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Marist is undergoing an overhaul of Foxmail and is set to debut a new email platform and mobile app next fall.  

Vice President of Information Technology/CIO Bill Thirsk confirmed the rumors of the new updates to the Marist email platform. Thirsk said the school felt it needed to address the widespread dissatisfaction students were having with the system, which once started as a student project. “It’s gotten old, it’s gotten stale, you guys don’t like it, so over the summer and by next fall you will have a brand new collaborative communications system.”

The new platform will not only feature an updated email network, but a chat room interface, document sharing, and video chats conducive for online meetings.

Additionally, Thirsk said this collaboration system will include a directory for students to find members of faculty and staff.  “You’ll be able to search for faculty of interest, you’ll be able to search people by their hobby, and you’ll be able to openly communicate with anyone in the Marist community, not just students on Foxmail.”

He also made clear the difference between this new sharing network and sharing information via gmail and Google docs; Marist’s interface will remain private, so future employers can not access the data.

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Infographic by Emily Pascale & Jenna Fuschillo

The emergence of Foxmail 2 is a temporary fix for the over-saturation of the present system. Foxmail is currently supporting over 70,000 people, and the dated architecture does not allow for continued expansion.

Student collaboration was included in the creation of the new Foxmail, as a team of sixteen undergraduate and graduate students helped in the development stages.  “They’re very excited about it, there’s a lot of features that they insisted that we made sure we put in,” said Thirsk.  The system has already been shown to the faculty and the Deans, and all that is left is approval from the Vice Presidents. “People are pretty excited about it.”

Along with updating email, Marist is looking to transition to a more responsive framework for the website. Thirsk said that he foresees the tech industry entering into an app-driven world in the next one to two years, and as a result, Marist will be offering an app interface for the school’s website and email.  “We need to make sure that you guys can get information really well formatted wherever you are and no matter what your device is.”

Students will be able to access their grades, announcements from the website, course information, and menus from the dining hall on their tablet or phone. This will bring the school up to speed with other universities that utilize mobile apps.

Additionally, Thirsk said iLearn will also become accessible on handheld devices in order to update the digital experience for teaching and learning.  “We’re helping encourage faculty to connect with you guys more digitally, which we think puts a good 360 rounding on all course experiences, whether they’re in the classroom or online.”

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