In an effort to improve communication and raise the level of available technology within the University, all students in the School of Arts and Sciences will have access to electronic mail within the next year. In addition, a task force on e-mail will recommend to Provost Michael Aiken next month a University-wide e-mail system. Students in the Engineering School, the Medical School and the graduate division of the Wharton School currently use e-mail. According to College Vice Dean for Computing Ben Goldstein, every College student will be given an account by the end of 1992, enabling them to communicate with other students, professors and teaching assistants, and in some courses, allow them to hand in their homework over the network. Students will be able to access e-mail at terminals in campus computer facilities, and they will also be able to access the network from their rooms if they have modems. In addition to academic uses, e-mail has more frivolous applications. Users will be able to access Internet, an international communications network, at no cost. According to Goldstein, e-mail may replace other forms of student communication. "For the fun part, students use it to mail love letters to other students, to arrange dates, or to arrange parties," Goldstein said. At some other universities, the electronic mail network is wired directly to student dormitories, but at the University, cost prohibits the installation of such a program. According to Vice Provost for Computing and Information Systems Peter Patton, installing a comprehensive e-mail network that would give every student room access would cost $2.1 million, but he said alternative methods for bringing e-mail to the dorms are being discussed, including renting modems cheaply to students. Patton said he thinks free e-mail connections in at least some buildings would be a good investment because the system would make the dorms more attractive to students and might help slow the drain of students to off-campus housing. "We get a much better return on our investment if the dorms are fully occupied," he said. "The University could recoup its investment and it would be easier to maintain security [for students]." Not all students who have e-mail, though, take advantage of its capabilities. Engineering junior Tom Yannone said he has used his account to ask his teaching assistants questions, but he has not used his account in a year. "I rarely ever use it," Yannone said. "My friends and I send each other letters. I haven't used it in about a year."Comments powered by Disqus
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