OWA Makes Debut On Campus

by Allison UllmannStaff Writer

In a change over the old campus-wide e-mail system, Simpson College’s Information Services recently introduced an alternative program, Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA).

The campus had previously used Web-Mail, a program that many users felt had a number of shortcomings.

According to Allan Appenzeller, director of information services, one of the main reasons for the change was the fact the company that created Web-Mail, Captaris, no longer produces the system.

“They haven’t been supporting us for three years now,” Appenzeller said. “We were living on borrowed time, and if anything went down, we were out of luck.”

Chuck Johnson, an academic software specialist for information services, said the old system was purely e-mail and wasn’t as user-friendly. OWA has more features than Web-Mail.

“[It provides] a much richer interface to your email,” Johnson said.

The new e-mail system is also more secure, giving people the ability to protect their data.

According to Paul Crittenden, computer system manager, another reason for the change is that more people are used to OWA and are familiar with it.

“Microsoft is becoming the big boy out there, and people are used to that,” Crittenden said.

OWA has more features, including the calendar and spam filter. Appenzeller also says that with the new server, both e-mail and file storage will increase tenfold, from 10 MB to 100 MB.

Another change that may happen in the spring semester will be printing costs. Johnson said as of now, they’re monitoring students’ printing to get an idea of the paper usage and how much people are printing. An average will be figured from analyzing the results, and in the future, everyone will be allotted a set number of pages to print each semester.

Information Services is trying to save paper through the new printers with duplex capabilities in Carver General, Dunn and Wallace Hall computer labs. This gives users the ability to print on both sides of a page.

Appenzeller said the monitoring of printing was put in place to make students more aware of what they’re printing. He emphasized the fact that the monitoring isn’t in place to make money, but it’s simply there to make students more conscious of what they’re actually printing off.

“[The print monitoring system is to help] bring extracurricular printing under control,” Appenzeller said.

The goal is to provide students with enough pages for classroom work, but it will help scale back on the extra printing. By monitoring printing this semester, Information Services will get a feel for an adequate number of pages to allot students each semester, but it will be flexible, depending on the student.

This will benefit both the college and the students because by conserving printing, Information Services can save money on paper and toner and be able to provide more wireless access on campus.

Appenzeller said implementing the print monitoring will “heighten awareness and reduce printing that isn’t necessary.”

Besides e-mail, Information Services also provides file storage, programs such as Stormfront, WebCT, distribution lists for groups on campus, network services, telephone services and a minimal amount of troubleshooting advice.

The next step for Information Services is to add wireless Internet to Brenton Student Center within the next few weeks.