Unreliable access to Temple’s e-mail system has brought out a collective groan from faculty, administrations and students alike.
Since the start of the fall semester, logging into the Mailbox Web site (which handles Temple University’s email) has been difficult, let alone accessing one’s actual email.
The problem peaks between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
With an added emphasis on Blackboard and classroom email lists, professors have made it a necessity for students to have a Temple email account.
This unprecedented increase in users, most of whom attempt to enter their mailbox during the peak hours, has caused an email traffic jam.
The problem is not going unnoticed.
Computer Services is literally working around the clock to eliminate these problems, as well as upgrade the university’s email network to a better service.
Jeremy Schafer, a five-year full-time help desk employee, says that the help desk receives 350-550 calls a day.
“Although callers have valid frustrations, most have been considerate after talking to someone and hearing the progress being made,” Schafer said.
Director of Academic Computing Sherri Stahler has focused most of her staff on the mailbox problems.
The help desk, Blackboard team and systems groups have been working collectively to ease tensions.
“Every complaint reaches my desk,” said Stahler, “I have been here.
And will continue to be in charge until these issues have been resolved.”
Stahler also has someone keeping an eye on the responses and updating the phone line and computer services Web site upon new information.
In addition, a three-pronged plan to deal with the email system overload has been devised.
As fall semester began, a wave of spam and viruses hit Mailbox.
The first and primary focus was to filter out all the problem-causing emails and to increase security and protection against the forwarding of these viruses.
The next step was to increase the speed of e-mail.
A list of alternative methods to access e-mail has been listed on the computer services’ Web site.
Anyone who has access to Netscape, Internet Explorer or Outlook Express can set up their computer to download e-mail directly from the server.
This eliminates traffic at the Web interface, which has been pinpointed as the trouble area.
The third aspect of this plan involves a system upgrade. In the next few days, a new e-mail system will be introduced.
This new system, similar to the ones used at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, will work the same with current usernames and passwords.
A new automated system designed to eliminate old accounts has also been implemented and has proved to be more effective.
Students that have graduated have their accounts deactivated six months after leaving Temple.
Stahler offers one more tip: “File away e-mails into folders. The more messages in your inbox, the more that has to come off the server each time.”
Pooja Shah can be reached at Pshah004@temple.edu