Davidson ITS recently transferred student accounts from one server to another. This transition was intended to be seamless and unnoticed by students, a mere technical change happening behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, intentions are not always so in line with reality. Difficulties in connection, in technical support, and in getting the word out became barriers to a ‘seamless transition’. When they transferred servers local Outlook and Mail applications started having technical difficulties both loudly (see picture) and quietly. Some of the issues, like with Outlook, included an annoying alert popping up telling of a failure to connect to the server. Others, like with Mail on an iPhone, just failed to refresh the mail but also failed to notify the user.
These being the case, email either stopped working for the user annoyingly or unknowingly. Ironically ITS even sent out emails about the change after the change occurred.
There was a final group of users who noticed the change in email reception and/or the alerts via their desktop clients, who went to correct what ever the issue was, and who ended up discovering that their email account flat out was no longer a user on this new server. ITS deals with users and their user error more often than any real computer problem. They therefore take a stance with most cases that it is the user’s problem and not one with the system. This places the burden of proof on the user to show that any problem is actually not user error.
As an annoyed user, who has experienced a lack of Davidson email without technical support treating my lack as an actual technical issue, I am slightly perturbed.
It is equally frustrating to have no connection to my email as it is to be treated as a user who is simply inputing their password incorrectly. For now, I will continue to go without email – notifying my professors and clubs via meatspace that I am unreachable. However, this experience is definitely making me feel pretty cyborg.