Nick Young, IT manager at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) believes in two ingredients for campus technology. First, students and staff should adopt tools because they find them useful, not because IT requires them to do so. Second, students and staff should be able to manage the technology largely on their own, with minimal help from IT. During UNCG’s long history using Google–starting in 2005 with Gmail–ease of use and organic adoption have driven the spread of Google Workspace for Education among the school’s 20,000 students and 3,500 staff.
“We try to listen to what students and staff want–we don’t want to tell people what to do,” Young says. “We make apps available and keep things open in terms of which tools people can use, and we try to encourage adoption that way.”
As students and staff saw the value of Gmail and other Google Workspace tools like Google Docs, they also gradually adopted the new capabilities that Google added to Google Workspace over the past 10 years, such as Google Meet and Google Groups. These new tools and features, Young says, helped the campus community realize the value of collaborating with each other and sharing useful information.