Editor’s Note: Recently we announced the winners of our global Gone Google ad contest. Today’s featured winner is Susan Zolezzi, Manager, Communications & Change at Monash University in Victoria, Australia.

Monash University is Australia’s largest university, with 60,000 current students across nine campuses and centres in Australia, Malaysia, South Africa and Italy, and over 250,000 alumni around the world.

Our switch to Google Apps for Education began with students in November 2009, and despite being an opt-in offer over summer break and the Christmas holiday, 40,000 students had migrated before their return for semester one! By July 2010 all students were on Google Apps and the old student mail service was retired. Between June 2010 and December 2010 we migrated over 20,000 staff from 3 systems, and to date we have seen excellent uptake and use of the new applications in addition to email. In comparison, our previous Monash email and calendar projects took years of project resources and budget and saw poor adoption.

We believe accessible and easy collaboration means better ideas. Better ideas shared by more people have the potential to be even more powerful. Going Google has provided the Monash community the ability to leverage technology for collaboration in new ways and to a much greater degree than ever before. We are seeing teacher-teacher, teacher-student and student-student collaboration in every area of the university, including in the classroom, research, study and administration.

We have professional staff developing Google Sites to attract and onboard new students; teachers using Google Spreadsheets to facilitate lab assignments; administration using Google forms to collect important evaluative feedback from staff; and students using Google Docs for shared note taking. Teachers are also using Google Docs and Sites to garner valuable insight into students’ learning experiences and outcomes by observing students working real time and providing feedback as well as using revision history to observe contributions to group assignments and thought processes.

Going Google has helped us turn nine campuses across four countries into one University by providing a platform of greater opportunities for active engagement between students, staff and researchers, producing ‘world and work ready’ graduates. Apart from the collaboration and educational benefits to the Monash community, Google Apps has been better, faster and cheaper than we could have hoped for, delivering cost and time efficiencies across the university.

Posted by Susan Zolezzi, Manager, Communications & Change, Monash University