Here is an announcement from Google about the Gmail for Campuses. But a more interesting aspect is that they extend the offer to any other schools or organizations.
I think it is a bold, innovative move. I did not see any reference to the costs so I am assuming it is a free service. If it is, then imagine the number of non-profits and NGOs who can benefit from this.
But there is something more in the announcement that tickles my imagination. Let us imagine that Gmail is the student’s next desktop. There are lots of interesting possibilities. Structuring email messages for school related activity. Using email to blog assignments and projects. Integration with Google groups for reading-groups, project-groups. Integration with RSS feeds to receive announcements and notifications.
I will come back to this subject later (when I have a bit more time to elaborate on structured-email).
I just read Rober Scobles blog of a similar offering from Microsoft months ago. I wonder whether Yahoo does it too. In that case these is a trend. None of them mention whether it is a free service or paid for by colleges.