Last week, the entire University of the Philippines system entered into a partnership that put them at par with some of the best universities all over the world -- from Georgetown University in the United States, to the University of Westminster in Britain, to Monash University in Australia.
At an event dubbed “Going UP with Google”, the country’s premier state university announced its adoption of Google Apps for Education throughout the UP system of campuses nationwide. Google Apps for Education is a suite of free online productivity and collaboration tools that the Internet giant offers to various academic institutions all over the world.
With the partnership, more than 70,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni of the University of the Philippines are expected to enjoy 30GB of inbox space, greater file sharing capacity, as well as a supportive environment for online collaboration. The applications that the University of the Philippines is expected to enjoy include GMail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Drive, and Google sites, all of which will be personalized for the university.
“We welcome the chance to utilize new and engaging ways to work in the offices and the classrooms of the university,” remarked Dr. Elvira A. Zamora, vice president for development of the UP System. “These tools encourage sharing and group work online. It will open up more avenues for sharing among campuses. We can use this to generate solution to persistent problems we are all aware of.”
The project is part of UP’s eUP program, which seeks to integrate, harmonize, and interoperate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems and infrastructure across all universities of the UP System.
UP isn’t alone in this endeavor either. The Commission of Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd) have already adopted the system last year, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) adopted it earlier this year, effectively making the entire education department of the Philippines users of the Google suite of apps.
Also adopting Google Apps for Education alongside UP were Adamson University, Asian Institute of Maritime Studies, Ateneo de Zamboanga, Berkeley School, Eastern Visayas State University, Educational Systems Technological Institute, Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology, Immaculate Conception Academy, La Salle University-Ozamiz, Miriam College, Rizal Technological University, Siliman University, St. Paul University, St. Scholastica’s College, and University of San Juan Recoletos.
Other universities that have already adopted Google Apps for Education, or are in the process of adopting it, include AMA Computer University, Angeles University Foundation, Assumption College, Ateneo de Manila University, Baguio Patriotic School, Bicol University, Cebu Institute of Technology University, Centro Escolar University, Colegio De San Juan De Letran, De La Salle Santiago Zobel, Lyceum of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology, Mindanao University of Science and Technology, Misamis University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Philippine Christian University, Philippine Women’s University, San Sebastian College-Recoletos, St. Joseph’s College, St. Jude College, STI, Technological Institute of the Philippines, University of Baguio, Universidad de Zamboanga, University of Perpetual Health System Dalta, University of the East, University of Santo Tomas ICS Department, and St. Louis University.
SCRATCHING THE SURFACE
During the launch, Sandra Lovenia of the Ateneo de Manila University’s (ADMU) Department of Information Systems and Computer Science recalled the experience that ADMU had when it adopted Google Apps for Education.
“We actually had two phases of using Google. We gave Ateneo email addresses for our students, and it was a cost-effective service. Students found it cool. When we started the use of Google for our employees in March, we already got very good feedback from our employees. In our old email system, we had very limited space. The large email space of GMail makes it more productive when they use their email,” she shared over a Google Hangout arranged by the UDante Gideon Vergara, director of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) Information Technology Center, revealed at the same Hangout that UPLB was already using Google Docs and Google Drive, and believes that the adoption of Google Apps for Education will be a boon for the UP System.
“We’ve only scratched the surface. We use Google Docs and Drive. We use it for collaborations and technical working groups, as well as references,” he says. “Hangout is an opportunity to teleconference at no cost at all. I think maraming potential ang Google Apps for collabor>