At the beginning of the 2013 school year, Lewis and Clark made a few drastic changes to the old BlazerNet login page, turning it into a more straightforward and less cumbersome portal, allowing students to quickly access old functions more readily. The changes are anything but subtle. We can see a much more streamlined interface, where Blackboard, web email, financial aid information and other useful student tools are all in one place. Students still have to go to the respective Blackboard website to log in, but the interface allows us to see our class schedules, school calendar and everything else alongside this useful information.
Also this year, Lewis and Clark migrated from Gmail servers to Office 365 web-based mail. Personally, I am a bit disheartened by this change in particular, having an affinity for the old Gmail. The domain has changed subtly from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org. For Android users like myself, it is particularly difficult to synchronize the mail with the Android onboard email apps. The simplest workaround is to simply utilize POP3 forwarding to send all received mail to a different email address that Androids can more readily access. I spoke with the Helpdesk and one of the workers assured me that a more efficient workaround is in the works.
The new email does, however, wonderfully integrate with Microsoft Outlook Express servers, as to be expected, since it operates off of the Office 365 servers. The host migration is something of a double edged sword for more technologically adept users, but for more people who aren’t so good with computers, I can see how it is much more straightforward.
It seems that Lewis and Clark College is getting a little more ahead of the curve in their IT department, and the new web portal change is welcome, and much more user-friendly. The host migration is a bit of a hassle for people who are more comfortable with Gmail as opposed to Outlook. The portal is beautiful, and while, being an IT student, I can see much room for improvement, it is a very good start towards a much more streamlined interface, and a much less confusing and tricky log in process.