Google Apps and the Possibilities

Boise State students now have access to BroncoMail powered by Google. What this means is not only will students be using Google mail for their Boise State accounts, but they also have access to the powerful tools found in the domain version of Google apps. And just what are these “powerful tools?”

  1. Google Sites: This is Google’s version of a wiki, which is easy to use, fast, and allows collaboration across the Boise State domain (people with BSU email addresses) and those you choose to invite. When I first started playing around with Sites, I could only add people with BSU emails, but now it appears I can invite anyone as a collaborator. You can also make your Site viewable to the entire BSU domain if you want! So far, it appears that the sites you create are private, but I’m hoping that users will be able to make their sites public if they want. There are many instances where teachers will want their students’ (and their own) sites to be public.
  2. Google Docs: If you haven’t used Google Docs, you really should. It’s a way that students can collaborate on specific file types, such as Word documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint files. Heck, you can even use Google docs as a way to present your PowerPoint, thus eliminating the need to have it on a computer. Pretty cool, really.
  3. Google Calendar: I’m hoping that soon Boise State will start using this feature more widely, throughout various departments. You can export your GroupWise calendar and then import it into Google calendar, updating new appointments as you make them, but it’s not as seamless as I’d like. We shall see how this plays out.

To access Google Apps, you need to log in to BroncoMail powered by Google: http://broncomail.u.boisestate.edu/

You will then see a login page, where you enter your BSU login name and password (the same one you use for GroupWise, for instance.)

BroncoMail login

Then, you will go to your BroncoMail at Google account where you can access the various Google Apps. (Look at the top left menu and you’ll see “Sites,” for instance.) Click any of these tools and you can get started with them.

Google Apps menu

I’ll write more about each of these tools in more detail, but for now I may have at least piqued your curiosity a bit. Set up a Google Site and include me as a viewer or collaborator if you want. And tell your students about this great collaborative tool.

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