Though the system is ready for launch, Lane’s integration with Google Apps for Education has been pushed from October to the end of December.
“There was some concern about rolling it out mid-quarter,” said Chief Information Officer Bill Schuetz, “that students would be unable to login to Moodle, or would have mail sent to the wrong place.”
Since Summer Term 2015, the Information Technology Department has been preparing for a school-wide transition to Google Apps for Education, which the company’s site describes as “core suite of productivity tools that Google offers to schools and education institutions.”
“I think it’s probably good that they’re pushing it,” student Chris Barnard said. “I already have all that stuff on my regular Gmail.” Barnard also noted that student discounts for services such as Amazon Prime, activated by signup with a ‘.edu’ email address, were the biggest draw.
The technology, like most of its megalithic creator’s offerings, is free for Lane, but details in Lane’s Google Apps FAQ suggest the transition will require students to adapt the way they interact with their school.
Starting in the Winter Term 2016, all existing student PINs will be deactivated. Students will have to complete an ‘account claims’ process, involving the creation of a new password and security questions, as well as the option to set a text-based password retrieval.
This new password, combined with the student’s existing L number, will become their login information for Google Apps, myLane and Moodle.
When the process is complete, students will receive an assigned email address, built from their first and last name “and possibly a random number,” Lane’s website states.
The assigned email address will become a student’s primary method of receiving information such as grade reports, financial aid updates and LaneAlerts.
No information will be sent to students’ personal addresses unless they follow instructions from the Student Help Desk to “forward messages from your Lane email address to your primary email account.”
“Google Apps for Education services don’t collect or use student data for advertising purposes,” the company assures, but all of its text and content tracking software is still present within the system — for use by Lane administrators.
“Lane’s Google Apps for Education Administrator will have access,” Lane’s website explains, to all email and personal information within the account. The administrator also “may be able to” view account statistics, or restrict a user’s ability to delete or edit their own privacy settings.
Schuetz isn’t concerned. “None of the IT guys are going to be reading people’s emails,” Schuetz said. “There is one [main] guy,” he added, referring to Lane’s new email administrator Edward Radza, “and there are a couple guys who back him up in case he gets hit by a bus or something.”
Though Radza and his team control access to the Google Apps for Education administrative tools, Schuetz prefers that students with concerns direct their questions to the SHeD.
The FAQ continues on to state that, while a personal email cannot be merged with the student email, “a data moving tool is available” for the transfer of information from one’s own account to Lane’s.