Andy Lewis –
“Thank God we don’t get a hundred emails every morning anymore.”
This is just one example of the comments many shared by a number of grateful IC students. It was a long time coming, but the old campus announcement system is finally gone and with it, the days of getting dozens of daily campus announcement emails are too.
IC Chief Information Officer Patrick Brown received a degree in Information Management from Western Illinois University. According to Brown, the complaints about the old announcement system was not new to IC. The Information Technology Department had been talking about it internally for the last few years. IT then started meeting with the Student Senate to discuss an alternative in the Fall of 2013. According to Brown, “the Senate is who helped push this through and get everyone on board.”
When asked about any feedback he’s received since the change, Patrick responded, “it’s all been positive. I haven’t heard from anyone who is unhappy with the switch.”
The new system does not come without a few strings attached, however.
Reports have come from students all around campus about the odd times at which they receive the Class Digest emails. Often the time at which students receive the information makes half of it useless. Brown said that he had “heard from several seniors about not getting it until 7:30 or 8 at night.” When asked what time he received his Class Digest email, a freshman said that he “gets them around 11 in the morning every day. But half of the announcements on it are from the day before.”
When asked why the emails were sent at such odd times, Patrick informed that it had to do with the Google Group system. The way all the separate emails have been combined is by this system. Patrick says that “it’s weird that it doesn’t have that function but you can’t specify when you want it to go out.” Instead, it just automatically goes out to the group sometimes within a certain time period.
Brown’s advice is to make sure you get your announcements in several days in advance if you want people to read it beforehand. Also, if people want to make sure they’re seeing the announcements ahead of time, they can always go on to Connect2 and find that day’s Class Digest under ‘helpful links’ on the homepage.
Google Groups also explains why the new announcement system goes out as individual Class Digests. When asked about it, Brown responded that “they all say the same thing. They’re separated so that when a class graduates, we can just remove them instead of having to create a whole new group.”
Certain emails, however, do seem to still go out to the campus community completely separate of the new Digest mail. When asked about why , Patrick said that it is probably coming from a small group of people with access to reach out to the whole campus. Examples of people with this capability would be Susie Drake and Mark Lawson.
Another group with this capability is Chartwells’ Dining Services. Brown says that it would be nice to create a link on Connect2 and put the Daily Menu on their as, eventually, an alternative to the daily menu emails.
When asked if students can be expecting any more changes in the near future, Brown responded that they “may have the conversation again, especially if we get the new app. Then no emails or anything would be necessary.” He then went to talk about the IC App Team, which consists of 25 students and are currently deliberating about creating a college app.
Recently, Brown emailed the whole campus with examples of existing college apps (from SIU, Texas A&M, and Georgetown) and will send out a survey to the entire campus about it. Brown says that “some version of the app will be ready in the Fall.”
They will then take feedback on the app and see what changes need to be made from there.
Andy Lewis, from Biggsville, Illinois, is a freshman who is undeclared but planning on majoring in English with a Secondary Education concentration at Illinois College. Andy is an active member of Tomorrow’s Teachers and writer for The Rambler.