On January 11, all student e-mail accounts were switched over to Google’s Gmail service. Despite a week’s worth of daily warning e-mails stressing students to change over, many did not. Therefore, when the student’s Microsoft Exchange server was shut down, 572 students stopped receiving their e-mail. Dave Pecora, the Information and Technology Services (ITS) Support Director in charge of the Gmail project, said, “we could have waited forever and probably have got about every single student somehow, we regret that.”
The main reason to migrate to Gmail was to increase student and faculty storage space. By switching, the amount of storage in their e-mail account increased from 100 megabytes to seven gigabytes. With roughly 21,500 student accounts no longer on the Exchange system, ITS was able to increase faculty and staff storage space to three gigabytes.
The move came with a few other benefits such as Google Apps. With the expansion and convenience of Google Docs, many students are beginning to utilize them for many classes. They can share Google Calendar events, spreadsheets and word documents for classes.
Google fans were enthused about the change to Gmail. As Pecora recalls, “When we first opened up the [option] and students could first convert, there was a huge blast of students. It looked like the students were just waiting for it to open up.” Many North American universities have begun to convert to the Gmail system including University of Notre Dame, Arizona State and Trinity College Dublin. Google provides free e-mail services for universities in the hope that when students are done with school, they will create their own Gmail account.
The problem with unreceived emails has been fixed as of early February. The transfer was troublesome at first, but Pecora reported that all students are now receiving RIT e-mail through the Gmail system. “I do feel like we did a good job communicating with [the students.]”