When students, faculty, and staff log in My VCCS to access their Gmail accounts after the Bb upgrade on May 17th-18th, you will have access to a number of new, powerful teaching and learning tools. During the scheduled outage, not only will Blackboard Learn be upgraded to Service Pack 11 (new features can be found at http://www.virginiawestern.edu/facstaff/it/index.php/distance-learning/whats-new-in-blackboard-9-1-sp11/), but Google Apps for Education will also be expanded from its current set of core apps—Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc,-- to a broad selection new consumer apps: YouTube, Google+, Maps, Books, Picasa, etc. These new apps will provide VCCS students, faculty, and staff with access to an even more powerful suite of teaching, learning, social, and communication tools that can be used both in and outside of the classroom.
However, there are some crucial steps that all students, faculty, and staff need to take to successfully access any Google Apps, including Gmail, after the upgrade. First, once these consumer apps are enabled, everyone in the VCCS domain must click through and agree to a new consumer Terms of Service (TOS) when they next login. No Google Apps can be accessed until users agree to these new TOS. To see these TOS, click here: http://www.email.vccs.edu/terms-of-service.
Second, when setting up a profile in Google Plus (G+), a Facebook-like social networking service included in the upgrade, it is especially important that users include a correct date of birth (or at least a date of birth that will make them 13 years old or older). If they include a date of birth indicating they are younger than 13, they will be permanently locked out of all Google services. This cannot be undone without significant effort and additional costs. For more about reactivating a disabled account, click here: http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1333913.
More information about VCCS Google Apps for Education can be found at http://www.email.vccs.edu/extra-apps.