On August 27, Korea University (KU) launched a new e-mail service. If one clicks the mail menu on KU portal, it automatically connects to the new e-mail page. For those who are unfamiliar with the system, KU Office of Information Technology and Service (KUOITS) provides detailed information on the usage guide website. Despite inconveniences that might be caused, there was definitely a reason for KU administration to change the system. After all, KU people can now utilize much more diverse features by using an e-mail platform linked with various Google services.
According to KUOITS, the change in e-mail system is part of the plan to create a much better way of communicating for KU members. Many of the world’s most prestigious universities have already switched to a collaboration platform with Google or Microsoft. Following this trend, KU decided to proactively use such a platform rather than look for an in-house solution. KUOITS is doing its utmost to provide a more comfortable and sophisticated e-mail system during this transitional period. Some still do not fully understand the purpose of the change; however, an improved functionality of the system indicates the reason.
The new e-mail system is based on the Google platform. Through a collaboration with Google, students are enjoying various useful features and KU’s new e-mail system is expected to take advantage of the functions. The new e-mail service can provide limitless storage for all KU members including students, faculty members, staff and alumni. It is also compatible with smartphones. Besides, it can be linked with Google calendar and it provides various functions such as video conferencing and chatting. Users’ e-mail accounts will remain the same and one can still use the previous e-mail system until the end of 2019. However, messages in the previous mailbox should be moved by users themselves because Google does not allow other e-mail systems to transfer in a lump.
The significant changes that caught people’s attention were the read receipt and undo send functions. Read receipt, in general, is a function which notifies the sender that their message was opened. In the previous e-mail system, however, this was possible only if the user sent a message to a person who uses the same KU e-mail platform. The most problematic aspect of the previous mail system was that it was not compatible with smartphones or other e-mail platforms such as Google and Microsoft. Since the problem is now solved, KUOITS expects members of KU to use their e-mail more pragmatically, regardless of the platforms their recipients use.
Amid such a positive change, there is one task left for KUOITS to solve. Currently in China, many internet services including Google, Facebook and Twitter are blocked. Therefore, KUOITS planned to provide a virtual private network (VPN) service in September and to provide an alternate e-mail address for the Chinese users in October. According to Professor Lee Kyungho (Graduate School of Information Security), the new e-mail service and other social networking services are all available if one uses the VPN service provided by KU.
KUOITS has almost reached a prompt conclusion on the matter with China. Professor Kim said that it is continuing to work to make its system functionally better based on the feedback it receives from communication channels on campus; for instance, Faculty Senate of KU (FSKU) and KU Student Union (KUSU). The new e-mail system seems to be finding its place thanks to the care and dedication of all the staffs in KU, who have been concerned with maximizing existing information technology (IT) infrastructure and resources.