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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.

 

Thanks!

 

Randall S. Jobski, PMP

Director - Enterprise Systems

Lansing Community College

ITIL v3 Foundational Certified

jobskir@lcc.edu

517-483-1760 (w)

517-582-5003 (c)

 

Comments

I totally agree with you Randy.  I would go one more step and say that the institution does NOT need a valid  e-mail address from each student.  If students don’t want messages from us, they don’t have to get them – but then they suffer all the consequences. If we could get a better means to categorize outgoing messages (that could be extremely difficult), and give students various contact methods, we could serve all our needs better.

 

For example, suppose we had categories such as

Emergency

Class cancellation

Campus events

Selling stuff

Junk mail from the president

Campus events

Administrative issues (registration, grading)

Advisor messages

Instructor messages

Bills

 

Also suppose the student could have a preferred channel (e-mail, SMS, postal mail) for each message type.

Also suppose the university senders would properly categorize their messages.

 

Then students wouldn’t get any unwanted messages, and would get them all in their preferred channel. They would be free to not activate any types, and they would suffer all consequences for doing so. Perhaps by allowing students to sift out all the unwanted messages they would actually pay attention to the ones they do want.

 

Kevin

 

To me the answer to the question is yes.

We are an institution that dropped undergraduate student email several years ago.  For us it was a question of the effectiveness of the communication, not whether we controlled it.  We knew that students did not regularly check university email so it took them days or weeks to respond to requests and many did not respond at all.  We lost contact with many alumni because they abandoned the university email upon graduation.  We also contrasted our email approach to our traditional, paper mail approach.  For paper mail we have been asking students where they want their mail sent and we send it there.  It has worked well for us for over two hundred years so why would it not work for email? 

There are issues with students abandoning email addresses etc. but we are seeing far less of this than the abandonment rate of our university email address.  Most of our students have had an address since elementary school so they are less likely to give it up.  Since it is used for other things they are more likely to read it and keep it.  The proof is in the results in that they now respond in minutes or hours rather than the previous response time of days or weeks.  For alumni, we are seeing the highest rate of engagement with the recent graduates than we have seen in a very long time.

We started providing email to students decades ago because we were the only ones who could.   I think that we and the world have evolved way beyond that now and email is just a commodity.   

There is always a cost of providing a service, even if you contract it out to a free provider.  Even if you automated the provisioning etc. there is effort in setting all that up and maintaining it.  Things will go wrong so there are calls to the help desk etc.  I would sooner put my efforts into value add products such as mobile apps than providing a commodity email service. 

When we looked at the image of the university and the advantages of having the students and alumni use our email address, they are minimal.  They also have a risk because during our process we found that one person was using their email to run a business.  What type of business our domain was associated with I don’t know but it could have been anything.

Our Registrar probably sums it up best when he sent me an email a couple of years after the change in which he said that getting rid of undergraduate email was the right thing to do and he couldn’t understand why other institutions don’t do the same. 

….Perry

 

 

Perry M. Sisk

Senior Director, Information Technology Systems and Support

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street, Halifax, NS

Canada B3H 3C3

902-420-5474

Perry.Sisk@smu.ca

 

 

 

Rachel, since the Students would need to authenticate to a web-based application (portal or other) in both of my proposed solutions before they provided their updated email address, I would expect this would cover the concern you raise below. Mike C., I am not sure, but I believe - holistically speaking - there would be less work (far less?) involved in providing an alias than a fully functioning email inbox. But, to be honest, I only throw that option out there because I think there are some that still believe there is great value in the Students using the institution provided email address. I am not so sure that is true, but this alias method would allow this to occur. If I had my way, I would just go with my option #1 and just allow them to provide whatever email they want, and we just send our correspondence to that - no aliasing involved. Thanks, Randall S. Jobski, PMP Director - Enterprise Systems Lansing Community College ITIL v3 Foundational Certified jobskir@lcc.edu 517-483-1760 (w) 517-582-5003 (c) -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Rachel Desmarais Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 11:09 AM To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: Are we wasting resources managing student email
Message from mike.cunningham@pct.edu

For those who have make this change or are thinking about it, would you required an email to be provided as a condition of acceptance? Would you make it a required field on the application? How do you deal with the email systems that will not deliver anything without the sending address being in the receivers address book or some process by which the first email has to be manually validated as coming from a person and is not spam? I would think that would eat up a lot of time by someone in admissions after the first college email went to that address? We collect a personal email address on our application and of 100 apps I bet 10% are entered incorrectly and need fixed or the bounce is just ignored. -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Randy Jobski Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 12:34 PM To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [CIO] Are we wasting resources managing student email Rachel, since the Students would need to authenticate to a web-based application (portal or other) in both of my proposed solutions before they provided their updated email address, I would expect this would cover the concern you raise below. Mike C., I am not sure, but I believe - holistically speaking - there would be less work (far less?) involved in providing an alias than a fully functioning email inbox. But, to be honest, I only throw that option out there because I think there are some that still believe there is great value in the Students using the institution provided email address. I am not so sure that is true, but this alias method would allow this to occur. If I had my way, I would just go with my option #1 and just allow them to provide whatever email they want, and we just send our correspondence to that - no aliasing involved. Thanks, Randall S. Jobski, PMP Director - Enterprise Systems Lansing Community College ITIL v3 Foundational Certified jobskir@lcc.edu 517-483-1760 (w) 517-582-5003 (c) -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Rachel Desmarais Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 11:09 AM To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: Are we wasting resources managing student email

As always Casey, you are continuing to provide great data to the group.

 

Question: We provided Live@EDU for about 6 years and now Office 365 for Education for the last year and going into the future.  Why does the survey still call it Hotmail?  Even Hotmail no longer exists as the consumer product is now called Outlook.com

 

Is the survey measuring consumer products and not the institutional products?

 

Hope you are doing well.

Jim

 

Hi,

If we were using an isolated, email only solution, I would recommend not providing email to students. We do not provide email to alumni and we do know that it is next to impossible to keep alumni personal email addresses current and on file. 

When our community believes that we do not have to push messages at students, we will likely let it go, but we are not there. Integrating our email into our LMS and other services has helped its use. Our students probably appreciate Google Drive and resources more than emal. 

Theresa

On Monday, July 1, 2013, Timothy Pierson wrote:

We are preparing a migration to office 365 for our students when I discovered that we have over 40,000 student email accounts, with only 1200 or so of them having ever been used.  Of course I was not surprised as I have seen this at other institutions that I have worked. 

 

Have we ever discussed whether we should be providing e-mail at all?  I have heard everything including the need to have an email for official correspondence and that development uses these email addresses to communicate during fund raising or alumni events. 

 

Is it a reality that students do not want and neglect these email accounts?  Do we really need to be managing accounts that are not being used?  Would love to hear your opinions.

 

Tim

 

Timothy A. Pierson 

Associate VP, Information Technology and CIO

Piedmont Technical College

Lex Walters Campus

620 N. Emerald Rd. | P.O. Box 1467

Greenwood, SC 29648

Pierson.t@ptc.edu

Phone:  864.941.8437

Mobie:  864.992.6741

CISSP, CCNA:Security, MCSE: Security

 

"It is not the critic who counts; the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short time and time again; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt



 
 
Timothy A. Pierson
CISSP, MCSE WIndows 2003: Security
 
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.



--
Sent from mobile
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

I was in a meeting with our academic advisors who were talking about using email, rather than paper mail, for an official notification of some sort. 

I pointed out that there would be no way of knowing whether the students received the email or not. 

They just shrugged and said they knew that students didn't read most of the paper mailings they sent out either. 

It got me to wondering if whether those of us in IT are perhaps more sensitive to the "guaranteed delivery" issue than some of our colleagues in the functional offices who've learned to accept what is.

- David

David Stack, PhD
Deputy CIO
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
david@uwm.edu

From: "Tim Pierson" <Timothy.Pierson@LIVE.COM>
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:02:37 PM
Subject: Re: [CIO] Are we wasting resources managing student email

Thanks to everyone who responded.  It looks like there is a split amongst those who see value and those who question that value.  On the subject of guaranteed delivery; Have we really delivered our message if we know the email account is effectively abandoned by the majority of students?    

 

Thanks to all,

 

Tim


********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

David,

 

I totally agree. Reading and understanding messages have always been (and I believe always will be) an optional activity. If people don’t want to be contacted, or don’t want to listen, there’s no way to make them behave otherwise. Perhaps we can learn something from the advertising industry – give the reader something they don’t mind getting; it could be informative or entertaining. How could we reduce the unwanted mail that we send our own students? If we could do so, perhaps they would start reading more.

 

Kevin Shalla

Academic and Enrollment Services

University of Illinois at Chicago

 

I think David's point is important.  As techs, we tend to use a technical definition of guaranteed delivery.  Instead, our university decided years ago to put the burden of responsibility for discovery of what is going on, on the students.  By policy, we state that students are responsible compliance for bill payment and deadline items that are sent to their university email account, and that their university email account is the address to which this items would be mailed.  If they choose not to read the message, they are not absolved of complying with the deadline.  Many of our students forward their university email to a personal account, but if they change accounts and forget the forward fix, we still hold them to the deadlines that we announced in the message.

Theresa


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