Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The University of Google

Exciting session now, our own Andy Tattersall talking about our move to the cloud (Google) and how he's been using it to aid collaboration in an academic department and the shift from enterprise software to Google Apps.
Popular session, almost standing room only.

Why did we go to Google? Interesting to hear this from one of our users. Luckily, Andy's reasons are exactly the same as I would have given :-)
Because they do it better. Our students and staff demand more than we can give them. Data storage, better ease of access, better communication tools, more resilient systems, social platforms, better interfaces. Students were already using google apps.
Staff were using tools like Dropbox. We had small amounts of storage, and a perceived lack of social collaborative tools. Also propriety tools are expensive.
Moved in two phases, students first. More adaptable than staff.
Then staff, no opt out, all moved across.

Andy's journey began before the University's in 2007 by doing 3D sketch up of the library, and started a ScHARR library blog. Then YouTube Channel. In 2010 moved the enquiry desk form to Google Forms. By 2011 when everyone moved he had a lot of experience.

Encouraged department to start to build web sites, more staff can use google sites and blogs for creating small bits of content. A lot of integrated functionality in google apps, - can easily embed docs, calendars, videos etc. into sites.
University still at stage of early adopters, but in front of many. On Gartner hype cycle, we have people on all parts of it, some have reached plateau, some hurtling to trough of disillusionment. Need champions, (nice picture of Graham McElearney there).

Awareness raising sessions in SCHARR include 2 hour hands on workshops, 20 minute bite size sessions, screencasts, webinars and hangouts. Also university wide events such a Making the Most of Google Day.

Need to change old habits, such as moving away from client to Google interface, using Google hangouts for meetings, presenting sessions. Sharing ideas is happening, lots of collaboration going on.
Doing things differently. Will get different results, will make mistakes, but will get better. And as Google moves forward, so will the University.

Interesting in the Q and A, Andy got asked a lot more questions about the use of the apps, different sorts of apps, what happened if apps get withdrawn etc. When I talk about our move, I tend to get asked about the technology aspects, and that old chestnut, security and privacy. A different audience I suppose, and also a very different presentation.

Excellent talk, and it generated a lot of interest.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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