The Ed Techie: What Mailbox limits reveal 2

The Ed Techie: What Mailbox limits reveal:

Grainne posted recently about the frustration of continually getting the ‘Your mailbox is over its size limit’ in our OU email accounts. I can’t tell you how annoying this – sometimes I am just trying to send a quick response to someone before I have to dash out of the door, but it won’t let me because I have to find and delete any attachment over 2K to free up space. Grrrr.

(Discovered this site through the Edublogs Awards.)

It’s interesting to see the comments on the gist of this article — in terms of how reasonable the restriction or attitude behind it are. IT usage restrictions always seem to generate two separate camps of apologists and critics. Apologists focus on the rational behind it, the need to balance services with resources, and limitations of the technology or workflow. Critics tend to express frustration over inconvenience, limitations, or restrictions that make their work harder, or prevent them from performing a specific action, or in a particular way.

While I can’t claim to have a solution to IT limits (regrettably, my superpowers don’t seem up to the task) I do notice that we seem to have an opportunity for dialog. IT Governance is an increasingly hot topic, particularly with institutions struggling to prioritize during lean budget years. We clearly have a pool of customers who are more than willing to tell us what they think is important.

I think the need to create dialog highlights one of the reasons a number of us found Collier’s MyUMBC feedback feature so compelling. By integrating feedback submission forms into every page, portal visitors are encouraged to communicate their reactions and thoughts (even about email quotas 🙂 ) making the barrier to contribution very low. At the same time, while many of us have feedback forms that email teams, the MyUMBC example of integrating the admin panel & tools to ease followup/contact make it easy to go back, and mine through the data, or engage customers in dialog regarding their experiences with the product or service.

I’m happy to say that Jenn’s work on the feedback portlet stemming from the JA-SIG Unconference seems likely to move uPortal (and maybe someday Sakai or other portlet containers ) further in the direction of built in mechanisms to collect these user sentiments and provide information so we can work to better address our users concerns, experiences, and frustrations.

2 thoughts on “The Ed Techie: What Mailbox limits reveal

  1. Don Spidell Dec 2,2007 6:10 am

    Does using soft limits instead of just hard limits help out at all? (And, IMO, I never liked the analogy which includes calling college students “customers”. It gives them an undue sense of entitlement. I’m assuming that’s who you were referring to when you said “pool of customers”.)

  2. jayshao Dec 2,2007 12:24 pm

    In my case, since I work for a University, students are an important part of my customer base — much of my work is directly funded by student computing fees. Now admittedly, many of them are unlikely to switch institutions purely because of frustration with IT, but they can (choose) to voice disapproval with the way they spend their money.

    In any kind of service industry (which IT really is) I think it’s important to view the people consuming your service as customers. I’d argue that it’s an appropriate sense of entitlement — not to dictate actions, but to drive prioritization and offerings.

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