Since the addition of Google Gmail for Fordham, many updates have been made, including the addition of Google Docs and Chat. Although the applications became available for Fordham Gmail in early January, many Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students were unaware of these updates implemented. According to Patricia Carlucci, Fordham IT director, “Just recently we have completed a set of upgrades that allows Gmail and Google Docs to be accessed directly at Google, in addition to the portal.”
Upgrades have been made due to student response to Gmail. Previously, Google Docs could only be accessed by logging onto the Fordham portal, which some students found inconvenient to use as opposed to being able to directly use it from Google. “Google Docs and Google Chat were added to address the wishes expressed by the students for added functionality,” Carlucci said.
According to Dylan Kaufman, Fordham IT consultant, the main difference between using Google Documents with a Fordham account compared to Google’s website is that students and faculty will not have to deal with advertisements that usually appear on Google’s site.
Leon Nisnevich, FCLC ’15, said, “It’s inconvenient to log into the portal because mobile devices don’t display the Fordham portal very well. It’s annoying to log in to the portal only to access my Gmail when I should be able to do that through Google’s site.”
Nancy Glynn, Fordham IT communications specialist, said that the decision to add the apps was made last year and was implemented during October of 2011, but IT needed time to test the applications on Fordham’s portal.
Glynn said, “In mid-October we decided to [turn on] the service to coincide with the students’ return for the spring term. We used the time prior to the roll out testing and preparing documentation and communications for the launch.”
According to the workers at FCLC’s IT office, the apps were up and running even during the break, but some students only recently became aware of the new Google apps. Glynn said the app upgrade was advertised via Groupcast email, portal posting, website posting, iTV message, newspaper ads and flyers in residence halls.
Zubaer Mohsin, FCLC ’15, said, “Until a friend told me about it, I didn’t know about Google Docs because I never had to use it nor didw I see the email. IT could’ve told professors to let us know about the apps and the professors should include it on their syllabus.”
Michael Macalintal, FCLC ’15, said that he knew apps were added, but didn’t know that Google Docs was included. He said, “I found out about the apps through a notification that appeared when I logged into My.Fordham.”
According to Carlucci, the apps are supplied by Google Apps for Education, which is a suite of products that is provided to higher education institutions at no cost. More upgrades by Fordham IT will make it possible for the school to provide more services over the next few months.
Google Docs allows students to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms and share them with whomever they choose. According to Kaufman, both teachers and students can share any documents they choose just by linking their email accounts. Kauffman also said, “It is good for collaboration.” As well as that, students can import files including word documents, PowerPoint slides, PDFs and much more.