The Advisory Committee on Academic Computing (ACAC) and Computing and Communications Services (CCS) are initiating a consultation process with the Ryerson community regarding the future of E-mail and collaboration systems for Ryerson.
The consultation is a result of:
- difficulties Ryerson has experienced in maintaining an E-mail system that is competitive with cloud services from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft and systems commonly used in business;
- lack of a university-wide calendar and scheduling system for faculty, staff, and students;
- limitations in the Blackboard system – especially regarding collaborative tools;
- the challenges of offering other collaboration tools at a scale that can accommodate the needs and evolving expectations of all students, faculty, and staff.
In past years, ACAC and CCS has investigated various options for renewing Ryerson’s E-mail system. The costs to replace the R-mail system with a Microsoft Exchange-based system was estimated at roughly $1.5 million, even before improvements in storage capacity were considered. If the storage capacity of the system were brought in line with cloud offerings the cost would have been significantly higher. At the time there seemed to be little appetite on the part of everyone involved in the discussions for expenses on that scale. In the current economic climate there may be even less appetite for making large expenditures to renew our in-house system. In addition other collaborative systems are required beyond E-mail and calendaring including systems such as blogs, wikis, document sharing, online voice and video, and instant messaging. While CCS does provide services in some of these areas they are not designed to scale so that everyone can freely use them. Nor are they accessible in a unified portal experience; these systems are currently stand-alone.
An important trend in the university space is to move E-mail and collaboration services to one of the two free cloud-based services hosted by either Google or Microsoft. These services offer a rich range of collaborative services and features that are very difficult to match with in-house systems. For example they frequently report over 99.9% uptime, very large storage quotas, and integrated instant messaging, voice, and video services. In Canada, Lakehead University and Wilfred Laurier have outsourced their student E-mail and collaborative systems to Google. The University of Toronto is working on something similar for student E-mail, and the University of Alberta has completed negotiations with Google to host all their faculty, staff, and student E-mail and “Apps for Education” accounts. U of A’s agreement with Google prohibits data-mining and advertisements.
In light of this ACAC and CCS will:
- Investigate the benefits, costs, and risks of using a cloud service from a provider like Google or Microsoft versus locally hosted services;
- Engage the Ryerson community in a consultation process regarding options for improving E-mail and collaboration services;
- Recommend to the Provost and Vice President Academic, and to the Vice President Administration and Finance, how Ryerson’s E-mail and collaboration systems should be improved or replaced.
This web site is a first step in starting a broad dialog at Ryerson about the future of E-mail and collaboration tools at Ryerson. We hope to provide more information here and hope that members of the Ryerson community will also contribute posts and comments to this site.
As part of the broad community consultation, Ryerson’s Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute will be co-sponsoring a symposium on February 24 with us on Exploring the Future of E-mail, Privacy, and Cloud Computing at Ryerson. Our current working agenda for the conference is:
|9:30 – 10:00||Welcome and Introductions||Why are we doing this?
– Brian Lesser, Acting Director, Computing and Communications Services, Ryerson University
|10:00 – 11:00||Keynote: Will we have Privacy in the Cloud? … Only if we embed it, by Design: Implications for the Future of Privacy||Privacy by Design (PbD) has witnessed phenomenal growth in the past year, culminating in it being made an International Privacy Standard last October. What over a decade ago was an approach to integrating universal privacy principles into user-centric information and communications technologies, has since grown to encompass business processes, physical spaces, information architectures, infrastructures and ecosystems. PbD’s holistic, proactive and innovative approach to assuring privacy in the Information Era is now globally recognized. Dr. Cavoukian will discuss current trends, and applications of Privacy by Design in the emergent cloud computing space.
– Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario
|11:00 – 12:00||Privacy and the Cloud for Universities and the Real World.||In the last few years, universities and others have looked skyward as a response to managing IT costs and providing world-class services. Companies like Google, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Apple are now looking to the cloud to put leading-edge computing power into the hands of users. Surrendering direct custody of data and migrating student, customer and business information to the cloud raises significant and complicated privacy and security issues. David Fraser will cut through the fluff and paranoia associated with the cloud to provide a clear-eyed view of what the issues are and how they can be addressed.
– David Fraser, Partner, McInnes Cooper
|12:00 – 1:00||Lunch|
|1:00 – 2:00||Vendor Presentations||Online Services for Education from Microsoft: Live@Edu and Office 365 for Education
-Karen McGregor, Industry Solution Specialist – Education, Microsoft
Google Apps for Education: Securing EDU Data in the Cloud
-Steven Butschi, Strategic Accounts Manager, Google
|2:00 – 2:30||Privacy and Academic Freedom in the Age of Cloud Computing||As university employers make communications and vital university services available only through electronic means, they must take every reasonable action to protect the privacy of academic staff, as privacy and academic freedom are closely interlinked. That interlinkage will be discussed, and recent challenges faced by academic staff in protecting their privacy and academic freedom will be examined.
– James Turk, Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers
|2:30 – 3:30||Panel Discussion||Moderator:
|3:30 – 4:00||Next Steps for Ryerson||– Dimitrios Androutsos, Chair, Advisory Committee on Academic Computing, Ryerson University|
Location: George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre
245 Church Street. Room ENG 103.
View 245 Church St in a larger map.
We hope you can join us!
- Centralizing E-mail and Calendaring at the University of Alberta
- Student eMail at U of T is changing! (updated February 7, 2011 with Report #4 which mentions negotiating with Microsoft)
- Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
- Privacy By Design
- David T.S. Fraser’s Privacy Law Resources
- Google Apps for Education
- Microsoft live at edu
- MyLaurier WebMail FAQ
- University of California at Davis decides not to go with Gmail for Faculty and Staff
- Michael Geist on Outsourcing.