The University wants to treat students as individuals, and one very visible way they fail to do this with Email and Diary has been the use of number based email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org as the default address used by and to contact students.
As EUSA president I’m working with Information Services to change this.
What message are we sending?
There are two things wrong with the current format: using the matriculation instead of student’s names; and the format @sms.ed.ac.uk instead of @ed.ac.uk (SMS stands for Student Mail Service, the precursor to Office 365).
This sends two unfortunate messages: that students are numbers and that they are not full members of the University community. Both these implications are wrong and we are changing things to make this clear.
Other email addresses
All students are currently assigned name based email addresses ending @sms.ed.ac.uk based on their name (C.P.Kilduff@sms.ed.ac.uk for me). These work for delivering email but aren’t well advertised and do not appear in the address book, as the from address when sending email or in other places.
From December, these email addresses will be the default for new students (mail addressed to the old format email@example.com will still work).
Students also have @ed.ac.uk addresses based on the matriculation number (firstname.lastname@example.org) and once the process for defaulting for name based email addresses for new students is complete Information Services will start work on a mechanism to allow students to pick which of their email address they want to use in MyEd. Then we will start updating the preferred email for all students to a personalised address.
Students will not be able to change their assigned email address, but the University will update it someone’s name changes or there is an error in the address.
Where do we want to end up?
Starting in January, there will be a consultation with students on the changing the format of student email addresses to give all students @ed.ac.uk addresses based on their name. This will tie in with the mail for life that is already on to offer students and it is the intention that students should be able to continue to use their University email address once they graduate to stay in touch with friends, academics and the University.