If you're at a European University or College using Google Apps, you've probably noticed that we are holding a Google Apps for Education European User Group event (geug12) on June 15th in Portsmouth. As part of the sign-up process for this we thought it would be useful to ask people what they would like to see covered in the event, and have been signing up speakers based on this "feedforward".
In this post I'll quickly whiz through what we've had back from people to date. At this point we have 51 delegates signed up from 32 organizations in Denmark, France, Ireland, Malta, Poland and the UK. We can fit a few more people in though, so do sign up if you are an existing Google Apps customer and this interests you.
So, first off it transpires that most of our delegates are already running Google Apps as a production service, as shown in the graph below:
Incidentally the graphs, tables etc in this post are generated for us automatically by the Google Forms system that we use for sign-ups, so it's just a matter of clicking Form then Show Summary of Responses in the corresponding Google Docs spreadsheet to view them.
We were very pleased at last year's guug11 event to have a good mixture of delegates from diverse backgrounds including senior management, E-Learning experts, systems integration gurus and project managers. It looks as though this pattern is set to be repeated at geug12:
As part of the sign-up for the event, we asked people about their preferences for topics to be covered. We put these questions in a matrix using a Likert scale type approach, as shown below:
It was quite striking that migration to Google Apps was still a hot topic even though we had a lot of people who were already running production services - as shown in the graphic below. This is probably a reflection of the fact that some institutions are still in the throes of migrating email, calendar etc. We also know anecdotally that there are institutions where individual Apps are being enabled over a period of time so as to not to overwhelm people with new stuff all at once.
I was also struck by the level of interest in using Google Apps as a platform to build on, and we have a couple of talks lined up in this area with Julian Lintell-Smith and Sharif Salah from the University of Portsmouth, and Ed Crewe from the ILRT at the University of Bristol. Clearly the message has sunk in that Google Apps is much more than just the default set of user facing services.
It was probably a given that institutions would be interested in comparing notes with their peers, but I was surprised to see the extent to which it was felt to be an essential part of the event - as shown below by the overwhelming response to this question. Accordingly we have arranged a long lunch break and a couple of refreshment breaks, and created the opportunity for people to duck out of the formal sessions by having a parallel session structure. We hope you will find the networking opportunities useful!
In response to this feedback we have also arranged several talks on innovative uses of Google Apps at institutions, and I'm particularly pleased to have a number of European speakers including Barry Foley from the University of Cork, Maciej Broniarz from the University of Warsaw and Benjamin Six from the ESSEC Business School in France.
We talked about building on Google Apps as a platform above, but it was clear from the responses that people still felt that it was worth spending time on the ostensibly mundane issues around integration with institutional systems such as the VLE and Single Sign-On - as shown in the results below.
Of course, this last year the big news has been Google+, the new kid on the block, and we were sure that people would be interested in hearing from practitioners about their own use of Google+ - this was borne out by the questionnaire responses, as shown below. I'm particularly delighted that Alan Cann from the University of Leicester and Sarah Horrigan from the University of Sheffield will be presenting on this. Alan's session will be a true test of the technology, as he will be coming in remotely via a Google+ Hangout.
The talks on mashups by Tony Hirst and Martin Hawksey at last year's guug11 event were extremely well received, and I'm indebted to both Martin and Tony for making themselves available for a followup session at geug12. This will cover some of the most intriguing but less well known Google technology such as Google Fusion Tables and Google Refine. Again it was clear from the delegate responses that this was an area of great interest.
In such a rapidly changing field, we knew that people would be keen to keep up to date on the latest developments with Google products and services, and this was evident from the questionnaire responses:
However, established products such as Android, Chrome OS and the Google Search Appliance were only rated as "desirable" by delegates (as per below), implying that people wanted to hear more about the very latest developments - and upcoming attractions. With this in mind we have arranged for a roadmap briefing from Google which will be the morning keynote session. Whilst we are hoping to live stream the majority of geug12 sessions via the Google+ Hangouts on Air system, I'm afraid that this session will not be broadcast due to its sensitive nature. [We reserve the right to turn WiFi off and jam phone signals too... ;-]
As an IT manager I find that events like guug11 and geug12 are very helpful for sharing experiences and helping to inform strategy development. It was interesting to see (as per below) that in spite of the varied backgrounds of our delegates, across the board they felt that the long term issues around Google Apps, legal considerations, and engagement with Google were key topics.
In response to this we have arranged a session with Des Burley from SGH Martineau on cloud legal issues, e.g. implications that institutions need to consider when activating Google Apps Marketplace applications to extend their domain's services. We have also scheduled a panel session to discuss embedding Google Apps in the institution, which Brian Kelly from UKOLN has very kindly volunteered to chair. And the geug12 event will close with an open house session where delegates will be able to quiz Google directly. Attendees at the guug11 event will remember that we were handing out T-shirts for questions, and I hope to do something similar at geug12!
We had good results at last year's guug11 event from the Open Mic session, which anyone could sign up to for a short "lightning talk", and it was clear from delegate responses that this would be a useful exercise to repeat for geug12:
If you would like to give a lightning talk at the Open Mic session, please visit the signup sheet and add your details.
Finally, just to remind people to visit the geug12 website for more information about the event. You can also follow +GEUG12 on Google+ for updates on the event and to get in touch about anything.
See you in Portsmouth on June 15th!