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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Gmail may replace Webmail

    The University Information Technology Services is currently searching for a provider to replace the current WebMail email system, and the solution may be Google Apps for Education.

    “”Basically Google Apps for Education is a communication and collaboration platform that gives students 7.3 gigabytes of hard drive space. You have Gmail, Calendar, Google Talk, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and sites as part of the package,”” said Jaime Casap of Business Development for Google.

    According to Casap, a feature that draws many students to using Google Apps for Education is the ability to collaborate on documents at the same time. If two students are working on an essay together, they can both make corrections at the same time, on the same document, all while seeing the changes the other person is making.

    “”This is a user-oriented thing, the WebMail that we use here is your average, typical e-mail interface, which means almost no student particularly likes it. Staff and faculty don’t particularly like it. It was a wonderful piece of software about ten years ago,”” UITS Associate Director Tom Rees said.

    Casap said that it does not make sense for universities to provide an e-mail service when something like Google Apps can provide it to universities for free. He also said that the Google supported e-mail could be branded to the university.

    According to UITS Communications Officer T.J. McGreevy, Northern Arizona University has already signed their contract with Google Apps for Education and will switch from their e-mail service over the summer. Arizona State University has been using Google Apps for education for two years already.

    If the UA signs a contract with Google, the switch will be made over the summer.

    “”Currently in Arizona, ASU is a good example of how we launched Google Apps for Education, they have been our client for two years and have had no problems with it, whatsoever.”” Casap said.

    Casap will come to the UA on Thursday, April 9, to present some of the benefits Google Apps for Education can offer the UA in the Integrated Learning Center, room 130. He will also hold an open house on Friday, April 10 in the Computer Center, room 303.

    According to Rees, Google Apps for Education is the top pick for an outside service.

    Rees said that using Gmail within Google Apps for Education is going to be more efficient, not only for students, but for the university as well. He said that there is currently one full-time employee who works to keep WebMail running smoothly and with Google’s service, it would be reduced to a half-time employee.

    “”There have been problems, or potentially there have been problems with using our e-mail system as the official e-mail system. Considering that students are responsible for the e-mail that they receive, it becomes their official means of communication. It is very important for us not to have a system that has any kinds of flaws,”” Rees said.

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