Sunday, August 3, 2008

Google, Microsoft woo higher ed with free online services

What a great idea to trim the excess costs of a higher education! With outsourcing of mail servers and a mixed delivery of the learning process (face-to-face and online), today's students would not only learn how the real world works, so would their University leaders!

Computer World says:

Google's education outreach began with Arizona State University, which outsourced its entire e-mail operation for 65,000 students to Google's Gmail, giving users a range of services unavailable on the school's existing e-mail system, such as 6GB of storage, built-in chat and search, without spam headaches or downtime. It saved ASU about $400,000 per year in IT infrastructure costs, said Adrian Sannier, ASU's university technology officer.

"Your [IT] people are saying, 'we can do it,'" Sannier told the opening day audience this week at the Campus Technology 2008 conference. "And they can. They can build pyramids, too." His voice rose dramatically. "But there's no money in it!"

The idea, he told his audience, is "to get someone else to do it. Someone really big."

Google and Microsoft offer a somewhat customized version of a Web portal with services. Both can create an extension to their respective e-mail domains with a school's name -- for example, -- though for some customers there's no visible change. When students graduate, the school notifies Google or Microsoft, which then ends the student account, while offering the student the option of continuing with either a free or paid "post-graduate" online service.

I've already got all but one of my .edu email accounts incorporated into Gmail, my Ooutlook calendar syncs with Google Calendar, and My edublog links to my .edu profiles.

What's am I missing?

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