Faculty/staff Email and Calendar Recommendation

Part One: Move faculty and staff email and calendaring from a locally hosted Exchange system to Google Apps for Education.

Part Two: Provide the collaboration tool suites from both Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365 for all faculty, staff and students.

Process:

A team of 10 individuals (4 from IT Services, 6 representing a variety of academic and administrative areas) reviewed both Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365. They compared the functions each offered to the requirements identified as important for Miami faculty and staff and voted 10-0 to recommend the Google solution for email and calendaring.

Requirements gathering:

The following individuals were involved in the requirements gathering phase. Over 300 requirements were identified.

Faculty member (CAS)

Lisa Santucci (ULB)

Faculty member (FNA)

Scott Campbell (EAS)

Technology Director (ULB)

Technology Director (EHS)

Technology Director (FSB)

Technology Director (CAS)

Jim Lipnickey (Hamilton)

Janet Cox (Academic Personnel)

Mike Edwards (FSB)

Tim Jones (Advancement)

Tracy Hughes (UMC)

Todd Pashak (UMC)

Staff (Bursar)

Sarah Persinger (Controller’s Office)

Staff (HR)

Debbie Mason (President’s Office)

Sandy Wright (IT Services)

Staff (Athletics)

Cindy Osborne (Advancement)

Staff (F&BS)

Sheila Theobald (President’s Office)

Staff (Provost’s Office)

Kimberly Sens (Student Affairs)

Christina McClure (Enrollment Management)

Amy Wentzell (President’s Office)

Anne Wheeler (Payroll)

Lindsay Carpenter (Lifelong Learning)

Staff (Registrar)

Denise Krallman (Institutional Research)

Steve Thole (HDRBS)

Jeri Moore (UCM)

Individuals involved in evaluating the technological capabilities:

Mike Ritcher (IT Services)

John Hammer (Accenture)

Joe Bazeley (IT Services)

Brian Henebry (IT Services)

Kent Covert (IT Services)

Dirk Tepe (IT Services)

Josh Hoskins (IT Services)

Scott Campbell (SEAS)

Jeff Triplett (SEAS)

Micah Cooper (IT Services)

Bill Roi (IT Services) 

 

Fit-Gap Evaluation participants:

Faculty (CAS)

Lisa Santucci (ULB)

Scott Campbell (SEAS)

Jim Lipnickey (MUH)

Mike Edwards (FSB)

Denise Krallman (Institutional Research)

Joe Bazeley (IT Services)

Brian Henebry (IT Services)

Dirk Tepe (IT Services)

Micah Cooper (IT Services)

 

 

Anticipated savings:

Initial estimates project an annual cost for the new service at $68K with one-time conversion costs of $112K. This will give Miami annual savings of approximately $88K. IT Services is working to refine the projected annual costs.

Timeline:

  1. Recommendation presented to IT Strategic Advisory Council (ITSAC) on April 16 and given preliminary endorsement
  2. Public comment period April 19 – May 4, 2012
  3. Final presentation to ITSAC May 8
  4. Present to the PEC for final approval (date to be determined)
  5. If approved, potential implementation target dates are December 2012 or summer 2013. Collaboration tools could be deployed sooner.

Public Comments:

The initial comment period has closed, however you may still log in, using the link at the bottom of the left column, and leave a comment or question.  Use your Miami UniqueID and password to gain access to the comments section. To leave a comment about the main post scroll to the bottom of the page. To reply to a previous comment, click the reply link under that comment.

Summary of Comments:

Concern

Response

Privacy concerns – Will Google data mine FERPA protected data and unpublished research data?

Google will be contractually prevented from mining any data from faculty/staff email/docs, just as students are currently protected

Current Google accounts – Will I lose access to my existing Gmail account or other resources I currently have on Google?

You will retain your @gmail.com credentials and gain @MiamiOH.edu credentials that work to access resources on Google.  There will be options available to merge those accounts, but that is entirely optional.

Current email/calendaring/contacts – What will happen to the information that I currently have stored in my email/calendar/address book?

That data will be migrated over to Google, using tools developed when students were migrated to Google.

Calendar permissions – Will I still be able to have permissions on my calendar, so I can allow some people to see my calendar and others to not be able to do so?

Yes, Google Calendar have the ability to provide different levels of access to your calendar.

Mac compatibility – Will Mac users continue to be treated as second class citizens, especially in regards to the web client?

No, web access should be remarkably similar between Mac, Windows, and Linux clients. 

Clients – Will I continue to be able to use Outlook or Entourage?

Yes, any modern mail client can be connected to the Google servers.

Niihka – How well will Google link to Niihka?

The development around linking Google Apps to Sakai was one of the reasons in favor of moving to Google.  Almost all of the large Sakai schools are using Google Apps for Education.

Searching – Will Google be able to search all of the email that I’ve accumulated over the years?

Yes, Google Mail has a robust search feature.  In addition, mail accounts will have 25 GB of space, opposed to the current maximum of 10 GB.

Offline access – Will I be able to access my email when I’m not connected to the Internet?

Yes, assuming that your email client supports that.  If you use Outlook or Entourage, it will appear no different to you than it currently does.

Google & China – Will China block access to Google, preventing any students or colleagues in China from being able to access their Miami email while in China?

It is a possibility, but we believe it to be a very unlikely event.  That said, we believe this problem can be circumvented through either our VPN or by setting up an email proxy server similar to how the libraries provide access to electronic journals.

Mobile devices – Will I be able to access my email on my Windows/Droid/iPhone/Blackberry smartphone?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Google is a proponent of open standards, so connecting devices tends to be easy.

Locked data – Will this decision lock us into Google, as they’ll have all of our data?

No, if we decided to move from Google to another solution we would have tools to move our data from Google to the new target, similar to those we will use to move your data from Exchange to Google.

Cost savings – Are your cost savings numbers accurate?

At this point they are estimates that were developed to evaluate the different choices.  The numbers will be refined as the project progresses.

 

Information:

For general information about the Google Apps for Education see: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/gmail.html

For general information about Microsoft Office 365 for Education see: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/education/school-services.aspx#fbid=pUlC31l4tn5

Comments

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That is a very interesting

That is a very interesting article. Thanks for posting. One significant difference between Miami and the bio tech firm in the article is that we would be moving to Google Apps for Education, which does not have a per user fee, like Google Apps for Business - so our savings would be more significant. We will need to look at the change management piece, as the article outlines some good points.

Posted on behalf of

Posted on behalf of mariness

Last summer at a national professional conference, communication problems raised serious concerns.  Several committee members did not receive important documents because their companies and universities block all email from Google.  The person who distributed the documents works for a university that uses Google email;  her emails never reached several committee members.  This is a serious problem for business communications!

If we choose to outsource

If we choose to outsource faculty and staff email, we will all retain @muohio.edu addresses, not Gmail addresses. That should prevent our messages from being blocked by anyone filtering out "Gmail" or "Google" addresses. That would need to be verified and addressed, if this assumption is not accurate.

Move to Google

A very bad idea. I remit to the many who have expressed concerns about privacy now and in the future, and I simply do not trust Google to be as secure as we need it to be or to hold to any agreements reached with the University. Of course there are always dangers when outsourcing any kind of service, and MicroSoft is not exactly innocent. But Google has made moves over the past year that should eliminate the company from further consideration by the University.

Google will be contractually

Google will be contractually prevented from mining any data from faculty and staff email, calendars and documents, just as students are currently protected. Miami is not alone in lookiing at moving to Google - many schools have made the choice including Case Western, Kent State, NC State, Brown, UC Berkley, Rutgers, U. of Michigan, and Yale, among others.

Google and Trust

When it comes down to it, Google is simply not a company that I trust. They are a company devoted to selling ads and giving things away for free on the back of that. Microsoft has a straightforward relationship with consumers: they sell products and people use them. Google services make the user of them the product and not matter what the contract stipulates, I cannot get behind or support that.

I think you summarize the

I think you summarize the respective business models well Bryan.

But the "sell products" aspect of the MS model has well-demonstrated downsides as well. In particular, their products generally simply aren't very open, and they don't play very well with other systems.

And MS is evolving too, with Office 365 a more Google-like product: free. So what's the business interest there, and how does that relate to our academic mission?

WRT to Google, there's no doubt their core business model is ads. And that leads to some inevitable tensions and nefarious potential. But one unmitigatingly positive outcome of this model is that they have a strong incentive to be as open as possible; open in the sense of running on the widest range of platforms and devices, and of promoting the open exchange of data.

I guess it just comes down to what sort of freedom and flexbility you value; and on what basis you define "trust."

For me, we have really major needs to improve communication and collaboration at this institution, and email is only one very small piece of that. Google is better prepared to help us do that.

Posted on behalf of

Posted on behalf of sauterdm

Setting this particular project aside for the moment, I believe we need to evaluate the Strategic Priorities Task Force (SPTF) and follow-up Accenture reports. As the director of an administrative office (Registrar) I am hopeful that before undertaking additional projects we evaluate the gains possible from (for example) developing automation where there are current paper processes, implementing a robust workflow system in order to increase services to students and faculty, and in general do a University-wide review of those initiatives – and develop an implementation plan -  which have already been proposed and could yield excellent results.

Google groups

Among the applications Google mail offers is Google Groups and Google Docs.  For those of us who used organizations in myMiami for sharing and communicating (no classroom uses) it seems this could replace the communities function in the new myMiami.  Except for posting an announcement to the community, are there differences I'm missing?  thanks.

Yes, Google would offer

Yes, Google would offer another potential channel for collaboration within groups.

how difficult will it be to get up and running

Most of the posts really don't address what my only concern is,...that is how difficult will it be to convert my current Outlook to this new system (I am a Mac user)? Also, how difficult will it be to duplicate remote access to e-mail/calendar when away from the office? IT did a great job making Outlook work seamlessly with all Mac products (I don't try/need to juggle multiple calendars, etc).

If the decision is made to

If the decision is made to move to Google, there will be a project team created with a goal of ensuring that the transition is as seamless as possible. As Google is web-based it should have no issues with Mac or any other operating system and would be accessible from anywhere you have Internet service. Google email and calendar are compatible with Outlook, Apple Mail and most all email clients - as well as being accessible via the Google web site.

Submitted by gorchodl on

Submitted by gorchodl on April 20, 2012 - 9:57am

While I favor an option that saves money, my big concern with switching to Google is their stealth tracking.  I don't know what they do with content on Google Apps for Education, but encourage the Committee to find out and tell us what they learn.  My understanding of Google+ is that Google tracks information from each user and can sell that to other parties.  I think a similar practice for Google Apps for Education would make it unacceptable as a choice for Miami U.  Tracking of user information puts academic freedom at risk.  If Miami is to choose Google it should make sure there is no data tracking.

 

The contrat that Miami

The contract that Miami currently hold with Google for student email does not permit mining/tracking of information or selling of that information. If we move to Google Apps for Education, we would ensure that any new contract would maintain privacy standards at least as high as those we have for Miami's students.

You just contradicted

You just contradicted yourself on this.  Your statement below indicates that, once students are alumni, then they will be subject to mining/tracking.  Additionally, you seemed to indicate that such would be the practice for faculty that subsequently leave Miami (either for another university or retirement).  If this is true, then it is a fatal flaw, no matter how much better the system performs or how much cheaper it is (neither of which would take much to do compared to Exchange).  Simply put, FERPA seems fairly clear that a faculty member is still governed under that privacy law even after leaving the university where the student information was obtained.  As such, any mining/tracking of former faculty e-mail, etc. by Google would be a violation.  That is, former faculty e-mail accounts would still contain FERPA protected content that could not be legally mined/tracked.

 

 

Our current contract with

Our current contract with Google was written to cover student email - and to provide our students the ability to keep their @muohio.edu address as long as they wished. In the crafting of the current contract, the University General Counsel was actively involved, we spent a great deal of time consulting with other institutions to see how they handled these questions and we discussed the issues with our Student Technology Advisory Committee, the Alumni Office and other constituencies.

If we choose to have Google Apps for Education provide faculty and staff email, all the issues you have raised - and many more -  will need to be addressed. We would involve the General Counsel, consult with the other institutions who have made this choice and discuss the options and implications with the faculty.

which Google products?

I haven't read through all of the comments yet but am wondering if IT Services has given thought to which Google services would be turned on?  Would it just be Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Video Search and Groups?  Or is the plan to also turn on additional services outside of that core suite, like YouTube, Blogger, or Google Plus?  An article I'm reading indicates that if you use products outside of that core suite, you'll be subject to Google's newish Privacy Policy which may expose us to Google's advertising efforts.  At least that's my understanding.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

"Google's Apps for Education and the New Privacy Policy", by Diane Schaffhauser. Campus Technology, Feb. 15, 2012.

http://bit.ly/zs3wCY

One thing I will look forward to is not having to use Outlook Web Access when I'm away from campus!  

Mark Shores (MU-Hamilton)

 

As indicated in the Campus

As indicated in the Campus Technology article you cite, the individual institution's contract with Google supersedes the general privacy agreement within the core services (Gmail, calendar, docs,etc). Miami's current contract that governs our student and alumni email says that students will see no ads and their data will not be tracked until they leave Miami. At that time, they are covered by the more general Google privacy policy.  The same will be true of faculty and staff, if we choose to go with Google Apps for Education. There will be no ads or data tracking in the core services, as long as the individuals are affiliated with Miami.

As we have yet to decide if Google will replace our current Exchange environment, there has been no more than speculative talk about which services might be included. As you point out, services falling outside the "core" services may be subject to tracking. The implications will need to be fully understood and communicated. Individuals will need to make informed choices when/if they use services outside of the core.

I would hope they include the

I would hope they include the wider suite, particularly Google+.

Calendar management

One of the biggest technological issues our office faces is managing multiple calendars through Outlook.  Will Google be able to sync multiple calendars (e.g., 7-10) seamlessly and without delay?   With outlook, we see constant delays in synching (from a few minutes to a few hours), duplicate appointments, and the list goes on.  Can Google do a better job?  My apologies if this has already been asked/answered.

Prefer Gmail

I have used Gmail for my email since 2004 and NEVER use the actual Miami interface for anything. I have everything set up to forward to my Gmail account, so I support switching faculty to Google apps. It also makes sense since our students already use it, too. I guess my only concern (which has been mentioned already) is how I will combine the two accounts. I don't keep a separate personal email account- it all goes to my Google account already. Hopefully there will be information about different options for doing this. 

google=good

It's almost 6pm on a Friday, and I have a few more hours of work to do before my day is done.  I considered heading home to do said work (much of which includes writing/responding to a pile of emails), but after thinking about how difficult it is to navigate/multitask using the Outlook Exchange email on the web, I opted to just stay in the office.  I've been frustrated in so many ways for several years with Outlook Exchange (including slowness, difficulty of searching/sorting, laborious process for adding attachments), and I'm excited about the idea to switch to Google.  Many have already voiced great reasons for switching; many concerns that have been voiced by others have been addressed by IT in ways that make me comfortable with this move. 

The one question I have...how will a shift to Gmail with my work account impact the Gmail account I already have for personal use?  I'd like the two to remain separate, and I'm not sure whether it'll be as simple as just logging in with my Miami credentials vs. my personal info.  It seems like Google seems to combine lots of aspects of its services, so I wasn't sure if their Education stuff would interface (and if so, at what level) with other Google features/products outside their education suite.

Your personal Gmail account

Your personal Gmail account will not change. You will continue to access that with the credentials you have set. You would access your @muohio.edu Google account via your Miami credentials. As I understand it, there are options for merging/joining/sharing those accounts - but they are all options.

Will fac/staff users have the

Will fac/staff users have the option of keeping this new google account/address when they leave the University?

That's a good question that

That's a good question that will need to be addressed if Google (or any other third-party system) is chosen. Currently when faculty or staff leave Miami, they do not keep their Exchange account except through emeritus status or other special arrangement. That policy could be reviewed.

search and sort options in e-mail archive

I have heard from a colleague at another institution that she felt that the Google environment made it much more difficult to sort and search within her e-mail archive. I suspect that a lot of users now treat their e-mail archive as a digital filing cabinet, even sending themselves e-mail to store archival information. At the very least a change in archive functions would be a painful transition even if it's somehow "just as good" (example: transition between formatting tools in MS-Word upgrades). Suggestion: a fairly long dual-program window, so people have a chance to figure out how to accomplish what they now know how to accomplish in Outlook.

I have used GMail for my

I have used GMail for my email for the past five years or so. I have over 10,000 emails in it. I can instantly find pretty much anything much quicker than with a standard email program. Google's specialty, after all, is search.

But I do think you point out a training issue staff need to consider, which is that organizing things in Gmail (the web interface) to best exploit its capabilities works differently than it does in other email systems. Folders, for example, have a different, more free flowing, logic to them, and the easiest way to typically find something is with the generic search field.

Questions

Saving $88K is great. It has been pointed out that the figure is being refined. Could you share how that savings figure is being calculate. If there is truely that amount to be saved then the risk benefit can be applied to determine if it is worth while.

I like Outlook and all it's features. I do not like change for change sake, but in the end if positve change outweighs the negatives then that is the path to take. Practicality of the conversion should be taken into consideration.

Has the Lean process been applied to this proposed change?

The savings figures are still

The savings figures are still being refined. Once we have those ready, we will post them.

You would still be able to use Outlook to access and manage your email, so you would not experience a change in your day-to-day use of email and calendar, once the switch was made.

The LEAN process was not applied. IT Services is working with Accenture consultants who are using their application rationalization and fit-gap analysis tools. This includes measuring the cost of the current system, costs of the proposed new system and the work that would need to be done to move from the current to the new.

The names and affiliations of

The names and affiliations of the individuals who participated in the requirements gathering, technical evaluation and fit-gap analysis process are posted in the text at the top of this blog. Some individuals are not identifed as they have not yet responded to a request for permission to post their names on this site.

I strongly support this move

I strongly support this move, for the following reasons:

  1. Google offers a wider range of functionality critical to fullfilling our evolving academic mission, including best-of-breed document collaboration, social networking, video chat, and so forth. Communication these days is not just about email, and critical initiatives like the Global Miami Plan, new writing and quantitative literacy competencies, distance eduation, and so forth can all benefit from this move.
  2. Google's functionality is better supported across a wider range of devices and software. so no longer do Mac or other non-Microsoft users have to suffer, and mobile support is quite good. I can, for example, view and comment on student papers shared with me on Google on my smartphone.
  3. The majority of schools driving Niihka's (Sakai's) future evolution are Google schools as well, and they are investing in integrating Google services with the next-generation version (called OAE). So imagine students, for example, being able to see their upcoming assigmments on their Google Calendars on their smartphones. Not only posslble with Google's open system, but likely.
  4. We are one community, and effective comunication and collaboration demands a single platform. In a university that prides itself on its attention to undergraduate education, it is unconsionable to continue to accept the notion that our undergraduate students have a different platform than everyone else.

If anyone has any questions about any of the above, I'm happy to clarify.

Clarification/Partial Retraction

A somewhat awkward partial retraction.

My above comments, I want to clarify, only apply to an all Google solution, and so I do NOT support the Phase 2 recommendation. Giving everyone options will not enhance collaboration, but undermine it.

I'll just cite Michigan's explanation for this, because I think it's exactly on point:

"The committee also considered the possibility of selecting both the Google and Microsoft cloud collaboration solutions and allowing individuals to select the tools that they preferred. The committee determined that this approach would not meet either of the goals identified by the IT Council. The selection of two cloud collaboration suites would create new barriers to personal productivity and group collaboration. We validated this conclusion by talking with the University of Washington, which selected both cloud solutions several years ago and have experienced increased fragmentation and limited use of both environments. The committee believes that choosing one also brings a competitive advantage. We expect better collaboration and productivity for projects involving both students and faculty. Some of our peer institutions are putting students and faculty on different systems and we believe we will have a competitive advantage to the extent we have both students and faculty on one system."

http://www.nextgen.umich.edu/collaboration/U-M_Collaboration_Suite_Recom...

Mac suffering?

Speaking as a mac user, there is no suffering. Exchange works flawlessly. I avoid Outlook entirely. Mac mail, Mac calendar - all great. The question has been asked, but not answered - who is on this committee that made this recommendation? Are there faculty and staff outside the IT community across a variety of platforms?

On your point that "Exchange

On your point that "Exchange works flawlessly", try this:

Create two calendars on Exchange. Let's say one of them is for events you want students to be aware of, and the other is your personal calendar.

Now, how well do those two calendars sync across your desktop and mobile devices?

I'd say it's hardly "flawless." The last I checked, iCal on the Mac only allows one calendar, and I see the same limitation in other contexts (my smartphone, for example). This is less a limitation of those platforms and software than it is of Exchange.

I can't answer your other question, since I don't know. While I'm not a fan of the conspiracy theory tone of it, I do agree that IT Services needs to do a better job of transparently documenting process. Indeed, I and some other faculty plan to be making that argument to the Provost, Deans, etc. in the coming weeks. But I will also be strongly supporting the substance of this recommendation.

"While I'm not a fan of the

"While I'm not a fan of the conspiracy theory tone of it..."

Frankly, as one of the individuals that brought up the matter of transperancy at the opening of this issue's forum, I find your comment offensive.  No one has used the "conspiracy" term here.  The complaint is that IT services (as does much of the university these days) operates without the transperancy necessary to develop any level of trust among the university community.  Changing the e-mail system (yet again) is a major undertaking that greatly affects the professional lives of all university community members (in both positive and negative ways).  Giving the community a mere two weeks or so to make public comment about such a drastic (and previously unannounced/advertised) change is unacceptable.  Having an anonymous committee recommend such change only increases this growing lack of trust.  Your implication that those bringing up such issues do so with the tone of conspiracy theorists is unwarranted; you should apologize for your comment.

 

To the administrator:

Thank you for adding many of the names or those involved in getting us to this point in the discussion.  I am, however, still disappointed that many individuals are identified only by title (e.g., faculty member (CAS)).  Whle I cannot speak for others, my wish to know the specifics behind the committee organization, in addition to desiring greater transperancy in the process, is also to evaluate and understand whether the voices of certain areas of the university are being missed.

"Your implication that those

"Your implication that those bringing up such issues do so with the tone of conspiracy theorists is unwarranted; you should apologize for your comment."

To me transparency should be less about individuals, than about a clear process, with clearly articulated goals, a list of requriements and tradeoffs, and how different options line up against those benchmarks. So something like this report is an excellent example of what I suspect both of us agree we'd ideally have:

http://nextgen.umich.edu/collaboration/U-M_Collaboration_Suite_Recommend...

What bothered me about your comments, and which I really think you should consider, is the implicit idea that people that made this decision were acting in bad faith. Reread your previous comments. If you honestly think your tone doesn't convey that impression, then I do apologize for reading into something you didn't intend.

  Perhaps we will have to

 

Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree, but personally I cannot fathom how decisions can be transparent when the decision process is known, but the decision makers (or recommenders in this case) remain unknown.

 

As for my tone in my previous post, I invite you to reread my original post.  I noted that IT services' choice of Exchange over Groupwise was shortsighted, but I do not see anywhere that I suggested that anyone made that decision with malicious intent.  I simply made the point that the previous e-mail system decision was flawed, and thus, this proposed change may also include similar errors in judgement/forethought/etc.

I simply made the point that

I simply made the point that the previous e-mail system decision was flawed, and thus, this proposed change may also include similar errors in judgement/forethought/etc.

OK, gotcha. Good point.

My point about tone actually wasn't aimed at you, BTW (I realize now in looking back again).

Bruce, as an open source

Bruce, as an open source advocate, how is Google controlling an important part of our data and infrastructure different from Blackboard? In a world where our online spaces are becoming as vital as our physical ones, how can we promote using third party vendors (who's intentions are different than ours) over developing our own platforms? Seems to me me this is the virtual equivalent to outsourcing our physical buildings. 

That's definitely a good

That's definitely a good question.

I'm generally an open source advocate. But I'm also practical, and put greater weight on open standards.

So in this case, there simply isn't a viable open source alternative (apart from on the email and maybe the calendaring), and Google is generally quite good on standards, and on supporting open source platforms (like Linux). The only other option on the table is Microsoft, which has less than a stellar record on these issues.

So not all proprietary vendors are the same. I didn't like Blackboard because I thought it was a very poor product with mediocre support, and because it's proprietary ownership meant neither of these were possible to work around. Google services, by contrast, are generally very good, and constantly improving. And it's easy to get one's data out of Google stuff in forms that can be used in other software and services.

But also, in part this is tied to the larger strategic directions of, for example, Sakai (Niihka). I'd prefer us to invest some of the costs we save in the next generation of Sakai, which is open source. I hope we can begin to talk more broadly about the tangible long-term benefits that we will get from this. What you see in Niihka now is really just the beginning, and I see its integration with Google Apps as generally positive and complementary (if not strictly ideal; but creating what Google has is really expensive).

In short, sometimes you have to pick your battles and focus on the goal. For me, that's how to enhance our technology offerings to better support our academic mission in a budget-constrained environment. This recommendation does that.

I am extremely concerned that

I am extremely concerned that IT has not responded to questions/comments about transfer of existing email into the new system.  Ususally, when an question/comment is ignored it is because the answer will not please anyone.

I well remember how email was lost after people moved it to the Exchange server. I also remember students moving to Gmail and having problems with messages not transferring well.

Because of the work we do - our email can be auditable for more than a decade.

Needless to say, I am extremely apprehensive about this move, it sounds like the decision is made, and I can't retire yet - the only solution to the madness.

The delay is because I am

The delay is because I am researching answers, so I can provide accurate information - not a desire to avoid the question. I will post a response as soon as I have specific information. I appreciate your patience.

An update -

Our expectation is that we will migrate all emails for faculty/staff using Google's server-to-server tool, notifying them of any messages that failed to transfer, and ensuring someone directly follows up with them and that we retain copies so that nothing is lost. The server-to-server tool was not available when we began the student's migration, so some of them did experience problems with the self-migration path we had provided.

We will need to look closely at calendar migration - there is some concern that items that had been on Meeting Maker then moved to Exchange and then to Google might not move gracefully. Once a go/no go decision is made, a team will fully examine the options.

Thank you for your reply.

Thank you for your reply. When you explore the options you mentioned you might want to work with select folk outside of IT - who have years worth of email and calendar features that have migrated from Eudora and MeetingMaker to the current systems.  Many outside of IT have "interesting" ways of handling situations (work arounds) that may challenge the tools you will be using.

Because of life being what it is - none of us have time or patience to willingly learn new systems - naturally the apprehension is high.

Absolutely - we will want to

Absolutely - we will want to reach out to individuals who use their calendar (and multiple calendars) in a variety of ways to ensure the easiest tranition possible - if the decision is to change.

Our current email system is

Our current email system is fine.  I think this is another example of "solving" a problem that does not exist.  We will all expend time and energy adjusting to a new system with no serious advantege over what we have now. 

The problem that exists is a

The problem that exists is a budget problem and not a problem with our current email system.  IT Services has been challenged to identify $3 million in on-going cuts to its operating budget. If we can save $88 thousand each year by changing to Google Apps for Education, that makes a significant step toward meeting our goal.

Have at it!

I'm a student worker in IT on the Hamilton Campus, and I hate dealing with the mess of trying to share departmental calendars between students and faculty/staff, and needing entity accounts for it all to work. Everyone needs to be on the same system. A faculty/staff switch over to the Google Apps system would be greatly appreciated from my standpoint.

  I understand this

 

I understand this frustration, but the flip-side of this coin is the ability to block student access to calendars.  Frankly, students have no business looking at my professional calendar (they receive availability times, office hours, times away, etc. via my Sakai classroom sites).  Does a move to Google mean that students will have access to my calendar...if so, this is completely unacceptable.

 

 

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