Names not Numbers: A Summary of the Results of the Student Email Address Consultation

A Summary of the Results of the Student Email Address Consultation

The following represents a summary of the main conclusions of the Student Email Address consultation, drawing on the student survey, student focus groups and staff survey. A more in-depth analysis is available here: Final Report on the Student Email Consultation Project.

The raw data for the surveys, and the questions asked, can be found here:

Student Survey Results

Student Survey Results (Additional Questions)

Results of Staff Survey

Results

Topic

Outcome

1. How important is it to students to have a name based email address.
64% of students agree this is important or very important to them.Graph showing responses to the question 'how important is it to you to have an email addressed based on your name, rather than your matriculation number?' Very Important has the most responses at just over 30%, followed closely by Important, then Neither Important nor Unimportant at 20% , then Unimportant at less than 10% and Very Unimportant at 7%
2. How important is it to students to have an @ed.ac.uk email address. 73.8%  of students agreed this is important or very important to them.Graph titled 'How important is it to you to have an @ed.ac.uk email address rather than @sms.ed.ac.uk? The first bar 'Very Important' is the largest, with 42%, followed by Important at just over 40%. Neither Important nor unimportant sits between 15% and 20% while unimportant sits at under 5% and Very unimportant at 2%
3. Do students want to have their first name included in a name-based email address. 61.3% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they want to have their first name included in a name-based university email address.Bar chart showing responses to the statement 'In a name based email address format, I would want my first name included e.g. joe.blogs@ed.ac.uk'. The first bar, 'Strongly agree' sits at just over 25%, the second bar 'Agree' sits at 30%, the third bar Neither Agree nor Disagree sits at almost 25%, Disagree at 7.5% and Strongly Disagree at 2%
4. Would students rather have their initial included in a name based email address instead of their first name. 43.6% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they would rather have their initial included in a name based email address instead of their first name.Bar chart asking respondents 'in a name based email address format, I would prefer to have my first initial included rather than my first name'. The first bar is 'Strongly agree' at just under 20%, the second is Agree at just under 25%, the third bar is Agree or Disagree at under 30%, the fourth bar is Disagree at 15% and the last bar is Strongly Disagree which is 3%.
5. Do students want to have year of entry appended in the email address.

58.9% of students disagree or strongly disagree that the year of entry should be included.A bar chart asking respondents if they mind having their year of entry included in the email address. The first bar is 'Strongly Agree' and is the smallest at just under 5%, the second bar is Agree at just under 15%, the third is Neither Agree nor Disagree which is only slightly more than Agree at just under 15%, the third is disagree which is at 30% and the last is Strongly Disagree which is at 25%

Instead, in order to avoid conflict in the case of people with the same name, participants in the focus groups recommended appending the last three digits of the matriculation number.

6. Do students want to have a choice of email address format. 46.32% of respondents said that it is important or very important to have a choice of email address format.Bar chart asking students if they want a choice of email address format. The first bar is Strongly Agree which is just under 20%, the second is Agree which is the largest at just under 30%, the third is Neither Agree nor Disagree which is at approximately 27%. The fourth bar is Disagree which is just under 20% and the last bar is Strongly Disagree which is just under 10%.In the focus groups, participants thought a choice of email address format would cause too much confusion and it was better to have a unified approach. The importance of a unified approach to the email address format was also reflected in many of the free text comments in the survey.
7. How important is it to students to have a life-long email address. 80.12% of students agree it is important or very important to have a life long email address.A bar chart show how important it is to students to have an email address for life. The first bar is Very Important, which is the largest and lies between 45% and 50%. The second part is Important which is at just over 35%, the third bar is Neither Important nor Unimportant which is at 15%. The fourth bar is Unimportant at just under 5% and the last bar is Very Unimportant at 1%.
8. What method of change for introducing the new email address do students prefer: automatically changing everyone to new format (opt-in by default), or giving people the option to set the address to the new format (opt out by default) In the survey 55.8% of respondents prefer the opt-in by default option, with 44.2% preferring the opt-out by default option.Bar chart asking respondents which method of change they prefer: opt-in or opt-out. The first bar is for opt-in and is at just over 55%. The second bar is for opt-out and is at just under 45%.As this was not a clear-cut result, we asked the focus group participants for their opinion on this issue. They unanimously agreed that the opt-in by default option was the best.
9. How important is it to staff that the student email address format is different from the staff email address format? 48.2% of staff think it is important or very important for the format of the student email address to be different from the staff email address.A bar chart asking staff how important it is to them that the student email address is different from the staff email address. The first bar is Very Important and is at just under 15%. The second is Important and is just over 30%. The third is neither important nor unimportant and is just under 40%. The fourth is unimportant at just over 10% and the last is very unimportant at just under 5%.

Recommendations

1. The new format of the email address should be name-based but should include some mechanism for differentiating between people of the same name i.e. including the last three digits of the matriculation number. Taking into consideration all the results of the survey and the focus groups, it would seem the best format would be either:

firstname.surname[last three digits of matric. no]@ed.ac.uk

or

initial.surname[last three digits of matric.no]@ed.ac.uk

This looks professional and is unique to the individual, allaying staff concerns about anonymity and data protection. The use of the last three digits of the matriculation number would allow student email addresses to be distinguished from those of staff.

2. The new format of the email address should omit the ‘sms’ and be @ed.ac.uk.

3. An opt-in method of change should be used, with students being advised several months in advance when the change is going to happen.

4. Students should be given the option to have a lifelong email address.

1 thought on “Names not Numbers: A Summary of the Results of the Student Email Address Consultation

  1. Pingback: Names not Numbers: Students Decide on New Email Address Format | Information Services Applications Directorate Blog

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