California State University, Fresno students are about to experience a major change to their email system according to Jim Michael, associate director of Information Technology Services (ITS).
According to Michael, the new Google Application Education edition for students is a project that has been underway for about three years. “We want something that does more than e-mail,” he says. “We want to be able to meet the students’ needs.”
The new e-mail server will allow students to access their e-mail with the same additional features that Gmail offers, including a calendar, access to Google docs, site features and instant messaging.
Upon entering the new Gmail site, students are greeted with four different options: e-mail, calendar, documents and sites. The e-mail option allows students to e-mail, using the same format Gmail currently uses. Using the calendar option allows users to organize their schedule and share or view their friends’ and family’s calendars. Google docs lets students upload and save virtually any type of document so they will have access to them at any time. The sites portal allows its users to create and publish a new page.
Users can also customize their reminders and choose to be notified by e-mail or by receiving a text message.
Nathan Sheldon from the Information Technology Services department is looking forward to the change.
“The current student e-mail system is aging,” Sheldon says, “and the functionality is not up to what students expect.”
Also, Michael said switching servers could potentially save an estimated $25,000.
Under Sun ONE Messaging, the student e-mail server Fresno State has used for more than 10 years, money is spent every year to renew software and licensing. However, Google provides the e-mail server and licensing at no cost.
The tentative schedule for the new Google program to launch is set to start late December of this year or at the beginning of next year in January, and will only be available to students who wish to switch over and get a feel for the new program, Michael said.
The Google Apps Edition program will be completely in effect until the week of April 18, 2010.
Currently, there are approximately half a dozen student pilot testers on campus who will provide feedback before the change he adds.
When students are ready to make the switch, they must sign up on a Web site, which will be released at a later time. It will automatically provide students with the new information and domain name.
Although the student ID name will remain the same, the domain name will change to @mail.fresnostate.edu. The change in the domain name will only affect students since faculty and staff will stay with the same domain name, @csufresno.edu
“I am really excited about the new changes,” Michael said. “I hope it can be really helpful for students.”