Butler University students will soon be more acquainted with Google programs when BUmail is linked with Google Apps later this spring.
According to the Butler Information Technology website, Google Docs will be the first app fully supported through BUmail, but “most other apps (e.g. Sites, Blogger, YouTube, Google+, etc.) will be available for use at your discretion.” Gmail and Google calendars will not be available for use.
The driving force behind the Google Apps and BUmail merge is to increase information sharing among students.
“One of the big things about Google Apps is that it creates better collaboration,” junior Sandy Meers, a management information systems major who works in the IT office, said. “So with stuff like Google Docs, you are allowed to share documents and work with everyone in real time and get everything accomplished much easier and quicker.”
Although the new Google Apps will be used by professors and students, they will not be a replacement to Blackboard.
“Google Apps are a great set of tools, but they’re not a learning management system like blackboard,” Tyler Johnston, systems support project coordinator, said. “There will always be a learning management system, at least in the near future.”
Although the apps will not be replacing Blackboard, Johnston is excited for the potential he says the apps hold.
“I think the most exciting part of all this will be what students think up to use this for. It’s a different way to work,” Johnston said. “It’s like asking me what you can use Microsoft Word for. Well, I don’t know. It’s really however you apply it to your situation.”
Johnston said an exact date has not been projected for the availability of the BUmail and Google Docs partnership, but it should be availableto students shortly after spring break.
The push for the new Google Apps originated in the Technology Master Plan of 2010–14. One of the plan’s main objectives is that “Butler continually evolves to meet the demands of our students, faculty, staff and other constituents,” according to the Butler IT website.