It was Monday, January 7th that the University decided to change the email policy. Emails that were once linked to Blackboard were erased and reset to the default University email address ending in “@stonybrook.edu.” It was on that Monday that it was decided that emails that professors sent to students were no longer vital in being received.
The reason for the sudden switch that prevents students from submitting the email that they frequently use is the exact reason that it was once an option to students to change their email preference: “This change is being made to address a growing number of cases where important emails are missed and going unread which benefits neither the institution nor the individual,” according to the Division of Institute Technology website.
Now, the DoIT people sympathize, saying that they “understand that users may already have a private email address that they “prefer,” but there is too much confusion and uncertainty in allowing users to set their own preferred address in systems such as Blackboard.” It was a simple task to do, and it was often done during the admission period where students could make their first semester schedules. To say that it was confusing and that it would cause uncertainty only faults the DoIT team and how “complicated” they decided to make it.
By forcing students to use a concrete email address for school emails it does two things: makes it easier for the University to use it as an excuse when a student forgets to check it, and makes it extremely inconvenient for students to have all their emails in one account.
Now, the DoIT people understand this, or at least that’s what it says on their website: they are “making will allow users to forward their email (if they desire) in a way that is manageable while standardizing delivery options.” The only problem is that when a student goes to do this, it doesn’t work! If you already have a Gmail account, you can “connect” the accounts, but the emails from the school account won’t merge with the Gmail account. In order to read your emails you have to click on the “@stonybrook.edu” e-mail, login, login again because its a special server that requires two logins, and then, after all of that work, you can finally see that President Stanley sent an email about how windy it is.
The entire idea of having a default email, while extremely inconvenient, is a good one. The execution, however, is poor and causes frustration. Hopefully it won’t be long until DoIT realizes that they are worse off restricting student’s email preference. Until then, enjoy the consequences of forgetting to check your school email.