The Rollout of Google Applications on Campuses

Google Apps are being deployed in thousands of organizations around the world, including schools and universities. We have examined the adoption and use of these cloud-based services on five campuses of the University of California system and the University of Michigan.  Google Apps is going beyond simply replacing existing email services to being integrated into the classroom curricula and the research activities of these learning environments.  After being given a new "branded" email address that is actually a gmail account, people then explore and adopt the highly popular Google Docs, Sheets, Calendars and Forms.  We found in particular that student clubs were heavy users of shared calendars and forms, the latter to poll their club members with short surveys on needs and feedback.  

In the literature, there is a lot on the diffusion of an innovation.  In contrast, the rollout of Google Apps is a diffusion of a complex set of applications, which, in some cases, reduces the reliance on Microsoft products, but also adds the important benefit of easy sharing.  In fact, in class projects, we found that students teams were using the ability to write simultaneously to write their assignments.  In some cases, the team got together for a little over an hour, and hammered out the final assignment with all being in the same document at the same time.  Not only can they contribute individually, they can read each others contributions as they appear and critique them so the document is good and has coherence.  Google Apps provide new ways of working. 

Publications of the Project: 
  • Shih, P. C. and Olson, G. M. Using Visualization to Support Idea Generation in Context. ACM Creativity and Cognition 2009 Conference Workshop: Creativity and Cognition in Engineering Design (C&C '09).
  • Shih, P. C., Nguyen, D. H., Hirano, S. H., Redmiles, D. F., and Hayes, G. R. GroupMind: Supporting Brainstorming through a Collaborative Mind-mapping Tool. In Proceedings of the 2009 International ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP '09).
  • Bos, N.D., Buyuktur, A., Olson, J.S., Olson G.M. & Voida, A. (2010). Shared identity helps partially distributed teams, but distance still matters. In Proc. Group 2010. New York: ACM Press.
  • Voida, A., Harmon, M.E. & Al-Ani, B. (2011). Homebrew databases: Complexities of everyday information management in nonprofit organizations. To appear in Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011). Vancouver, BC, May 7-12. New York: ACM Press. [CHI Best Paper Award Nominee]
  • Shih, P. C., Venolia, G., and Olson, G. M. Brainstorming Under Constraints - Why Software Developers Brainstorm in Groups. To Appear in British HCI 2011 (BCS-HCI '11).
  • Hincapié-Ramos, J.D., Voida, S. & Mark, G. (2011). A design space analysis of availability-sharing systems In Proceedings of the 24th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2011, pp. 85–96), Santa Barbara, California, October 16–19.
  • Voida, A. (2011). Shapeshifters in the Voluntary Sector: Exploring the Human-Centered Computing Challenges of Nonprofit Organizations. Interactions (Nov/Dec), 27-31.
  • Koehne, B., Shih, P. C., Olson, J. S. (2012) Remote and alone: Coping with being the remote member on the team. Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. CSCW 2012.
  • Voida, A., Harmon, M.E. & Al-Ani, B. (2012). Bridging between organizations and the public: Volunteer coordinators’ uneasy relationship with social computing. To appear in Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012). Austin, TX, May 5–12. New York: ACM Press.
  • Voida, A., Bos, N.D., Olson, J.S., Olson, G.M. & Dunning, L. (2012). Cross-cutting faultlines of location and shared identity in the intergroup cooperation of partially distributed groups. To appear in Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012). Austin, TX, May 5–12. New York: ACM Press.