On 27 March 2020, in response to the Italian government’s suspension of teaching activities for all Italian universities, Rev. Fr. Bernhard A. Eckerstorfer, rector of the Pontifical University Sant’Anselmo, gathered a small group of employees to discuss options for implementing distance learning for the professors and students.

Many years ago, the University acquired the G Suite for Education platform from Google. The University’s use of the platform had been limited mainly to Gmail and Google Drive, but the advisory group discovered that the platform was perfect for distance learning. By the end of this first meeting, the G Suite Anselmianum Team had been created to administer the platform and prepare it to enroll all of our faculty, staff and students.

In mid-April, the team sent emails to all of the professors and students of the Ateneo, informing them of their new Anselmianum accounts and providing instructions to enroll in the platform. Beginning next semester, all incoming faculty, staff and students will automatically receive a G Suite Anselmianum account.

G Suite for Education is a robust and integrated platform for education and distance learning. It collects the Google apps people use every day – apps like Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Translation, and Google Meet – and places these into one powerful platform called Classroom. Classroom lets professors create a class and invite their students to share material such as recorded Google Meet conferences, Slideshows, Photos, Documents and Spreadsheets and store these in one location called a “class”. Professors also can schedule class times on a Calendar and give quizzes and get real-time results with Forms.

Not only does G Suite for Education provide the apps for distance learning, Google also provides support to learn the platform. There are countless Google instructional pages, videos and support sites to help teachers and students use the apps they need to succeed in class. In addition, every Google instruction page provides a language choice at the bottom of the page. So learning how to use Classroom apps is easy.

In short, G Suite for Education is much more than just a Gmail address. It is a powerful, integrated platform that will help professors to teach, staff to work and students to learn both on and off the Sant’Anselmo campus. The administration is very excited about the prospects of G Suite Anselmianum and the possibilities this evolution will afford, particularly for international and monastic students.

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