NC State Student Email Initiative
When NC State students returned to campus in the fall of 2010, they had a new university student email service and an array of collaborative tools, all bundled in Google Apps @ NC State. On July 16, 2010, OIT completed its Google Apps student migration, moving approximately 26,000 students email accounts from Unity/Webmail to Google Apps. Since the Google Apps beta service launched in early April, 2010, more than 8,000 students had already signed up for an account and had their email migrated. Additional Google Apps accounts are being created as students become eligible.
As part of the new Google Apps services, students received more than 7GB of storage space for their NC State email accounts (since then increased to more than 25GB), all from their university @ncsu.edu email address. In addition to Gmail, students received Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Talk. Many of these tools are also accessible via various mobile devices.
The university chose to outsource student email services to improve technology services for students and reduce costs. For more information about NC State’s implementation of Google Apps Education Edition, visit the Google Apps @ NC State website.
See also the NexGen Email Project site, which looks at the suitability of Google Apps Education Edition for faculty and staff.
NC State Student Email Initiative Project
The purpose of the Student Email Initiative is to meet NC State students' requirements for enhanced email and online collaboration services while also meeting university requirements for secure, reliable email addresses for official communications with students and cost-effective technology solutions.
NC State's Vice Chancellor for Information Technology, Dr. Marc Hoit launched the Student Email Initiative in October 2008. While the current email service provided to students is highly reliable and well-supported, without modifications, it no longer meets their needs or expectations. As a first step, Dr. Hoit named a Student Email Task Force with representatives from various stakeholder groups "to review and evaluate student email services offered by the Office of Information Technology and determine the best path forward to support current and future student needs." The role of this task force is spelled out in Dr. Hoit's initial Student Email Task Force memo and is further described in the OIT 2008 Strategic Operations Plan. After extensive research, product testing and campus forums, the task force completed its Evaluation of Student Email Services report in March, 2009. Following consultation with campus leadership and others, Dr. Hoit approved the recommendation to migrate student email services to Google Apps Education Edition. The transition planning and contract negotiations with Google began in late spring.
Goals & Objectives
- Provide reliable email addresses designated for official university email communication with students. The university needs to ensure that campus departments, faculty and staff can send and receive email to and from students with a high level of confidence that the information has been successfully delivered while easily identifying the student as being associated with the university.
- Increase the capacity of the email environment provided to students. Find a way to meet the growing demand for additional email storage space.
- Enhance the suite of collaboration tools available to support academic success. In addition to email being used for conducting business with students, many options are available by service providers that provide an ever-expanding set of collaborative tools for use by students, faculty and staff for academics.
- Find economic efficiencies. This is not only a good business practice for the university, but a necessity in light of the current budget crisis.
The Student Email Initiative has three phases:
- Investigation and evaluation: This phase is now complete. For details about this process, see the Student Email Task Force information.
- Implementation and transition planning: This phase is now in progress.
- Service roll-out: The transition pilot is expected to begin in fall 2009 with the full roll-out to all students being completed in spring 2010.
For more detailed information about the scope of this project and major constraints and assumptions, see the OIT Strategic Operations Plan.
Authority for Project
Project Manager, Stan North Martin
This project is authorized by Vice Chancellor Marc Hoit. The project manager has the authority and responsibility to designate the appropriate teams and committees to conduct each phase of the project. For more information, see Student Email Initiative Project Structure.