Revisiting FERPA and GoogleApps - Good enough? (Updated 05/25/2010)

Google Kool-AidSource: GCT Files
 
Update 05/25/2010: Be sure to listen to the podcasts available at http://bit.ly/tecsig2010 which include GoogleApps for Education folks sharing their responses to tough questions! Well worth your time and help illuminate the issues discussed in this blog entry!


Over the last month or so, I've shared some of the concerns about using GoogleApps for Education. In spite of the worthy experience of participating in Google Teacher Academy for Administrators, questions remain. While I'm tempted to discount these questions after listening to so many testimonials at the GTAdmin in San Antonio, I do not want to for fear of failing to take into account their concerns.


At the GTAdmin, several questions were asked via Google Moderator, a great tool to use. One of those questions included the following regarding FERPA. Failure to answer the question posed in this blog raises the concern that confidentiality of student data would not be protected by GoogleApps for Education. Some have argued that this question isn't worthy of consideration since any violations would be on the part of staff and students, rather than Google itself.
Answering the FERPA question is a key concern, and the statement "certain conditions apply (below link)" is not a comfortable one. Explain further the privacy issues specific to education head on. http://principals.wikispaces.com/legal"
Dr. Mark Wagner's response is as follows:

Hi, Catherine. I just noticed the link to the actual regulations was broken... I fixed it so you can search for that specific language and read the conditions. It looks (to me) as if Google Apps fits the bill, given the agreement between the school and Google - and given Google's already strict privacy policy.

In truth, it will matter little what the response is...for some school districts managers, no response will be "good enough" to empower them to transition from an expensive in-house system to an Google-based, free system. One response from a Texas district that such a response just wasn't good enough...so they've made other plans.


There are many reasons for that--fear of losing control, the inertia of maintaining the status quo, having to do something different from what they are accustomed to. 


In the meantime, I found these questions and responses interesting as well:


Question:

"You mentioned that Postini is free for Apps for Ed now. Will it continue to be free for those of us who have signed up for it already, or will they charge for everyone after that special deal is done?"
CurtLargo, fL 

Response:

As Dana mentioned, it will continue to be free. :)
Mark Wagner, Ph.D.Irvine, CA

Question:



As Dana mentioned, it will continue to be free. :)
Mark Wagner, Ph.D.Irvine, CA

Response:



For everyone else, here are the replies I gave @drsolis on Twitter:

Apps are ALWAYS hosted on Google's servers. Apps for your Domain lets you use & manage a few key tools under your own domain NAME.

You can use your existing domain or a new one. There are pros and cons for each.

You can buy a domain for $10 during the setup process with Google.
Mark Wagner, Ph.D.Irvine, CA


Question: 


"Can you transfer/sync contents of Outlook calendar to Google calendar?"
Eric S.New Milford, NJ  

Response:
Here's some resources about calendar migration and Google Apps:http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&;answer=166207

Most likely, Google Sync will be your best option: 
http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=89955


Question:



"How do you setup Google Apps Education with LDAP?"
Juan OAustin TX 

Response:
Google Apps Help Site is a good resource for this: www.google.com/support/a

Specifically: 
http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=14580

You can also look into contracting a 3rd party to help you out with this from the Apps Marketplace -- many offer an EDU discount: 
http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/search?orderBy=rating&query=Education&;categoryId=13

And, this announcement from Dana Nguyen (referenced above) for MS Exchange migration:


For those of you are still thinking about moving to Google Apps Education Edition, we just announced a new tool that drastically simplifies the migration from Microsoft Exchange.
Checkout the blogpost here: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/03/now-its-easy-switch-to-google-apps-from.html

In the meantime....




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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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