CTO Updates November 2014


I am pleased to share with the WMU community the following technology related news and updates. If you have any questions, or comments, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at tom.wolf@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3838. Go WMU! Go Broncos!

Google Apps for Education: On Nov. 17 the Information Technology Executive Advisory Board approved a request by the Office of Information Technology to implement Google Apps for Education, an Internet-based system that provides collaboration tools including document editing, unlimited file storage, Web sites, calendars, video conferencing, chat functionality, and much more. Google Apps is currently in use at thousands of higher education and K-12 institutions worldwide to support collaboration for teaching and learning. Both Kalamazoo and Portage public school systems use Google Apps as do 12 of the 15 state universities in Michigan. The Western Michigan University Cooley Law School has been using Google Apps for Education since 2010.

A pilot implementation of Google Apps was successfully conducted this fall, involving five faculty and over 300 students. The pilot team helped develop and test the technical requirements to support Google Apps, including issues related to Gmail (Google's email system), which WMU will not be deploying. The pilot group also developed best practices for teaching and learning. Before logging in to Google Apps for Education at WMU, all students, faculty and staff should first review the acceptable use policy. Unlike Google's public instance, WMU's Google Apps for Education environment will be advertisement free and Google will not mine University documents or other data for the purpose of sending targeted advertisements. Read more about Google Apps security standards and privacy policies.

On Jan. 6 the following six applications will go live at WMU: Calendar, Drive, Google+, Hangouts, Photos and Sites. See WMU's Google Apps website for more information about these applications. Initially WMU will only activate and support these six, out of the over 60 apps in Google Apps. Over time additional applications will be activated so check the website regularly to find out when more have been added. The primary focus of Google Apps for Education at WMU will be enhancing the teaching and learning experience for both faculty and students through the collaboration capabilities provided by Google Apps.

In addition to our wmich.edu/google website, formal training for faculty is planned. The Office of Faculty Development will be conducting several Cool Tools workshops in January and over spring break. Google Apps for Education at WMU will also be a focus at the Feb. 25 Teaching with Technology symposium. Google has an extensive online learning center which is linked from our website. And, the Help Desk is available to assist with issues such as logging in, mobile device configuration and data migration from personal Google accounts to the WMU Google accounts. They may be reached at (269) 387-4357, option 1, or helpdesk@wmich.edu. Walk-ins at their second floor University Computing Center location are also accepted.

Google Apps for Education at WMU has been endorsed by the following committees and groups: Academic Information and Technology Council, Elearning Change Control Committee, Office of Information Technology Leadership Team, Information Technology Executive Advisory Board, and the Electronic Collaboration Analysis Project Team. I hope all of you are as excited as I am to be bringing these outstanding collaboration tools to our campus. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at tom.wolf@wmich.edu. Maybe we can "Hangout" together!