Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Abilene Christian University speaks about Google Apps

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Abilene Christian University is located in Abilene, Texas,

which is about 180 miles west of Dallas Ft.

Worth, and we are a liberal arts four-year undergraduate

institution.

Our entire campus, faculty, staff, and students, use

Google Apps.

And we've been using the entire suite of products.

I guess we went live, fully, in October of 2007.

We opened it up for people to start

converting over in April.

Email had become a bit of a commodity.

There was an expectation on the part of our users that it

was available 24/7/365, no down time at all, and in our

shop, that was an unrealistic expectation.

We couldn't meet that.

Our email administrator left the university, and so we were

wrestling with, what in the world do we do?

We're a fairly small shop, and so that was a big loss for us.

And as we were wrestling with, how do we digest that loss

from our email administrator, the Google announcement was

fresh in our minds, and we thought, boy, let's--

what does this do?

Really, the decision was pretty easy.

It was one that we looked at.

The cost is certainly easy to get your arms around.

And so once we made that decision to move, it really

went pretty quickly from there.

80% of our students converted the very

first day, which was--

we were blown away.

We had no idea that it would be that high

of an adoption rate.

We were thrilled by that.

Immediately, what they received were some of the

benefits that Google Mail brings to the table.

The ability to be threaded email discussions, and if

you're not a Gmail user, I would encourage

you to go out there.

Once you get used to that, you'll never go back, the

ability to embed chat and to collaborate with each other.

A lot of professors are starting to use Google

Documents, for example, on collaborative projects in

their class.

And so the students are working on a paper within

their group.

The professor can go in periodically and look at that

paper before they ever even turn it in and make

suggestions on hey, you might want to think about this.

Our registrar's office, for example, has created an

academic calendar for the entire university that you can

subscribe to, that shows application for graduation is

this date, and registration for juniors starts at this

time on this date, and all of those events.

And it's a click away from anybody on campus being able

to see that.

Incoming freshman, starting in the fall, are going to receive

an iPhone or an iPod Touch.

A huge part of us being able to make that happen was

dependent upon Google Apps.

While a number of schools and a number of, certainly,

corporations around the country were stuck with the

Microsoft Exchange integration component with the iPhone,

that wasn't an issue for us at all.

We immediately went past that.

The Google Apps were native to the iPhone almost immediately,

and so we jumped past all of that that.

The email administrator that I told you about that left, we

were able to re-purpose that position over to

a developer's position.

So we have now another developer on our staff.

As opposed to someone babysitting and maintaining an

email system, we have someone that is developing

applications that are used by our students and our

faculty every day.

They're working on iPhone things.

They're working on ways to optimize some of the things

that were working in Google.

They're working on things that add value to the educational

experience for our students.

And that's really the power in that.

The ability to be able to focus our resources on helping

our students be better educated and better learners--

wow, what a huge win.

Every now and then in your career you get one of those

no-brain decisions, and this was one of them for us.

It's been a win all the way around.

We've gotten better functionality, better

security, and able to refocus resources on the things that

really matter, and not babysit an email system.

At the end of the day, students aren't better

educated because you have a good email system.

And so we are thrilled to be able to leverage that power.

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