Google Apps for Education adoption at the Open University

The Open University has for some time now been providing Google Apps for Education on a personal opt-in basis by current students. The initial decision to adopt Google Apps for Education as a Cloud Computing solution and optional replacement for student email took place on the 19th January 2010.

Since then, a substantial amount of work has been taking place to move beyond basic email provisioning following a student pilot from 19th August 2010. The Open University's aim is to better integrate Google Apps with our learning systems for use in the curriculum. Ultimately the aim is to provide for embedded rather than enhancement use of the toolset alongside other online activities.

We are using the standard Google Apps for Education toolset, with the following exceptions/differences:

  • Google Groups, Google Video is not applied
  • Access is provided via single-sign-on from OU (student) portals
  • Sharing and public access is restricted to our my.open.ac.uk domain only
  • Staff will have the same access to most Google Apps tools, but not Gmail. We are now adopting Office 365 in parallel.

Transitioning to a broader range of (Google Apps +) tools will follow, subject to review, particularly for TU100 'My Digital Life'.
As of the start of June 2016, our my.open.ac.uk domain has around 75K users, with around 7K active on a weekly basis and upwards of 300 staff as part of increasing curriculum activity.
Mainstream adoption for curriculum use is currently set to enhancement usage only (not fully embedded).

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Rhodri Thomas,
3 Aug 2011, 06:50
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Rhodri Thomas,
3 Aug 2011, 06:51
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