Web-based e-mail offers Kettering users accessibility worldwide

Mar 29, 2002

Kettering University's efforts to enhance and build on the institution's information technology (IT) resources recently improved with the implementation of a web-based e-mail resource called The Web Information Gateway (TWIG).

Kettering University's efforts to enhance and build on the institution's information technology (IT) resources recently improved with the implementation of a web-based e-mail resource called The Web Information Gateway (TWIG).

Ed Burger, manager of Technical Services for the Information Technology Dept., said faculty, staff and students can now access their e-mail messages from internet connections anywhere in the world using a simple web browser. This then allows faculty, staff and students to access a common location for e-mail rather than having to store e-mail messages locally on each machine they use.

"In essence, people don't need to bring a lap top or other computer device with them when they travel and reconfigure it for each location," Burger said. "All they need to do is stop in at a library, for example, and use the library computers to access TWIG to get their e-mail messages."

Burger said TWIG makes Kettering's IT infrastructure more useful to users. This is of particular importance to students who believe the University's current e-mail system is cumbersome and difficult to use. With TWIG, individuals from the Kettering community can now access e-mail messages on the Kettering server from anywhere at anytime, which makes the University a more viable option for hosting e-mail accounts. Burger believes this will also increase the number of students who regularly use their Kettering e-mail addresses, thus allowing for increased ease of contact through electronic communication.

Another important benefit of students using TWIG is the ability of the faculty and staff to send an e-mail message to students "more efficiently and with more confidence," said Burger.

"This enhancement is another step toward providing better IT resources at Kettering," he explained. The TWIG web page contains the Kettering University announcements. This generates "more exposure" to the Kettering announcement page by posting would-be mass e-mail messages as announcements instead of storing thousands of copies of the same message in the individual mail accounts.

"So far, we have received a lot of positive feedback. One student remarked that they would now be able to get rid of their hotmail account. We want the Kettering community to know that we deliver on our promises and listen to input from all users as we work toward making our IT infrastructure more dependable and opportunistic for everyone."

The justification for offering web-based e-mail was established based on numerous requests from both students and Kettering University departments. In terms of Kettering's overall IT strategic plan, TWIG benefits the IT infrastructure by making it more user-friendly and, as Burger described it, represents "another step toward providing better and more efficient IT resources at Kettering."

Although Kettering is not the creator of the TWIG program, it is an ongoing project in the open-source community. Kettering does not have any plans to enhance TWIG in the near future, but according to Burger, if there are specific areas that would benefit the University in terms of usage, the Information Technology Dept. may investigate them to make TWIG even more practical for users. For instance, Burger noted that his department would like to see new developments in filtering messages. And without the important input of faculty, staff and students from Kettering, the availability of TWIG may not have been an option whatsoever.

"I'm very thankful to all the students, faculty and staff who took time to express their need for web-based e-mail," Burger said. "I am particularly pleased with their willingness to help the IT Dept. evaluate the different programs that are available."

To learn how to use TWIG, visit https://webtools.kettering.edu/twig. Users will receive a number of prompts to secure their connection, connect and correctly use TWIG.

For more detailed information about this and other resources available through Kettering Information Technology Dept., call (800) 955-4464, ext. 8324, or e-mail helpdesk@kettering.edu.

Written by Gary J. Erwin
(810) 762-9538
gerwin@kettering.edu