The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

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E-mail system may see update next year

Gannon University’s Information Technology Services and the Student Government Association are working together to update Gannon’s student e-mail system by the fall semester of 2011. If implemented, the update would be the first the system has seen in about 10 years, said Mark Jordano, director of ITS.

The new system, Microsoft’s Live@edu, is a free suite of coordinated Microsoft services and applications for use in higher education. It encompasses e-mail as well as video conferencing, instant messaging and calendar functions.

The e-mail system is essentially the desktop version of Microsoft Outlook available for use in a Web browser, said Gabe Shreckengost, SGA’s vice president of technology and a senior computer science major. He added that Live@edu will allow students 10 gigabytes of e-mail storage, whereas Webmail only allows for 100 megabytes.

Live@edu’s collaboration function allows students to work together on the same document without having to e-mail different versions of the file back and forth, much like a wiki or Google’s documents program. The video conferencing function stood out to Shreckengost, who said it would be useful for both students and faculty.

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“If somebody’s sick and can’t make it to class, they can join the class virtually,” he said. “I know Gannon is trying to make their campus more global, so they could have sessions here and broadcast them to anywhere in the world.”

Eight students on SGA, including Shreckengost, tested Live@edu during October, and testing will be expanded in the spring.

“We got a lot of positive feedback compared to the old system,” he said.

Shreckengost noted that some of the beta testers – himself included – use Google’s Gmail system as their primary account and did note during testing that Gmail provides a more user-friendly interface.

“This is a compromise,” he said of Live@edu. “And it’s a lot better than the Webmail.”

If all goes well during the second round of testing, Jordano said, Live@edu will be implemented in the fall in coordination with new software for the MyGannon portal. However, depending on how the trials go, ITS might only be able to offer the new e-mail system to incoming students.

Jordano said he received positive feedback from other schools that have implemented the Live@edu suite and that the Microsoft-hosted system would sync well with Microsoft Outlook, which Gannon faculty and staff use for e-mailing.

“Because we are a Microsoft shop for faculty and staff e-mail and calendaring, we can expect a greater level of integration with student e-mail and calendaring,” he said.

Some students seem receptive to the prospect of the change.

“I think that’s a fantastic idea,” said Ann Bartman, a senior occupational therapy major. “I tried to e-mail my professor last night and had to resend the e-mail about six times because there was a system error.”

Others, though, said they wouldn’t even notice the upgrade when using their Gannon e-mail.

“I just have it forwarded to my Yahoo account because I can get it on my phone,” said Jimmy Gruhm, a freshman mechanical engineering major. “I probably wouldn’t use it.”

ABBY BADACH

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