Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) has become the latest education body in Ireland to move all of its email and calendaring for its 22,000 students to Google Apps for Education.
It is understood the move to Google Apps has enhanced collaboration and mobility for students, allowing them to engage with each other anytime, anywhere, from any computer or mobile device.
The service was implemented for new and returning students at the start of the 2011 academic year.
The migration began in September and Baker Security & Networks, a Google Enterprise partner, provided assistance in reviewing DIT’s approach and advising on various aspects of the project.
DIT Information Services department managed the project and evaluated the different products available for students. Interestingly, DIT students joined faculty representatives in the selection process.
“There were many reasons for choosing Google Apps but for the students the ability to hold onto their current email addresses and passwords was of key concern,” explained Dearbhla O’Reilly, IT chief technology officer.
“We also wanted to provide our students with the ability to access their documents while outside of college or on the move.”
One of the added benefits of the implementation of Google Apps is that any future cloud services introduced by DIT can quickly and easily be made accessible to the student body.
Ciarán Nevin, president, DIT Students Union, noted: “Google Apps will give students the freedom to use their smartphones to access their email and will enhance their day-to-day interaction with the college.
“They will also be able to collaborate together on projects and work on the same document at the same time from anywhere.”
It is expected that Google Docs will become a key component of the service as it supplements other collaboration and e-learning tools available to students. This is part of a programme of work to improve student experience and increase mobile delivered services.
Some of Ireland’s top educational institutions have moved to Google Apps. In 2007, Trinity College Dublin transitioned to Google Apps and more recently UCD signed up to Google Apps. In September, DCU also announced a deal to provide Chromebooks for education to students on a small number of selected programmes.