[ICPL 2008] Outsourcing E-Mail: Technology and Policy

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Our panel on email went very well. I didn’t take complete notes, as I was on the panel, but here’s what I got:

The panel started with John Calkins, Assistant General Counsel from Northwestern, where they’ve implemented Google for students. A good quote: “Free is just one point on a spectrum between they pay us to we pay them.”

For FERPA they’re thinking that student email residing in a student account is not a record maintained by the University, and therefore would not be covered by FERPA. They also got Google to agree that any record that would be subject to FERPA at the university would be treated as such by Google. They hear that Google is not necessarily willing to agree to that now.

By and large their view is that the arrangement is between Google and the individual student (or alum), not between the university and the student.

90% of their recent graduating class elected to keep their google account with advertising as alumni.

Asbed Bedrossian from USC, which has also implemented Google for students, talked next. Another good quote: “We in the IT department are the transmission fluid in making things run smoothly.”

They use Shibboleth for allowing people to sign in to Google applications on the web with their USC NetID and password. They give people a different password for use if they want to use a non-web IMAP client to access email. (I need to ask Asbed about what they use for Google Talk access with non-web clients).

66% of people who create accounts forward their USC email address to Google. His theory on the rest is that they just want to use the other collaboration apps.

They haven’t had a lot of support issues, but people did start calling their help desk during the recent Google outage.

They use ga.usc.edu for their third level domain name.

They’re not migrating mail from existing USC accounts to Google – that turned out to not be a big deal to students at all and they’ve only had a couple of requests for it.

Another good quote: “Doing things is easy – thinking is hard.”

My slides from my part of the panel are here.

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