You may already be very familiar with google for simplified search; it’s sizable email inbox, or even it’s easy to use calendar. But if you haven’t yet tried using it’s wonderful array of google applications, you are missing out. I’m going to share with you three of my top reasons for using it in our office. The one warning I will give you is that once you start, google apps can be quite addicting!
Google’s main marketability is in it’s use of the “cloud,” or as you might think of it, online storage. Google’s word and excel like apps are stored on the web and therefore accessible to you anywhere you can go online. They also are built to allow for multiple collaborators to be in one document at a time. You should think about using google docs next time you have a project that you know multiple parties will need to access and make changes to. There is nothing more annoying than getting that “read only” warning on an important document on your department shared drive.
In my office we use google docs’ collaborate interface to communicate between multiple departments. We track key returns and empty rooms at closing of the halls on a google spreadsheet, allowing our office, facilities, housekeeping, and the RAs staff to simultaneously know the latest information. The best part is that facilities and housekeeping can update their part of the spreadsheet at the same time we are. No messy email tracking back and forth.
We use Google Sites (a wiki creator) to post information for the front desk staff and RA staff to access at their leisure. Because it’s easy to set up, searchable, and works well with many of our staff’s existing google accounts it is the perfect place to save an RA manual.
2. Go Green
It is one of my goals to move us toward a paperless office. Google helps us do that by posting information online that we would normally print out. Google calendar is our go-to program for duty tracking that the RAs can access from the comfort of their own computers.
Lessen the printing off of paper forms, by having everything from spring break sign ups to withdrawal requests handled online. Students prefer to do everything electronically anyway, and having them print out a PDF of a form you have online is just as bad for the environment than if you printed it out yourself. Stop the waste and go completely online.
3. Get organized
The best thing about google forms is its data collection interface. Next time you are considering collecting information via email and then typing it all into a excel spreadsheet, save yourself (or your student worker’s) time by sending out a link to a quick form you made in google. All of the responses will be conveniently plugged into a google spreadsheet, which can be added to, or downloaded in excel format. It can’t get much easier to get your data organized!
Interested but afraid of taking the first step? Mark your NEACUHO conference schedule for the session “Exploring the Googleverse” presented by Mike Hamilton and Jess Faulk. See you in the googleverse!
LINKS TO GOOGLE PRESTATIONS:
“Exploring the Googleverse” by Jess Faulk, Reslife Tech Conference March 18, 2011
“Navigating the Google-verse” by Jess Faulk and Mike Hamilton, NEACUHO Conference, June 2011