University of Malta
 

Email, Calendaring & Collaboration Tools Project
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The project, initiated in 2012, involves the implementation of enhanced email, calendaring, and collaboration tools for students, staff and alumni.

In 2013, G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education) was selected. G Suite provides web-based messaging and collaboration applications that include Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more.

The project involved the migration of emails from the previous system to Gmail for both students and staff, and the introduction of calendaring and collaboration tools that integrate with Gmail. Students were migrated to Gmail during summer 2013 and have been granted access to G Suite since the beginning of academic year 2013/4. Staff were migrated to Gmail during academic year 2013/4.


Overview of G Suite

G Suite includes the following services:

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Gmail
Email facility integrated with text, voice & video chat
Google Calendar
Share calendars, schedule events, and send invitations
Google Drive
Real-time editing of documents, store and share files, and access files from anywhere

Key benefits of G Suite:

  1. Online storage and collaboration - Staff and students have unlimited online storage for their emails and documents, so they can archive all of their email and documents online. Staff and students are able to store different types of files (including Microsoft Office documents) in Google Drive and share them with others. They are also able to create online documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that can be viewed and edited by multiple users at the same time. For example, students are able to work together as a group on the same online documents, facilitating collaboration for group assignments. Staff are also able to create and share project documents with other members who are abroad. Note that study-unit related material should continue to be uploaded on the VLE.
  2. Enhanced email organisation and retrieval - With Gmail, less time is wasted managing folders and looking for emails. For example, users are able to add one or more tags, or "labels," to their email to organise and store them more efficiently. Gmail has an enhanced search feature, which allows one to find any message quickly and easily.
  3. Calendar sharing - Google Calendar enables staff and students to share events and calendars with each other. Students are able to set up appointments with lecturers more easily through Google Calendar. Users are also able to keep track of their University-related events and invite others to events.
  4. Integrated chat - With the Google instant messaging application integrated with Gmail, staff and students are able to easily communicate with each other (through instant messaging, voice or video chat) from various locations. For instance, a staff member is able to discuss a dissertation with a student through video chat, rather than face-to-face.
  5. Ease of access - Staff and students are able to access G Suite from their mobile phones (iPhone, Android, etc.) or any browser from anywhere in the world.


Project Objectives

  • Innovative solutions - IT Services can leverage the ongoing creative and technical solutions of the G Suite platform to provide staff and students with powerful, easy-to-use collaboration tools. These services are constantly being updated, so the University will always be equipped with the latest tools that provide a better service to staff and students.
  • More collaboration features - Staff and students are now able to use an institutionally supported calendar and other collaboration tools such as instant messaging, video chat, and document storage and sharing. These tools are now available through a single platform that is integrated with email.
  • Cost effectiveness - The project enables IT Services to focus resources where it can add most value and offer more services to students and staff.
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Last Updated: 4 August 2017

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