"Initially offering new e-mail accounts based on Google's Gmail service (but retaining the "asu.edu" domain) on an opt-in basis, [CIO] Sannier and his team found that students were making the switch at the rate of around 300 per hour. Today, more than 40,000 ASU students and faculty have made the switch, and he expects to shut down the University's in-house mail servers near the end of this term." (http://www.itnews.com.au/newsstory.aspx?CIaNID=48227)
Aquinas College outsourced student and employee email to Google.
What does this mean for PSU? Nothing yet, but as we look at how we spend our valuable technology resources and time, it begs the question of whether we should continue to provide what is fast becoming a commodity service on the web.
There are no easy answers. Google may not provide you the level of service and support you get from ITS staff now, particularly when it comes to retrieving lost emails or important backups. Then again, we all deal with that reality anyway as we use our ISP providers for personal email. Does this change the liability of the University in regard to maintaining records? New laws are emerging that might indicate otherwise.
The core question is this: what is the value of a PSU-provided email, for students and employees? And what does it cost in terms of servers, licensing, and staff time and effort?
Regardless, we need to watch how these new ventures fare.