Here is the case. I am planning to talk to my administrator about implementing Google Apps Ed in our high school. So far I have read that the domain name needs to be entered during the application process. I have also read that some of you bought your domain names and used them to apply. Is that an approved procedure by Google?
I do not know if the district will be willing to give the domain and even if they do I do not have any access to server that holds the website to make the necessary changes to prove that we own the domain. I believe my district out sources their website and the email is handled by an Exchange server.
In short, I think it would be more manageable to begin this at a small scale. Do you think the following steps are appropriate?
Basically, I am trying to implement a small scale solution without creating a lot of work for the IT department.
What do you think about the steps?
I am just in the process of doing Google Apps at my school k-8 although we will only use if for grades 2-8. I was able to get the administration to purchase the domain name about $10 US, and I set myself up as the administrator. It is taking much longer then I thought it would so give yourself at least 2 weeks to set up the whole site. There were many issues with using the domain that I was not familiar with and have had to learn with help from others. I am going to implement Google Apps next school year although I will use a small set of students from this year as a test group to get all the kinks out.
As for the CSV file - you need to make email address for each person and may want to consider adding a subdomain to distinguish students from faculty. Also each person must have a 6 character password - I gave all students the same password and we will change them as part of class. I felt this was easier then trying to create 400 passwords.
If I remember correctly, you can also prove ownership of the domain through a domain setting change. That would mean you do not need to actually host a web server anywhere. That could save you a little bit of money. You can also purchase your domain through Google (via Enom).
You can create accounts with a CSV file. You need First Name, Last Name, username, initial password.
You will need to manually distribute username/password because it doesn't email it out automatically.
You might also need to check with the district re: policies on student accounts. It is the school/district responsibility (not Google) to conform with the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). If the students are under 13 you will need to comply with the parental notification.
First, let me correct a couple of misconceptions:
1. You need a domain for the setup, but you don't actually have to a website. You'll just need access to the DNS records where you will need to create a TXT (http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=183895).
2. You need to use your registered domain to sign up for the free edition of Google Apps (up to 50 users)(http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html) and then apply for EDU status (http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=72223).
I would suggest using the domain that's already set up for your school if you have one. If not, you can set one up. Other than that, the steps you have for getting started with users sound great. Here are the steps I took to get my school running:
1. Purchased domain for my high school (with district approval)
2. Signed up for free edition.
3. Applied for EDU.
4. Sent home forms for parental permission.
5. Set up computer class manually as test bed.
6. Added teachers manually.
7. Exported student list as CSV and imported into Apps.
8. Printed information slips with username and password for all students.
It sounds like you have the right steps in mind. If you need help or training, there are a ton of Apps Certified Trainers. I'm sure you can find one in your area.
Hope that helps!
Thank you for all your great responses. Am I correct to understand the following?
I have read about using Postini to filter email communications, and I was thinking of enabling it for everyone. Any thoughts on that?
Let's say, two years from now, one of the elementary schools decided to use Google Apps, but limit Gmail so that students can only send and receive from each other and their teachers. Will it be easy to make these adjustments only on their subdomain?
Also, I hope that there won't be conflicts with our existing Web and Email filter. It seems that it is a software solution, so the IT department should be able to handle that.
At my school in Sweden, we are also going to get started with Google Apps so this thread is definitively a very interesting one. Several years ago we purchased a domain for our webzine through a local domain registrar so that shouldn't be a problem; however, I might want to get some assistance editing the DNS records - our domain registrar should also be able to help with that if needed.
It would be great to hear the latest developments about the implementation of Apps from VG!