Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Switching from FirstClass to Google

It seems to be that time of year again when institutions finalize decisions and make preparations to move to a new collaboration environment. Within the past week, I've been contacted by five different schools around the US that are transitioning away from FirstClass to Google Apps Education Edition. I've written about my organization's journey from two years ago here at my blog...this is more of a resource dump intended for anyone out there who might be moving from FirstClass to Google. This is also useful to me as I now have a single link to all of the documents that we found helpful as we went through our transition. 

At some point in the near future I'll write a little update reflection on how things have gone over the past 2 years of using Google apps, but for now I'll just provide links to relevant transition support documents. 

Best of luck moving to Google Apps!

Links, resources and documents:

Our organization's transition support site - a collection of documents, tutorials, videos, etc that documented our migration process.

Rating our transition - what went well - a blog post summary of the things we did well in this process.
Rating our transition - what didn't go so well - we didn't make many mistakes, but this post highlights those areas where we'd like a 'do over.'

General Google Apps security and privacy questions - answers to privacy and data ownership questions can be found in this document. I'll save you a little time here...yes, the data is secure and private. Regarding data ownership-yes, the organization owns the data. Regarding data mining-No, google does not mine and harvest information from Google Apps domains.

Google Apps for Education common questions - SUPER helpful and useful doc

Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Google Apps

Six step deployment plan

Testimonials from other schools who are using Google Apps Education Edition


  1. What was your ultimate solution on FirstClass conferences? That is the one stumbling block my school (higher ed) is running up against, and seems to be the number one thing that slows people down in this specific transition (FC to Google) and I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd love to hear how that was handled.

  2. Hey Gretchen,
    When we transitioned it wasn't so groups wasn't part of Google Apps for we used google sites at the time. About 4 months after we transitioned they opened up Google Groups to Google Apps domains. Google Groups replicates conferences very, very well. I love how any user can go in, create a group, set permissions as she sees fit, invite people to join, and begin collaborating. The groups can then be leveraged to easily share documents, collaborate on google sites, etc.

    I hope this news is useful in your effort to transition away from FirstClass to Google Apps at your school.


  3. Now that groups is no longer supporting file storage, have you just been using shared documents within the group?