SMC Gets Googled
Over the next three months, SMC will establish Google as its official e-mail provider for student, faculty, and staff communications.
Currently, the college uses iMail, which has extremely limited storage space compared to the 7.5 Gigabytes per student offered by Google.
Lee Johnston, Director of Management Information Systems, says that with this change, "students get a lot more than just e-mail…it's a complete set of tools to facilitate communication, collaboration and search for information."
Google has been heavily promoting the Google Apps Education Edition to colleges and universities. Hundreds of universities like Northwestern, Yale, and the University of Arizona have already transitioned from their in-house servers to Google's web-based software.
Some benefits of the web-based software include having increased security and support since data is protected and maintained on two ends, in this case Google and SMC.
"SMC plans to leverage both internal and external help resources," Johnston said. "A lot of time and critical resources are dedicated to blocking spam. The move to Google Apps will free these resources and allow SMC to concentrate on core academic projects that improve student technology access."
Another benefit is that Google becomes sort of a one-stop shop for team projects. Research, writing, editing and e-mail can all be accomplished in one place, even if project team members are in different places.
"The really great part is that students can collaborate and edit a single document at the same time…in real time," Johnston said.
Students will have "read-only access" to their old e-mail accounts through October 24, 2010. After that date, iMail goes to the trash bin.
One thing that will remain the same is students' SMC email address. "When you change cell phone providers, you may receive a really cool new cell phone, but your cell phone number remains the same," Johnston said. "Think of this as a change in providers."