Guidelines/Procedures


Subject:    ACCmail (Student Only)
Guideline/Procedure for AR#: 3.05.006
Date Effective: 02/05/2010

I.   Introduction     

Austin Community College District (ACC) provides electronic mail (“email”) as part of the computing and networking facilities and services to support its educational mission.  Email is considered an official method of communication at ACC because it delivers information in a comprehensive, convenient, timely, cost effective and environmentally responsible manner. 

ACC partners with Google Educational Applications to provide access to a Gmail address account to all students, at no cost to the student.  The ACC-provided student accounts are herein referred to as ACCmail.  This ensures that all ACC students have email communication readily available to them.  The primary purpose of ACCmail is to ensure a secure, standardized channel for faculty and staff to communicate electronically with students. 

The purpose of these guidelines and procedures is to set forth the rights and responsibilities of both the users and the providers of ACCmail and to communicate the operations and procedures for delivery of ACCmail.

II.  Policy Overview

The College will use ACCmail to electronically communicate many kinds of official College information to students.  The College has the right to expect that such communications will be received and read in a timely fashion.  Official email communications are intended to meet the academic and administrative needs of the campus community.  Email shall not be the method of communication for any legal action.  All use of email will be consistent with other ACC policies and local, state and federal law.

III.   ACCmail Account Operations  

        A.      Assignment of student email addresses and accounts 

To enable the electronic communication process, all students, upon enrollment at ACC, will receive an official ACCmail account at no cost.  The addresses are all of the form [first name.last name]@g.austincc.edu.  To prevent duplicate account names, a number might be appended to the end of the last name.  Online instructions are available to all email account holders to assist in activating the account. 

Students must activate their ACCmail before the College can officially correspond with them via email.  The ACCmail tutorial website has been designed to assist students with activation and other account maintenance concerns. 

The official email address will be maintained in the Datatel Student Information System.  Official ACC email addresses are not considered directory information and are not subject to disclosure without the express written consent of the student.

B.    Name Changes 

Name changes will affect student email addresses.  By contract with Google, existing account names cannot be modified; a new account will be created for each name change requested.  When a student requests a name change, a new email address will be created.  Upon receipt of the request, all of ACC’s systems will be updated with the new account information. 

Students should continue checking the existing email account until the new account is created and notification of such is received.  It is the student’s responsibility to move existing messages to the new account and enable any forwarding from the old account to the new account if they believe they might continue to receive mail addressed to the old account.  “Old” accounts will be deleted after 30 days.

C.    Expectations about use of ACCmail 

Students are expected to check their ACCmail on a frequent and consistent basis in order to remain current with College-related communications.  The College recommends that students check their ACCmail account on a daily basis.  ACC offices and employees cannot validate that communication is coming by email from a student unless it comes from a valid ACCmail address and therefore cannot respond to inquiries sent from an e-mail address other than the student’s ACCmail. 

Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time critical.  Students are responsible for the consequences of not reading, in a timely fashion, College-related communications sent to the official ACCmail address.  All students, staff and faculty of the Austin Community College will use their respective official ACC email accounts when conducting ACC business.  Errors encountered in forwarding email, or email returned to the College with "Mailbox Full" or "User Unknown" are not acceptable excuses for missing official College communications via email. 

Students are responsible for taking all reasonable precautions, including safeguarding and changing passwords, to prevent the use of their email accounts by unauthorized individuals.  Students should not share this information or access to College resources with others, including family members.  Students who lose or forget their passwords should follow the instructions provided on the ACCmail login site.  No one at ACC will ask a student to provide ACC with his or her ACCmail password. 

Students who do not have access to computers in their homes or workplaces may use several computer stations and labs placed on campuses for free student use.

D.     Redirecting of ACCmail 

All College email communication will be sent to the ACCmail account.  Students may choose to forward email from their ACCmail address to a different email address, such as one provided by an employer or AOL, Roadrunner, Hotmail, etc.  The College has no control over the delivery of email that has been forwarded outside of the ACCmail domain to external providers. 

Having email redirected does not absolve a student from the responsibilities associated with official communication sent to his or her ACCmail account.  It is the student’s responsibility to maintain up-to-date forwarding address information for electronic mail in the same way as postal mail.  Information about forwarding is available at http://mail.google.com/support/.

E.      Account Deletions 

Student email accounts which have not been activated within one calendar year from time of creation will be deleted by ACC.  Accounts that have previously been deleted may be reinstated by the College upon the student’s subsequent enrollment at ACC.

IV. Confidentiality, Privacy and Security

        A.      Confidentiality 

Users should exercise caution in using email to communicate confidential or sensitive matters, and should not assume that email is private and confidential.  It is especially important that users are careful to send messages only to the intended recipient(s). 

Particular care should be taken when using the "reply" command during email correspondence. 

Confidentiality of student records is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).  All use of ACCmail under these procedures, including use for sensitive or confidential information, will be consistent with FERPA. 

The College makes every effort to secure its computer systems, networked resources and email accounts, but cannot guarantee the infallibility of these systems to unauthorized intrusion, or the authenticity of the sender of an electronic communication.  The College does not routinely monitor or inspect individual accounts, files or communications.  There are situations in which the College has a legitimate need to do so: to protect the integrity of College systems and resources; with appropriate authorization, when there is a reasonable suspicion that the user has violated either laws or College policies; or when required by law to do so.  Users should be aware that any electronic communications and data utilizing ACC-owned computer and network resources potentially may be disclosed via court-issued subpoenas and under the State and Federal Public Information Act requirements.  All monitoring and inspections shall be subject to proper authorization, notification, and other legal requirements.

V.   College Use Procedures

        A.    Educational Use 

Faculty will determine how email will be used in their classes.  If faculty intend to use email to communicate course content, class schedule changes, class discussion or other class-related material, they will clearly communicate this expectation in the course syllabus.  Faculty should only use the student’s ACCmail address for such communication.  This will ensure that all students will know and be able to comply with email-based course requirements specified by faculty.  Faculty and staff may expect that students’ ACCmail accounts are being accessed and may use email for their courses and for providing information to students.

B.    Usage and Approvals 

ACC will strive to limit the total amount of email sent to students, to ensure that the email received by students is read.  Additionally, appropriate technical steps will be taken to ensure that lists of student email addresses may not easily be “harvested” for external, non-ACC use. In order to take advantage of the efficiency with which official messages can be transmitted via email, ACC has implemented a bulk student email system that allows designated individuals to send messages to selected groups of students enrolled at ACC.  Access to the ACC broadcast email system is granted only to specific persons. 

Authorization is granted on a hierarchical basis, with the general rule being that the higher up one goes in ACC’s administrative hierarchy, the more students to whom one can send email messages. 

Prior to sending e-mail to students, approval must be obtained as follows:

        a.    E-mail to all students:  Approval must be made by ACC President or the ACC Executive Vice-President of College Operations.   

b.     E-mail to a specific group or classification of students:  Approval must be made by the Associate Vice-President/Vice-President with final approval from the Executive Vice-President of College Operations.  Recurring, routine communications that result from automated College communication processes, i.e. admission application acceptance letters, financial aid notifications, cancelled class notifications, registration confirmations, account hold notices, etc., will be approved one time for all future communication purposes, until said process or communication changes.

c.     E-mail to an academic major or instructional department specific group of students: Approval must be made by the Associate Vice-President/Vice-President with final approval from the Executive Vice-President of College Operations.

d.     Email sent by an ACC employee to an individual student as a part of the routine business of the College does not fall within the scope of this policy.

e.     E-mail sent by faculty to students as part of the instructional process falls outside of the scope of this policy.  Faculty should use ACCmail, in addition to various campus systems (primarily Blackboard), to communicate electronically with students currently and previously enrolled in their classes.  To avoid system overuse and spamming students with a large volume of email, bulk messages should be sent only when absolutely necessary.  As a general rule, no more than one or two messages from each type of position, department, or operational unit of the College should be sent per semester.  The exceptions to this rule are faculty communications with students in their classes, routine official College business communications and individual employee-to-student communications.

To the greatest extent possible, ACC email messages sent to all students will be aggregated and sent to students in "digest mode" or "newsletter" format, not more than once per week.

C.    Recommendations for Appropriate Use and Email Protocol       

a.     Identify yourself clearly and accurately in email.  Never conceal or misrepresent your name or affiliation

b.     Always include an appropriate subject line and enough descriptive text in the body of the message to ensure that the message will not be misinterpreted as spam or a virus.

c.     Avoid disseminating viruses or other programs that may damage or place excessive load on email or other College resources.

d.     Refrain from sending chain mail and junk mail.  These are mass mailings unrelated to College activities that are unlikely to be wanted by most recipients.

e.     Treat email messages and attachments as private and confidential, unless the author(s) make them explicitly available to others.

f.     Only authorized users may send broadcast email (sending the same message to groups of students).  See the Usage and Approvals section for information on authorized broadcast email users.

g.     Respect the copyright, intellectual property rights, and contracts of others, including the College.

h.     Avoid including lists of email addresses in messages to protect the individuals’ privacy. Use discussion lists or the BCC option, and edit out lists of email addresses before forwarding messages.

D.    ACCmail Support Services      

ACC will provide the necessary infrastructure and Information Technology support services to identify and send mail to particular sub-sets of the student population (defined and contained within the Student Information System, such as specific majors, students in specific departments or courses, etc.).  This will expedite the manner in which instructional and other college departments distribute email to large, specific student groups.  Google Educational Applications provides extensive web- and telephone-based support systems for all ACC students. 

The ACC Helpdesk is the primary resource available to students with questions about the ACCmail program in general and individual accounts specifically.

E.    Sanctions

It is a violation of College policy for any user of official email addresses to impersonate a College office, faculty/staff member, or student.  To minimize this risk, confidential information should never be disclosed in an email.  Students should be sent email correspondence directing them to the Online Services system, where they can access their confidential information only by supplying their student ID and PIN.  Sanctions for inappropriate use of email and other computing and networking resources are described in the ACC Student Handbook.

NOTE:

Students retain their ACCmail account after leaving the college.  The contractual agreement with Google requires ACC to identify, not less than twice annually, students who have not attended ACC for 12 consecutive months.  These ACCmail accounts will be subject to advertising by Google.

 


President/CEO:   Stephen B. Kinslow Date:  06/21/10