This Friday (August 30), UC Davis will roll out “Google Apps for Education,” which means that all UC Davis account holders will now have automatic access to Google Drive (which includes Docs, Forms, Spreadsheets, etc.) and Google +. Students and many faculty already have access to Google Drive through their DavisMail accounts, but Google+ offers a new tool: Google Hangouts, which facilitates video conferencing and thus opens up interesting possibilities for virtual office hours, as well as peer-to-peer collaboration.
For those of you who do not already take advantage of Google Drive, I’ve found the Docs helpful for collaborative writing and group work, and the Forms make it easy to not only poll your students, but quickly see graphical representations of the results.
As opposed to the services Google provides to the public, the UC Davis offering does not have ads, does have contractual protections against data mining, and allows for double the storage space (30GB versus 15GB).
To start using your account, visit cloud.ucdavis.edu after August 30 and log in using your standard campus login ID and passphrase.
Information and Educational Technology (IET) will also start offering Box.com accounts in October. Like Dropbox, Box.com is a file-sharing service; campus members will receive 50GB of storage at no cost. Finally, in coordination with the dean’s offices and administrative units, IET will be introducing new email services with increased mailbox sizes and calendar functions over the next year.