Technology woes are nothing new to Georgetown students: Spotty wireless coverage, arcane media adaptors and a lack of power outlets characterize student life on the Hilltop. However, by one measure, being a modern student at Georgetown is about to get a lot easier. According to University Information Services, the archaic GUMail system is going to be scrapped for the Google-hosted solution known as Google Apps Education Edition.

Georgetown has made an excellent choice in Google Apps Education Edition.The new Gmail program will increase each student’s mail storage capacity from the measly GUMail quota of 20 megabytes to two gigabytes, or 2,000 megabytes. The service comes with other benefits such as a community calendar, the ability to share papers and presentations with Google Docs, and Google Talk, which will provide students with the opportunity to chat with professors online and classes to engage in live multi-user chats. It brings together all these valuable Web tools, enabling users to access them all under one account.

Even from a financial standpoint, this system makes far more sense. Google will not charge the university, and the former financial burden on IT services of support costs of maintaining the e-mail system will be completely removed. Furthermore, by implementing Google’s alternative, Georgetown will shift the burden of IT management to the Internet giant’s experts and allow UIS to focus on important tasks like expanding wireless and assisting with students’ personal technology emergencies. The transition should also be relatively easy for many.Gmail and its brethren are already extensively used by students – often as their e-mail client of choice.

Google Apps Education Edition will also provide us with an opportunity to promote a collaborative learning environment for students and faculty. We hope that professors will embrace this technology and take advantage of the opportunities the many Google programs will present.

We are thrilled by this change. Students have been complaining about GUMail for years, and it is heartening that Georgetown is finally responding to students’ discontent with the service. However, we are forced to ask – what took you so long?

GUMail is an embarrassingly outdated product that is often the cause of unneeded difficulty and trouble. It is an inflexible, limited solution to one of education’s most necessary tools – digital communication. Student-faculty communication is often impeded by bounce-backs, the result of an exceedingly small storage allocation, and despite the efforts of UIS, spam continues to plague Georgetown’s mail service.

Students and faculty have wrestled with GUMail for too long while options like Google Apps Education Edition have flourished since 2006. Thousands of educational institutions on six continents are already using Google Apps. Its users represent a wide array of universities and colleges from Abilene Christian University to Stanford and the National University of Rwanda. We hope that in the future, Georgetown can be on the cutting edge with these universities. For now, we are just thrilled that Georgetown is making this long-overdue improvement to its e-mail system and that it has chosen such an efficient e-mail service, and we encourage students and faculty to use it to their full advantage.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.