IT seeks student opinion on system

Xuelu Pan Washburn Review

MyWashburn student accounts will employ a new email and calendar system next December, according to the news release of Washburn Information Technology Services. 

Right now there are two options for the new system: Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365. Both have similar features and improvements over Washburn’s existing email/calendar system. To hear students’ preferences, Washburn IT Service has posted an online survey, which has already closed and received over 315 responses. 

“What we can see from the survey result is that people like what they are using,” said Floyd Davenport, CIO of Washburn IT Service. “According to the feedbacks, we got more preferences to Google.” 

Google started its Gmail service earlier and still has a remarkable number of users. Microsoft, who later caught up with Windows Live Mail and Outlook Express, is trying to seize the market by beautifying its operation interface. In order to appeal interactively to its users, Windows is seeking ways to create a newer, cleaner look. Both of the two companies are featured in the Cloud email service, which will still be free to Washburn users. 

 “The primary reason is that the current one will  no longer be supported by the company that has business contacts with Washburn,” said Davenport.

 He went on to say another important reason is because of the complaints about the current system. 

“We found that the current interaction face worked poorly on portable devices,” said Davenport.

The updating process will comparably last for a long time. Washburn IT Service has already held a meeting with Wakeforst University on April 5 and another meeting with a university in Boston the following week after. Wake Forest is using Google while the latter university takes Windows. The purpose of the meetings was to collect useful information and hear experiences from users of the two different systems. 

“Privacy is our first concern,” said Davenport. “We’ll make sure that either company signs an agreement to protect students’ privacy when they provide free services”. 

For Washburn students, Google is still preferred by most of them.

Jennifer Kellert, a junior physical therapist assistant major, says she will choose Google.

“It’s easy and convenient,” said Kellert. 

Other students are also willing to try Windows, though they’re using Google right now.

“I’m using Google right now because it’s simple, but I don’t mind trying Microsoft in the future,” said Chloe Delatorre, junior history major.  

For those who would like more information, please contact Davenport at 670.2066 or visit http://blog.washburn.edu/technology.