by The Cowl Editor on February 10, 2017
By Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
Assistant News Editor
At the start of the new spring semester, students were greeted with an email that changed the way emails work on campus. Since the notification, all class mailing list emails have been compiled into one daily email: Morning Mail.
The decision to move from multiple emails to one email a day was prompted by student input. “Last year, many of our staff members mentioned that the topic of ‘too much email’ was coming up a lot in conversations with students,” said Student Affairs Communications and Assessment Specialist Alison Sjovall. “We decided to dig a little deeper and, over the summer, IT helped us to analyze the actual number of emails that went out to the student lists.”
According to Sjovall, her department learned that there was a double-digit percentage increase in the number of emails that went out through the student lists in the 2015-2016 school year versus the 2014-2015 school year. “We saw a similar trend for the prior year, so we thought it was time to think about how we approach email differently,” she said. “A lot of schools use a daily, submission-based email newsletter, so we wanted to see how that could work here.”
“I would say overall the feedback has been positive,” said Director of Student Activities Sharon Hay, who moderated emails sent to class mailing lists last year. She explained the input was gathered by both formal and informal feedback from individual students as well as by gathering input at student meetings. “Several times, students indicated that friends at other campuses received one email each morning,” she said.
Last semester, the idea and design of Morning Mail was presented to both Student Congress and BMSA, and student interviews were conducted to solicit input and feedback.
“We are only in the first few weeks, and while it is going really well, there are some technical glitches we’re working through,” said Sjovall. She explained a way to better format the email, format the portal pages, or the links individual announcements on Morning Mail leads to are all still being worked out. “We hope that it’s here to stay, but we’ll be gathering feedback over the course of the semester to make sure that it’s meeting student needs, and then take it from there,” she said.
For students looking to send emails regarding annoucments for approved events or activities to class email lists, they may send the email just as they usually would to the respective class emails: Pcfirstname.lastname@example.org; Pcemail@example.com; Pcfirstname.lastname@example.org; Pcemail@example.com. An announcement needs to be submitted by 4 p.m. the day before it is to go into the Morning Mail.
Sjovall explained that once an email is submitted to the student lists, it will then be approved by the moderator. “Once the moderator approves the message, it is forwarded to our Morning Mail account,” she said. “Each morning, we gather all the approved emails and create an announcement page for each submission on the Morning Mail page of the MyPC Portal.”
MyPC Portal is PC’s new email system via Microsoft’s Office 365 Platform. The system allows students and faculty to work online, make and share documents, and to easily collaborate with others. MyPC Portal also includes other student links such as Human Resources, the Strategic Plan for PC 2020, and Transportation Services.
Although many students like the idea of receiving less emails, other responses have been mixed. “I know everything is compiled so people could have easier access to things, but I barely look at it because there is just too much to look for,” said Theodore Kiritsy ’17.
“I am definitely not accustomed to the layout of the emails just yet,” said Caitlin Costello ’18. “The low compatibility with using it on our phones make it even harder to quickly glance over the announcements.”
Students with suggestions on how to improve the new system are encouraged to give their feedback. “We’re treating this semester as a pilot, so we’re collecting feedback and will continue to look for ways to improve,” said Sjovall. All feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.