After two years of work to establish a new campus e-mail system, UC Davis is officially the first UC campus to switch to Gmail, Google’s email program.
Students will keep their existing ucdavis.edu e-mail addresses, but will be able to utilize Gmail features and more than 7GB of storage.
E-mail accounts will be switched over according to year in school. The process began on Oct. 6 with the Graduate School of Management and Law School, and will run through fall quarter.
The migration process for a student’s individual account is estimated to take between 15 and 45 minutes, according to davismail.ucdavis.edu. The department of information and educational technology will send e-mails to student accounts two days before the switch will occur.
As the process begins students will receive an e-mail alerting them it has begun, and they will be asked to keep their account inactive until receiving an e-mail informing them of a successful transfer.
While Google provides its services, controls and interface, UCD will not be yielding central control. Morna Mellor, the project sponsor and director of IET Data Center and Client Services, emphasized that the change is exterior only and that UC Davis will still manage campus system activity.
“Security of e-mail will be identical to the current security we have in place,” she said. “We will retain absolute administrative right over the servers.”
Junior comparative literature major Daniel Harkin was part of a 500-student pilot project that took place last year. He was very pleased with the results and especially appreciated that there weren’t any traces of Geckomail, he said.
“It’s way more convenient than Geckomail,” Harkin said. “It’s just perfectly organized, basically just Gmail with a UC Davis logo in the corner.”
Also eliminated is the current double log-in, which requires a username and password to get in to the UC Davis’ Central Authentication System, and again moments later to view e-mail within MyUCDavis.
Harkin said his favorite feature is how replies to a thread of an original are stacked together in one Google conversation – rather than as individuals.
“I’m a DJ at KDVS, so I have a lot of traffic in my inbox, and it really helps to not have 25 short replies listed as individual e-mails,” he said.
Gaston De Ferrari, DavisMail project manager and director of IET Application Development and Data Administration, said the pilot team came up with a number of positive findings that assured developers that Gmail was a worthwhile endeavor.
“We gained overwhelming support and feedback from the pilot participants, who are strongly in favor of providing this service to all students,” he said.
De Ferrari said Gmail integrates well with UCD’s “technical environment” and requires minimal levels of user support to maintain a simpler and more efficient online community.
“It would also enhance the benefit and opportunity for the Alumni Association as well as schools, colleges and other campus units to stay in touch with former students,” he said.
S tudents can check davismail.ucdavis.edu for updates.
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org