Thursday, October 29, 2009

Student e-mail accounts on the wane?

A short piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that the institutional practice of creating student e-mail accounts may be waning:

So says a report issued by Educause, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of information technology in higher education. The “Core Data Service Fiscal Year 2008 Summary Report” took information from nearly 930 colleges and universities regarding their IT practices and environments.

It found, among other things, that in 2008 nearly 10 percent of associate, baccalaureate, and master’s institutions as well as 25 percent of doctoral institutions were considering putting an end to student e-mail addresses because so many students were already using personal e-mail accounts. That is a large shift from the 1 to 2 percent of institutions that were considering this in 2004.
Of course students are already using personal accounts. But that’s hardly a good reason to drop student accounts, as different accounts serve different purposes. The first piece of advice in my post How to e-mail a professor:
Write from your college or university e-mail account. That immediately lets your professor see that your e-mail is legitimate and not spam. The cryptic or cutesy or salacious personal e-mail address that might be okay when you send an e-mail to a friend is not appropriate when you’re writing to a professor.
More advice for any students reading: if you haven’t yet done so, set up a Gmail account like so —
— or as close to that as you can get. This address will serve you well in the world beyond college, and if your school drops student accounts, you’ll have an appropriate address for academic use.

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