What's new with DavisMail

The recent move of student email accounts from Geckomail to DavisMail continues to elicit interest.

Geckomail, powered by Cyrus, is the Web interface to the campus email service for staff and faculty. It also served students until fall 2008, when Information and Educational Technology moved almost all undergraduate and graduate student email accounts to DavisMail, powered by Google's Gmail. (Students at the UC Medical Center still use a separate service.) More than 34,000 student email accounts were moved.

DavisMail offers students a rich set of features and enormous data storage, plus access to popular communication tools in Google Apps for Education. The transfer went well, with about 1 percent of the students contacting the IT Express Computing Services Help Desk for help in the transition.

On Nov. 24, when IET updated the Campus Council for Information Technology on the DavisMail project, the council discussed options for including faculty and staff accounts in DavisMail. Privacy and security are common concerns, because the messages would be stored on servers run by Google, not by the campus. The move would give faculty and staff the same benefits and features that students gained with DavisMail.

Any transition of staff and faculty accounts would have to meet several conditions. The UC Office of the President would have to negotiate an appropriate contract with Google; the office has begun discussions, but no contract has been developed to date. The contract for student accounts was negotiated last year.

If an agreement for faculty and staff to join DavisMail is reached, the campus would handle any migration of their accounts in much the same way it did with the students--with a pilot, survey, targeted communications, discussions with campus constituencies, and so on.

Interest in DavisMail extend s to other UC campuses. On Jan. 21, IET held an online seminar to discuss lessons learned from the move to DavisMail. The department will present a modified version of the seminar in April through Educause, which promotes the smart use of IT to advance higher education.