When you registered as a student, the University gave you an e-mail address that ends in @campus.ru.ac.za. It considers this address to be your official address for electronic communication (if, for example, the Dean wants to get hold of you about your subject choices). Clearly, you can only receive such e-mail messages from the academic staff and the administration if you regularly access your regular Rhodes e-mail box - and not doing so might meant that you miss out on very important announcements.
We are aware that some students may already have e-mail boxes on such services as msn.com, yahoo, gmail.com or hotmail.com. While we clearly cannot prevent you from so doing, we urge you either
Why should the last be the preferred option? Well, put quite simply, reading your Rhodes e-mail by forwarding it to Gmail (say) hurts your Internet quota and chews up precious and expensive bandwidth that the University would prefer to allocate to better things, while reading your Gmail e-mail by forwarding it to Rhodes does not.
So please find out how to redirect your Gmail (or whatever) mail to your @campus mailbox - at least during the time you are studying here - and do your bit for the quotas.
(For a more technical explanation of the implications and the rationale, read Guy Halse's notes at the end of this page.)
If you insist on being anti-social, here's how to redirect your mail from Rhodes to another mailbox:
First log onto Rhodes' webmail client http://www.ru.ac.za/webmail.
Once you've logged in, select the Filters option from the top menu. You should be presented with a list of Existing Rules, one of which will be a disabled option to Forward your mail. Select this option by clicking on the word Forward.
Now enter the e-mail address you wish to forward your mail to in the box entitled Address(es) to forward to and then click on the Save button. Make sure the system tells you that the change was saved successfully and then return to the list of Existing Rules.
Once you've entered your address you can enable and disable the rule by selecting the enable option on the right hand side of the Existing Rules list. A green tick means the rule's enabled; a red cross means it is disabled. Make sure there's a green tick next to the Forward rule.
When you've successfully done this, any new mail delivered to your @campus.ru.ac.za address will be automatically forwarded to the e-mail address you chose. Existing e-mail that's already in your Inbox won't be affected.
Why it is preferable to redirect your e-mail TO the Rhodes mailbox, rather than the other way around
(This explanation was supplied by Guy Halse of the IT Division.)
Ideally we want to encourage students to forward their non-Rhodes e-mail to their Rhodes address (i.e. Gmail to Rhodes rather than Rhodes to Gmail). Having students read mail using off-site web-based e-mail clients hurts us in terms of Internet bandwidth. It's a lot more efficient to have that mail delivered here, and read on-site.
There are three reasons for this: The first is that SMTP is a fairly lightweight protocol, and HTTP/HTML is not. The same e-mail will use noticeably less bandwidth when forwarded than it would viewed as a web page on a remote web-mail client.
The second is that the nature of e-mail means that people are likely to refer to things more than once. Off-site e-mail clients mean we use bandwidth every time an e-mail is viewed, rather than just for the original transmission. This is particularly significant when large file attachments are re-downloaded multiple times.
The third reason is that web-based applications operate in real-time, whereas SMTP doesn't. It's much easier to control the amount of bandwidth used by SMTP during peak times than it is to control the amount used by the web. (You don't really notice if we throttle e-mail, because it just takes longer to be delivered; you will notice if we throttle your web browsing).
(As an aside, these three reasons are also why we run an in-house student mail service rather than outsourcing it to Microsoft or Google as many US colleges are starting to do. At the moment the cost of providing an in-house service is significantly less than the cost of the equivalent international bandwidth.)
One of the criticisms we've had of this approach in the past was that Rhodes' mailboxes were simply too small. Gmail would give you 2GB, and Rhodes would give you 20MB. We realised this was a problem at the beginning of 2007 and have been working on resolving it. Whilst it's clearly not practical to give everyone 2GB mailboxes, we've now significantly narrowed the gap -- student and staff mailbox quotas were increased to around 300MB in mid-January of 2008. The intention of this was to make the above more practical.
To put the benefits of this into terms students should understand, reading your Rhodes e-mail by forwarding it to Gmail hurts your Internet quota; reading your Gmail e-mail by forwarding it to Rhodes does not.