Students logging onto their MyPage accounts this semester received a notification that their MyMail email accounts were switching over to the new Google BruinMail accounts starting Aug. 17.
Students have 120 days to migrate their mail and contacts over from the MyMail account to the BruinMail before the old system is obsolete.
The MyMail system only offered students 100MB of storage whereas Google offers students 25GB of storage space for email and Google Apps such as Google Docs, Google Groups and Google Calendar. These features help users to collaborate with other students, keep track of homework due dates and schedules all online.
“MyMail was dated, had limited space, was clunky to use, the user tools were very early nineties technology,” said Darren Hunter, programmer analyst for SLCC. “Google offers us a lot of options especially as students are collaborating and using the internet more. Also Google opens up for smart phones and tablets where the MyMail had problems. This is an upgrade in technology. Their service meets the needs that the people have.”
Students will now be able to access their BruinMail through their smart phones and can immediately get their mail where with the old MyMail account that was difficult to do. There is also the advantage of working together with other students and grouping functions.
“The only two things that should impact [students] is that one, they got a new email address and number two, if they had forwarded the MyMail account to their personal email, they need to go into Google Apps and forward it to their preferred email address,” said Casey Moore Director of Information Technology at SLCC. “Otherwise they should notice no difference.”
Moore emphasized that if students have signed up for a wait listed class to make sure that they have checked their new email or start having it forwarded to their personal email because they have only 24 hours to respond back about getting in the class. Also many professors may have sent information to students through the new email.
According to Moore, the change was partly motivated by lack of compatibility between the old system and the new software developments through the MyPage interface. Another issue was with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and the accessibility for students with disabilities.
“MyMail was much less ADA compliant,” said Moore. “The Google Apps is not a hundred percent but they are working very hard to get themselves compliant.”
Although this change is an upgrade in the system and technology, not everyone is happy or excited about the change.
“I hate it,” said Michael Summa, a SLCC student in the nursing program. “I only have 110 days to change all my emails. It sounds like I have to reestablish all my email stuff and then there are all these extras with it. It’s kind of like the phone. It was frustrating to see [the change to Google mail]. You’re better off with a Hotmail or Yahoo! account because they’re not going to change from Yahoo! to something else. And who knows what if they decide to change from BruinMail to something else, if Google charges them. I was disappointed with the change.”
Summa expressed his concern about how he had to now import all his addresses and inform others of his new email address. Some question why messages sent to the MyMail addresses will not be forwarded to a user’s new BruinMail address. Some students who know and are used to the old system are having a difficult time getting accustom to the new format and change.
“The transition is probably hard to reeducate yourself to the new format but once you’re back into that and back up to speed it might be better,” said Summa. “I’m not seeing it yet.”
Some face a learning curve to get to know the new interface. For others already using Gmail it will be an easier change and will offer more options.
“I love it,” said SLCC student Amy Cutter. “It’s like using Gmail. I’m able to link my calendar, so I know when my homework is due. I actually like it. Once they get it up and running better I’ll be really excited.”
New messages have already begun to be sent to student’s new addresses which end in @BruinMail.slcc.edu rather than the familiar @mymail.slcc.edu. All user names and passwords will remain the same. Students will have the option of keeping their new BruinMail address long after they have left college, to keep contacts and important information handy.
“[The change] should be really smooth,” said Moore. “There are some instructions on slcc.edu/google about how to forward your mail and all that kind of stuff. If they have any problems just call the help desk.”
Students can access the new BruinMail at the top right hand corner of their MyPage account. Students needing help or have questions can contact the help desk at 801-957-5555 or Help.Desk@slcc.edu.