New e-mail service launching in mid-November

St. John’s students will soon have enhanced e-mail capabilities through the St. John’s Central system.

The new service, called Microsoft [email protected]edu, will to launch in mid-November and is set to offer a slew of new features.

Maura Woods, executive director of Applications at the Information Technology department, said the system is currently in its pilot stage.

Last week, two dozen students were chosen to be the first group to try out the new service’s capabilities, which Woods said was met with a favorable response.

“There has been much student dissatisfaction with the current e-mail system,” she said. “It wasn’t a robust e-mail platform and we needed to get on a better platform.”

Woods also said the new system will “give students the tools they need [since] more and more professors are asking for things to be done online.”

Some of the features of Microsoft [email protected] include 10 GB of space, spam control, 5 GB sky drive and the ability to send and receive HTML messages.

Woods said the 10 GB of space is more than what Gmail accounts currently offers mentions that the interface will look similar to Hotmail’s.

Gary Young, associate director of the Information Technology department said students will be able to share documents easily through the Sky Drive, a virtual hard drive where students will be able to store and share their work with others. He adds this will lessen the need for students to save their work on a portable flash drive.

Young explained that students will find it easier to collaborate on group projects within the drive rather than e-mailing attached documents back and forth, which takes up space.

The hard drive will be separated into personal, shared and public folders in which the user can set up what documents they want to share with others and can be accessed from anywhere.

Woods said the switch to the new service will likely take place during hours when students will be least affected by the downtime.

“We really spend a lot of time planning but we would make it as easy as possible because we do not want to interrupt the service,” she said.

Students will not have to worry about creating new e-mail addresses because the new system will be an “add-on to the banner system.” The e-mail link will directly connect students to the new system on St. John’s Central.

Young said that students will still have their old e-mail messages but will have the option of moving them to the new e-mail system. Once the system is in place, students will start receiving their messages through the new system.

He explained that there will be several announcements and advertisements where students will be provided with directions on the new system.

“We want to make sure people are ready,” Young said.

Work stations will also be placed in the computer labs for those students who have questions about how to use the system.
Woods added, “Our role is to make the students happy,” and that she hopes it is received well so students can get their work done easier.

Pharmacy major Jina Kang is looking forward to the new improvements that are set to take place.

“The present e-mail is very old fashioned,” Kang said.

“I remember when everyone got the new Facebook, no one could figure it out. But as long as it’s not completely outlandish [like the new Facebook], I’d like it.”

Additionally, Kang thinks it is “feasible that they are going to do it while we’re on campus but preferably during the weekend.”
Student James Ferraro agreed that the new system will be beneficial.

“I like the current system but I’m not worried about the transition. I think it’s going to help especially because we’ll be able to work on collaborated projects.”

However, other students like Steven Bitler feels the change will not affect him.

“It doesn’t make much of a difference to me because I use AOL. I only use St. John’s Central to e-mail professors. I’m used to my own e-mail so I don’t see a reason to switch now.”

Bitler added, “I first thought the current system was confusing but simple to use. Even if people aren’t going to use it, it’s not going to affect them in a bad way. But I’m still going to stick to my traditional e-mail unless a professor recommends us to use it.”