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Are we wasting resources managing student email
I am in the camp of no longer wanting to provide them. We still do at our College (Gmail for Students), and we also have a pretty low stat on account usage, so I take every opportunity to remind people that this really isn’t necessary anymore. Emails being provided by the institution were considered a very nice benefit 10+ years ago, and it was especially awesome if they let you retain it after you left. But, nowadays, I believe kids often get an email when they are a few years old, and then proceed to get several more over the next 15+ years.
We have, I believe, two viable options that we should be pursuing instead (and I believe some institutions are already doing):
1. Just record a preferred email address that the Student provides.
2. Only provide institution alias addresses that forwards to a “real”, preferred email address provided by the Student.
In both cases, we need to provide a way (web-based) for the Student to update their preferred email address.
I also regularly hear “the institution needs a valid email address to provide official communications to”, but I am hopeful that over time I can gain some traction in persuading the key stakeholders by using either of these two methods in conjunction with the “hold” process that seems to be used for many other occasions where we need the Student to provide updated data. If we don’t have an email address or the one we have bounces, then couldn’t we implement an automated process to put some hold on the account until a new one is provided that works. Now that emails are free for the taking, there is no reason I can think of where someone cannot provide one to us. Even though we use Gmail, and hence it is free, we still have to worry about provisioning / de-provisioning them and the related integrations into our IDM and other enterprise systems, and answer help desk calls related to the use of Gmail and other Google apps, etc. This takes real cycles that could be better spent elsewhere in support of our institution.
Let’s face it, we can never ensure the emails are actually read – no matter what process we use. But, wouldn’t you agree that if the student provides us with one of the 3 – 5+ email addresses they already have by the time they start at our institution, that the likelihood they actually see (let alone read) our emails will go up?! Most Students do not want yet another email address to add to their collection.
I hope to gain some new insights into this topic by reading other’s comments.
Randall S. Jobski, PMP
Director - Enterprise Systems
Lansing Community College
ITIL v3 Foundational Certified