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Communication and Collaboration

The broad charge to this Task Force is to identify campus needs for communication and collaboration services and to identify tools and practices to support those needs (click on the Task Force Charge link in the left column for the full description). This is a project blog - the task force will post formal and informal updates here and looks forward to your comments on these posts. Feel free to scroll down for history, search for your topic of interest, or just comment to say what you would like to see discussed.

  •  Look for Google Transition News on New Site

    Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

     There's a new blog in town: Going Google at Santa Clara University

    "This site will always contain the most current information about the progress of the GAE project, and about the availability of resources to help you transition to GAE as easily as possible."

  •  Google Apps for Education Coming to SCU Campus

    Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012

    Faculty and staff received an email announcing that the President and Provost approved the recommendation to switch to Google Apps for Education. The transition will take place after two rounds of beta testing with the intention to go live either in the late Fall or early Winter quarter.

    The Provost notes in the annoucement:

    "This new suite of tools is a critical first step in enhancing the way students, faculty and staff communicate and collaborate with one another as well as with those outside the Santa Clara community.  I understand that the transition to Google will require all users to learn a new system in place of GroupWise. I greatly appreciate your full cooperation adapting to the change."

    I expect more news and planning material will be provided and I will provide updates here as they are available. For those interested in the process, please see earlier posts in this blog about the town hall meetings, surveys and their results, and task force membership. Thank you for you contributions throughout the process.

  •  Video That Shows the Downside of Email for Decision Making

    Monday, Jun. 18, 2012

    Hi folks,

    Apparently I can't embed the video directly, but here's the link (about 2min - worth it and great for sharing for people who wonder why emai isn't the best tool for collaboration):


  •  Thinking About More Powerful Communication

    Sunday, May. 20, 2012

     We all make communication choices every day. We send emails, we make phone calls, we may use on-line chat or text messaging. But do we make the best choices when it comes to which content and goals we apply to which tool?

    With more powerful communication systems like the ones the communication & collaboration task force had the pleasure of considering come greater flexibility in how we communicate. The "right" choice for how we choose to use this flexibility is likely based on your job, your organization's norms, and the needs of the particular task.

    A while back I wrote a post about making choices across social media. Friends in the collaboration field have also recently written about communication choices. I'll link to these here, but hope you will add other posts or thoughts in the comments below. 

  •  Exciting News: Recommendation is in

    Sunday, Apr. 15, 2012

    We have forwarded our recommendation to the Provost and will be on the agenda for the President's staff meeting next week.


  •  Congratulations, Caitlin!

    Friday, Apr. 6, 2012

    Caitlin participated in the Microsoft/Google survey and won the new iPad. Thanks to Caitlin and all the other survey respondents.

    (Photo credit: Ron Danielson)

  •  We Hope to Have Recommendation to Provost Next Week

    Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012

    This week we reviewed our experiences with the Microsoft Sharepoint and Google Apps "sandboxes." These were SCU specific sites that let us try the features from both vendors.

    We are also progressing with the request from the Provost around cost/benefits/risks analysis across both vendors. The IT and Information Services people have had to shoulder most of this burden as we look at actual dollar costs, training hours, implementation strategies, and the like.

    Thank you to all who have given us comments throughout this process. This is much more than a technology tool decision. It is a decision about our work environment and practices.

    Many of you are already involved in work that takes place in the cloud rather than on a desktop. I hope you see yourself as part of the transition team and will help us provide demonstrations as we discover new ways of collaborating.


  •  Pricing Announcement from Microsoft

    Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

     Office 365 for Education (available Summer 2012) will free as the price point for basic faculty, student, & staff accounts. Click for details here.

  •  Communication/Collaboration and the Future of Email

    Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

    How do the Google/Microsoft tools match up around email lists/search etc?

    This is a quesiton we've heard at the town hall meetings and in the open ended parts of the survey. My response is generally that they both have strong options, different from Group Wise though, and that Microsoft may have more power in managing lists etc. (Recall from the town hall the description of Microsoft as powerful/complex, Google as less powerful/intuitive.)

    My friend Maria Ogneva works for the social media company Yammer and has a new blog post that touches on some of the issues around these questions:

    "Social Media vs. Email — Are We Asking The Right Questions?"

    • Is your message task oriented?
    • Who is the audience? 
    • Do you know the audience specifically? 
    • Do you want people to find it and iterate on it later? 
    • Is it public or private? 

    These questions -- and Maria builds them out very thoughtfully -- sometimes suggest that alternatives to email (discussions on a project page or a blog like this one) may be a better way to communicate in some situations.

    So, rather than asking about the email feature sets, be thinking about the tasks we have and if other forms of communication and collaboration might be more effective. According to Maria, Capgemini reports a 40% reduction in email when they added other collaboration options.

    Having new tools is a step, but what will it take for us to change some of our work habits? For those of you who are already using some social media alternative -- what have you found to be a productive change? Are you using less email?

  •  Where we are - and winner of the iPad!

    Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

    Ron Danielson and I presented to the Planning Action Council on Tuesday. Wednesday the we had a Task Force meeting where we'd hoped to come to a decision between Google and Microsoft. We decided to postpone action given the hope for more information about how Office365 will work for collaboration -- we are building a "sandbox" and hope to get hands-on with it soon.

    In the interim, IT will be working on the cost comparisons and a evaluation table of costs/benefits/risks. Our training and implementation experts will work on similar comparisons related to change management. 

    Time pressure is significant in the tenor of our discussions given when school starts for the various programs on campus. 

    Stay tuned -- and congratulations to  Caitlin who answered the March survey and won an iPad!