The Big Google Higher Ed Question:
Where Google has real potential to make a difference in higher ed is not services, platforms or apps - but ideas. Google changed the economics information. A revenue model based on advertising and scale allows for (requires) the delivery of great platforms such as Google Apps, YouTube, Android, and hopefully Chromebook.
Does Google have a role in eliminating scarcities in education?
Can Google move up the value chain from information to knowledge, and maybe even credentialing?
I have no doubt that the answer to these two questions is yes, but only if Google decides that they are in the idea business. Google Apps for Education has been a phenomenal success, but if Google succeeded in getting every college and university on its platform this would still represent a failure. A missed opportunity to help change the fundamental underlying economics of higher education.
Is anyone at Google interested in having this conversation with us?
Two Specific Higher Ed Requests*:
What are some specific, on-the-ground, hands-on, actionable, and concrete things that Google could do for higher ed?
1. YouTube: YouTube is VERY close to being a compelling Media Management solution (Kaltura competitor). The major missing piece is the ability to limit access to videos in a more robust way. We need to limit access by group (via LDAP or Google Apps groups). Can you make this happen? What are the barriers?
2. Google Apps: The Google collaboration tools are compelling, but are difficult to use in an environment that uses an alternative email system. When you share a doc, Google Apps uses its own internal address list. This means a share notification would go to an email address that doesn't get checked by the user.
This could be solved in two ways:
a. Allow sharing to happen using exclusively an external user directory (via LDAP or similiar).
b. Allow a Google Apps administrator to programmatically set up email forwarding for users. (presently, the user has to do this themselves).
* Both ideas shamelessly stolen from colleague Jared Benedict.
What are your higher ed related big questions and specific requests for Google?
note: I am on vacation the week of 2/20, returning to blog 2/27.