty and staff to be transitioned to Google Apps as well.

"We really haven't had time yet to have the discussions on campus with the administration that are necessary to support that decision," he said. "There are concerns about the protection of potential sensitive university information that we have to work through, but I don't foresee, necessarily, any barriers that might ultimately prevent that [transition.]"

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