Australian Defence College pilots Google Apps for academic programs


news The Australian Defence College (ADC) has launched a pilot scheme that will see its academic programs using Google Apps, Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, Minister for Defence, announced this week.

Minister Payne said defence was “one of the first” Australian government departments to roll out Google Apps in this way.

Under the scheme, two of the Australian Defence College’s flagship centres, the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) and the Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC), are moving to a cloud-based platform for their unclassified academic studies, according to a statement issued by Payne this week.

“This is a significant step forward in the Australian Defence College’s commitment to innovative learning and it reflects the Australian government’s policy of adopting cloud platforms where appropriate,” Minister Payne said.

During the pilot, Google Apps will replace the ADC’s Open Student Network, which would have required “substantial and costly remediation in future years”, the statement said.

“Defence selected Google Apps following a detailed evaluation of market offerings. This is a proven platform that is already used by sections of the US military, UK government and a number of Australian universities,” Minister Payne said.

The use of Google apps is aimed promote a more flexible learning environment at ADC. Students will be able to access educational material via connected devices wherever they happen to be, and students will be able to collaborate on joint tasks more easily.

According to the statement, the pilot program follows consultation with the relevant government agencies to “ensure security and privacy issues will be managed in accordance with policy requirements”.

The pilot program is scheduled to be rolled out this month and will undergo evaluation to determine if it would be applicable for “broader adoption and the application of cloud-based services across other unclassified environments”.

The use of Google Apps in education has not been universally popular, however. Macquarie University recently revealed it had decided to ditch Google’s hosted email and calendar platform and would migrate its staff to Microsoft’s rival Office 365 platform.

The move followed a controversial decision by Google to shift the university’s data from its a datacentre location in Europe and move it to the United States. Despite cost savings the university had planned to make using Google Apps, it considered that data security had to take precedence.

Image credit: Robert Scoble, Creative Commons


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