Author Archives: Alex Chapin

Google Apps Evaluation Summary: Cost (Google Perspective)

Here is an updated summary of cost estimates for Google Apps

Hardware Costs – $0

Since Google Apps is hosted, there is no need to purchase hardware…

Upgrade Cost – $0

Google Apps for Education is a collection of web applications hosted by Google.  Google performs all updates, therefore there is no cost for updating

Mobile Costs – $?

Google has excellent free mobile versions of most of its applications including Blackberries.  Blackberry Enterprise Server may still be needed.

Support Cost – $?

Google has excellent online documentation and many faculty, students and staff are already familiar with Gmail. Other institutions have noted that Google’s help forums have provided many answers for their users.  Main challenges here are different workflows and user interfaces (UIs).

There will need to be regular training sessions to introduce the community to Google’s approach to email, calendaring and groups.  The frequency of these sessions should be comparable to those offered when we redid the college website, though may need to be more extensive and more frequent.

Support costs will depend on whether we decide to support the use of Gmail and calendaring tools in desktop client apps like Outlook and Entourage or whether we decide to require everyone to use web interfaces. Restricting support to web-based UI may require additional initial retraining but would probably reduce costs in the long term since we won’t have to support multiple desktop applications.

Migration Costs – $?

Google provides free tools for migrating from Microsoft Exchange.  Brown University migrated most of their users over the course of a couple of months.  Other institutions have done the migration all at once.  While there are vendors that offer migration services, we will likely be able to do the migration ourselves.

Staff Costs – $?

Since Google Apps is hosted, there are no server maintenance costs…  Most of the staffing costs will be in training people to learn how to do the same work in Google Apps as they did with Exchange as well as the staffing resources required to do the migration.

Recovery Costs – $?

Since Google Apps is hosted, we are not able to recover data ourselves beyond what can be done in the administrative interface to Google.  Postini will allow administrators to recover deleted mail from the past 90 days.

Google does make an effort to ensure content you put into its applications can be backed up (see: Backup your Google Apps Data).  Google has also shown a commitment to ensuring users can migrate their data with its Data Liberation project.  Google itself relies on synchronous data replication to ensure nothing is lost (see: Google Apps Now Disaster Proof).

Licensing Fees – $5,700 – 18,500 per year

Google Apps for Education is free.  This means there are no licensing costs for using it.  However in order to get spam filtering and tools for recovering lost email, we would need to purchase a license for Postini which costs $4 per user per year.  Here’s an estimate of total licensing cost for various levels of Postini:

Middlebury College:
2400 – students x $4 = $9,600
300 – faculty x $4 = $1,200
850 – staff x $4 = $3,400
3550 – total users x $4 = $14,200

800 – students x $4 = $3,200
150 – faculty x $4 = $600
115 – staff  x $4 = $460
1065 – total users x $4 = $4,260

Total licensing costs
Midd/MIIS faculty/staff = $5,660 per year
Midd/MIIS faculty/staff/students = $18,460 per year

Testimony from other Institutions

A number of institutions have claimed that switching from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps has saved them money.  See:
Brown > CIS > GoogleAppsGoogleApps@Brown – Google Applications for Education

Google Apps Evaluation Summary: Other (Google Perspective)

Here is a summary of an evaluation of “other” features of Google Apps not covered in other presentations such as Google Docs, Sites, Chat, Media and Marketplace see:
Google Apps Evaluation Summary: Other (Google perspective) – Google Doc
Google Apps Evaluation Summary: Other (GooglePerspective) – PDF format

WordPress and Course Sites

Many faculty have started to use WordPress for course sites.  WordPress is a good choice if you just want to:

  • Share course information with your students
  • Post course announcements
  • Create hierarchically arranged pages
  • Upload files (on larger than 10 MB)
  • Start online discussion
  • Have students upload papers for peer review
  • Blog

Access to WordPress sites can be limited to students in a class (or any other Active Directory group of users). For more information on how to use WordPress for course sites, see:

WordPress @ Middlebury > Using WordPress for Course Sites

Segue from Segue Open Sessions

The Curricular Technology team has scheduled a number of open sessions next week on the Segue from Segue project in Library 145.  Here are the dates and times:

  • 10:00 – 10:30, Monday August 2nd
  • 1:00 – 1:30, Tuesday, August 3th
  • 4:00 – 4:30, Wednesday, August 4th
  • 3:00 – 3:30, Thursday, August 5th

We scheduled these sessions primarily to give Language School faculty an opportunity to discuss their technology needs and ask us questions about possible alternatives to Segue.   That said, these sessions are open to any Middlebury faculty, staff or students interested in technologies for teaching, learning and research.

Segue from Segue: Open Sessions

The Curricular Technology team has scheduled a number of open sessions on the Segue from Segue project in Library 145.  Here are the dates and times:

  • 10:00 – 10:30, Monday August 2nd
  • 1:00 – 1:30, Tuesday, August 3th
  • 4:00 – 4:30, Wednesday, August 4th
  • 3:00 – 3:30, Thursday, August 5th

These sessions are an opportunity for you to tell us about the kinds of technologies for teaching, learning and research you think Middlebury should invest in.  We particularly encourage Language School faculty to stop by and give us feedback about your use of technology for teaching languages.

We will also discuss some of the ideas we have for alternatives to Segue including Moodle, Drupal, WordPress, Google Sites and MediaWiki.

Segue and Language Schools

The Language Schools have long been innovative users of technology.  Indeed Segue was initially developed to support the creation of web sites in other languages, particularly less commonly taught languages that use non-Latin characters such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Russian.  We also designed Segue to support a wide range of language learning resources including images, audio and video and provide a simply way to download these media files to mobile devices such as iPods and iPhones using really simple syndication (RSS).  Finally, we did our best to make it easy to copy sites created in previous semesters for use in the current semester and to assign others, both individuals and groups, roles on any site.

Some of the ways in which the Language Schools have used Segue are documented in our usage analysis (see: Language Learning Resources and Audio Capture).  Language Schools have also made extensive use of Measure, our instance of Moodle, for placement, entrance and exit exams (see: Student Assessment).  As we research alternatives to Segue we will be certain to recommend tools to support these types of usage.

Many Language School faculty have filled out our technology needs survey which has also helped us understand how Language Schools use technology.  In the next couple of weeks the Curricular Technology team will be holding a number of open sessions for any faculty to stop by and describe their particular technology needs and tools that they have used and think would be useful for Middlebury to invest in.

We encourage anybody in the Middlebury community to tell us what they need in the following ways:

  • Email us at
  • Vote on existing technology ideas/suggestions or add your own
  • Complete any of our ancillary surveys
  • Comment on any post on this blog