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E-mail has a lot of advantages as an asynchronous communication medium. However, the undeniable overload and expectation of immediate replies makes it the largest threat for professional efficiency. In October 2.842.687 emails rolled over our network. Part of the leftovers of useless email are the PointCarré notifications.

  

Students read email less and less, although the education and examination regulations still consider this as an official communication means. It is important to stay up-to-date with your one-on-one communication, but this is not always easy in the flood of impersonal messages. PointCarré serves as a large mailbox polluter with announcements one can easily consult in the learning environment itself. In the first one and a half year of counting, a total of 3,2 million PointCarré notifications were sent. In October 2017 we still counted 25.527. Last spring, the student council asked VUB to do something about this.

 

Friday without email on 24 November

The HR department will launch a campaign to engage the VUB community to deal with email in a better way, and to propose alternatives for the impersonal lazy email culture. Friday without email will be the starting point of this campaign. That day VUB will ask its community to send nor read any email.

 

VUB has tried to lower bulk email for some time now, and to promote the use of student portal STUDENT.VUB instead. A limited selection of the most essential student topics are collected in the two-weekly newsletter. VUB asks her professors not to tick off the ‘email checkbox’ for every upload or announcement on PointCarré. Also in the new learning platform this function will be revised. 

 

An integrated portal as an alternative?

Administrative services ask for a kind of personalized platform to offer messages from the several information systems on one spot. Students could set preferences and actively find information instead of having to fight the uncontrolled stream of messages. Call it a university Facebook, or tailormade intranet. Although this kind of personalized integration still is a faraway future, it is clear that something should be done about the flooded inbox.