With email tools and online collaboration services continuously improving in quality at a high rate of speed, Colorado State University has partnered with Google to significantly enhance these services for students. For students who have yet to migrate to the new Google system, the deadline to change their university email is March 18.
Students should create their new account and migrate email that exists on "simla" at the website mail.rams.colostate.edu as soon as possible.
"We are strongly encouraging students to create their new Google Apps accounts before the 2009 spring break as Academic Computing and Network Services will migrate any email accounts that exist on simla to the new Google Apps domain during that week," said Rusty Scott, associate director of Academic Computing & Networking Services at Colorado State.
Upon subscribing, users will be given two email addresses in association with their Google Apps account: email@example.com and First.Last@rams.colostate.edu. Email addresses for "simla" users (firstname.lastname@example.org and First.Last@colostate.edu) will continue to deliver mail through March 18. Messages sent to these addresses between March 19 and July 1 will return a message to the sender explaining the transition to Google Apps and will suggest that they try using the form of First.Last@rams.colostate.edu. After July 1, messages to these addresses will be dropped as the addresses will be invalid.
More information about the transition, including forwarding to addresses other than the new "rams" domain, Facebook and MySpace accounts and access to the legacy webmail application, is also available at mail.rams.colostate.edu.
All websites currently on the "simla" server will remain available through May 2009. Google Apps will allow students to use the template-based features, but those requiring more flexibility in Web page creation should investigate local resources offered by their college. For faculty, staff and graduate students who opt into the Google Apps program, accounts on "lamar" or the central Exchange system will remain unaffected.
Google Apps for CSU provides communication tools such as email and chat as well as the ability to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and calendars with others. The implementation of this program follows the current trend in higher education institutions to outsource email and collaboration services, providing the opportunity to free up resources for other important and pressing technology initiatives.
"With the implementation of the Google Apps for Education, students can access these new services through a Web browser, enabling them to collaborate in new ways and store and organize large amounts of information," Scott said.
The Google Apps suite includes a robust user interface (Gmail); large quotas of seven gigabytes; personal, shared and public calendars; integrated chat; shared files; and a template-based website creation. With the inclusion of these features, the two primary goals of the program include moving services supplied by the undergraduate server "simla" – also known as "holly" – to Google servers and providing the campus community the ability to collaborate electronically with a number of integrated applications. Faculty also may subscribe to Google Apps for CSU, allowing them to effectively collaborate with students.
The choice of Google Apps was a decision made by students on the University Technology Fee Advisory Board (UTFAB). They studied outsourced communications suites by Microsoft and Google during fall semester 2007 and chose Google as the best fit for the university. A pilot program was used during spring semester 2008, and the UTFAB voted to make Google Apps available at the beginning of fall semester 2008.
Through the Google Apps for Education program, the university will be able to provide email to students after they graduate and will allow existing alumni to join the program. The Alumni Association will offer Google Apps accounts to alumni in the colostate.edu domain staring in May 2009. Updates on this program are available at the website www.csualum.com/alumni_email.
While Google Apps will be ad-free for all people currently associated with the university, alumni accounts will include Google contextually targeted ads.
For more information, visit mail.rams.colostate.edu.