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Google Apps for Education

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    Sarah Morgano

    Hi everyone,

    After learning that Digication recently partnered with Google Apps ( I was happy to hear that Digication ePortfolio student accounts would be free for Google App for Education subscribers.

    I don’t know a lot about Google Apps for Education and wanted to know if anyone has additional info or insight about this free service (

    It looks like there is a “Google Apps for Education Overview” webinar on March 8th at 9am. Here is the link to register if anyone is interested:




    At Macaulay, we’re one of the few (I know of only one other), CUNY campuses who are Google Apps for Education customers. We expect to have all our students move over within two years (the alumni, all freshmen and most of the sophomores are already there, and large numbers of juniors and seniors have requested accounts).

    As anyone who uses gmail knows, it’s a great service for email. We are also seeing increasing use of the other collaboration/communication tools within the suite. Google Groups, in particular, has been very useful, and Google Docs, too.

    I don’t think we’ll be moving to digication, because our current student eportfolio system with WordPress is working so well and gives us more of the features and flexibility we need, but it’s interesting to know that it’s an option.

    If other campuses are interested in moving to Google Apps, I’ll be glad to consult and to answer any questions. There are some tricky issues with the contract, but since CUNY legal worked those out for us, it should be much easier for anyone else who wants to go this route.


    Thanks to Sarah and Joe. I would like to learn more about Google Apps (in my spare time), but especially how it connects to Digication. Perhaps this could be added as a something worth evaluating by this committee — the long list. Sarah, can you cross-post or add this to a list of items worth considering in SPS Online operations?

    Gina Cherry

    I am also interested in learning more about Joe’s experience with Google Apps. Many of our students and faculty already use Google docs and we are very interested in the potential integration of Digication and Google docs.


    My office (Instructional Technology) uses google calendar, docs, forms, and other apps, and have been very helpful in many projects we work on. You do not need the Education version to explore the benefits of these apps.

    I have been in contact with Digication recently, and asked them about their Google Apps offer, and here is what they told me:
    “Digication is now offering free, limited storage (20mb) e-Portfolio to schools that are Google Apps for Education subscribers (using gmail). Students using this limited storage e-Portfolio will have the option to purchase their own additional storage for $20.00/year. The free Google App e-Portfolios do not come with Digication’s support, training, or any of Digication’s course and assessment tools. If you were to use the Google App e-Portfolios you could do so (it certainly makes SSO a breeze) but the Assessment Management System pricing is the same and that cost is covered by the institution.”

    I hope this info helps to clarify some doubts about how digication works with google apps. In some cases, the basic version will work just fine, but it might not work if you are thinking about assessment.

    Here is a link from Digication about google apps integration:


    There are some advantages to having GA for E over the “regular” Google Apps suite. They’re modest advantages, but in some cases worth having. If you have GA for E, you can have your own URL (for example, we have or, instead of the google URLs. Seems small and symbolic, but can be nice for keeping the system together. And it means that for things that require an edu email address, your students can still have that, but with the familiar and functional gmail interface.

    Even more beneficial is that you can have accounts and access which can be either open to everyone, or just to your own institution. The main part of that which is helpful is in the contact-sharing, where you can have a directory of your own students, available only to your own students (and of course they can opt out), neatly integrated with your email system, docs, groups, calendar, and so forth.

    If there were any charge for any of this, or any real downsides (there is no advertising–that’s usually one of the first questions), I might say it’s not actually worth it–just let people use the google environment that’s already out there. But we were needing a solution for student email anyway, and all the added advantages here, all the features, along with not having to manage and maintain email as a service ourselves, made it too attractive to pass up. (We did try the University-wide solution through Windows Live first–and found it to be utterly unsatisfactory).

    I don’t know that the Digication offering alone would make a switch to GA for E worthwhile–unless your school is already planning to make that kind of switch. In that case the extra bonus of Digication might be a good thing to have.

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