Student e-mails switch providers

J. W. Burch, IV
October 21, 2009
Filed under News

Starting Nov. 2, the student e-mail system for Bakersfield College, Porterville College and Cerro Coso College will be switching providers and become mandatory. Students’ e-mails will now be run through G-mail for free, rather than through Microsoft Exchange at the schools’ cost.

“It is much more cost effective,” said David Palinsky, Kern Community College District director of information technology. “Also, it will increase the amount of storage space that students are allotted.”

Currently, students are given 50 megabytes with their student e-mails. With G-mail, students will receive seven gigabytes. Spring registration will include the process of creating a new e-mail. Current e-mail addresses hosted through Microsoft Exchange will be terminated Dec. 31.

Many students are already aware of the transition and have already changed to the new system. According to approximately 2-week-old data at the time of publication, 16,054 registered students have already switched, whereas 782 have not.

“There is a very small percentage of students that this is going to affect,” said Amber Chiang, BC director of marketing and public relations. “There is a very, very small population of the students that haven’t already made this effort.”

The e-mail transition began in mid-April, when early registration for the fall semester opened. Originally planned for implementation in early September, the transition was delayed two months due to issues involving the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law focused on privacy of vital student information and the student’s ability to access said information.

“The problem was that the students’ e-mail address and student ID number were included in the message,” Palinsky said. “And all it takes is that information to get into the wrong hands once.”

Part of why e-mails are becoming mandatory is because of the blacklisting problems over the past couple of semesters due to spammers.

For full information and proper procedure, students should visit www.bc.cc.ca.us/webmail or email.bakersfieldcollege.edu, where students can access a list of frequently asked questions, see a comparison between the old system and the new, and set up their new address.

“Students should continue to check all of their e-mail addresses that they have been using for communication throughout the fall semester,” Palinsky said. “Especially those taking online courses.”

Chiang said, “Students need to know to check the new one because that is how we (the school) are going to communicate with them with the most official information.”

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