The University of Melbourne has picked Gmail for its new student email platform, after polls of students indicated a “strong” preference for the Google offering over the alternative Live@EDU platform, despite the popularity of the Microsoft offering amongst university IT administrators around the nation.
“You asked for it — you got it!” Results from a series of focus groups with student representatives indicated a strong preference for Google to replace the existing student email system,” the university stated on a new web site set up recently to inform students of the change, in response to a question on why it had picked Google Apps for the rollout.
Melbourne University Provost John Dewar publicised the move in an email to the institution’s 44,000-strong student body this week, stating the university had been working on a replacement for its legacy email system for some time.
The news comes as the two competing platforms have been engaged in a running dogfight for the hearts and minds of Australia’s educational institutions over the past several years in Australia. But after a series of skirmishes — the latest one which resulted in the University of Technology Sydney picking Live@EDU over the past several weeks, it has appeared that the Microsoft camp was winning.
Microsoft now counts several handfuls of organisations on its win list for Live@EDU — including UTS, Edith Cowan University, WA Central TAFE, Curtin University, the Australian Catholic University, the University of Western Sydney, Flinders University, TAFE SA, the University of NSW and the University of Queensland.
In comparison, Gmail has won fewer victories against the Microsoft juggernaut — counting the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University and Monash University in its camp. Google does, however, hold the largest education email account in Australia — NSW’s Department of Education and Training — with 1.5 million students.
Dewar told students Melbourne University’s email migration project was close to completion, with students to receive invitations to the new Google platform from December 2010 on a staggered basis, with the whole migration expected to take eight weeks.
“The ultimate aim is to provide a user-friendly and cost-effective email system, which will offer enhanced functionality for all students,” he said. Once the email accounts of all students have been transitioned across to the new platform, the university’s legacy systems will be “decommissioned”.
Image credit: Google