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: 
  • Mark, G., Voida, S. & Cardello, A.V. (to appear). “A pace not dictated by electrons”: An empirical study of work without email. To appear in Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), Austin, Texas, May 5–10.
  • Dombrowski, L., Voida, A., Hayes, G.R. & Mazmanian, M. (2012). The social labor of service mediation: A study of the work practices of food assistance outreach. 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.
  • Olson, G. M., and Olson, J. S. (2000) Distance Matters. Human Computer Interaction. 15, 139-179.
  • Goecks, J., Voida, A., Voida, S. & Mynatt, E.D. (2008). Charitable technologies: Opportunities for collaborative computing in nonprofit fundraising. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2008). San Diego, California, November 8-12. New York: ACM Press, pp. 689-698.
  • Bos, N., Olson, J. S., Nan, N., & Cheshin, A. (2008) Subgroup biases in partially-distributed collaboration. Journal of Information Technology Research, 2(1), 1- 18.
  • Nan, N., Johnston, E. and Olson, J. S. (2008) Unintended consequences of collocation: using agent-based modeling to untangle effects of communication delay and in-group favor. Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory.
  • Bos, N.D., Olson, J.S., Nan, N., Shami, N.S., Hoch, S., & Johnston, E. (2006). Collocation blindness in partially distributed groups: is there a downside to being collocated? Proceedings of CHI 2006. New York: ACM Press.
  • Bos, N.D., Olson, J.S., Cheshin, A., Kim, Y.S. & Nan, N. (2005). Traveling Blues: The effect of relocation on partially distributed teams. In Proceedings of CHI 2005. New York: ACM Press.
  • Bos, N., Shami, N. S., Olson, J. S., Cheshin, A., & Nan, N. (2004) In-group/out-group effects in distributed teams: An experimental simulation. Proceedings of Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. 429-436
  • Shami, N. S., Bos, N., Wright, Z., Hoch, S., Kuan, K. Y., Olson, J. S., Olson, G. M. (2004) An experimental simulation of multi-site software development. Proceedings of CASCON