September 2, 2009

Gateway googles taxpayer savings

Gateway Technical College came up with a nifty way to save money and, go figure, it involves technology.

The college announced this week it would use Google for its student email system. The email is part of a larger "Google Apps" program that's being implemented this fall. As Gateway explains it:
The change means all information and correspondence such as financial aid notifications, admissions status notifications, student activities announcements and correspondence from instructors will be delivered to Gateway students via e-mail. The Google services are available online from anywhere that a student has Internet access.
Google Apps Education Edition is a free package of Web-based program designed for schools and universities. The Google Apps service provides online document storage, calendar tools, email and messaging, which are all available from any computer connected to the Internet. At least 2,000 schools worldwide have switched to the system.

Gateway student shouldn't notice the switch to the new system, according to the college. Student will use their existing user names and passwords with no interruption in e-mail delivery.

Jeff Robshaw, Gateway Technical College chief information officer and vice president-Learning Innovation Division, said using Google Apps saves money and improves the school's

"To create this capability internally would be extremely cost prohibitive for a taxpayer-supported entity like Gateway," Robshaw said.

A nice benefit for Gateway's IT staff is Google (as opposed to the college itself) hosts all of the computer used to transmit student emails, calendars and messages.

As for Google, they're giving away the applications as part of a "hook 'em while they're young strategy." If they can get students using Google apps, it's likely they'll continue on into adulthood. The company offers free programs for students and teachers from kindergarten through high school and into college.

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