Inside Rensselaer
New MorningMail Program Enhances Communications

Launched on Feb. 1, the new MorningMail communications effort is paving the way for enhanced, more timely communications within the Rensselaer community. The result of a partnership between DotCIO and Strategic Communications and External Relations (SCER), MorningMail aggregates news from multiple sources on campus and beyond, and presents it to the community across a spectrum of platforms—the most recognizable of which is a daily email message. Readers of this daily bulletin can click on the headline for any item, and they will quickly be re-directed to the actual news item on a Rensselaer website or web page, or on the Institute calendar.

“The new program was designed to replace or better utilize an array of communications vehicles across campus, ranging from Rensserv to individual school or department websites to mass emails.”

In addition to the daily email notification, the MorningMail website ( is regularly updated and offers community members a single location to learn about anything happening on campus, and to view an archive of past MorningMail bulletins.

Current and future users of MorningMail can also opt to receive updates via an RSS feed.

“Two of the most important points to remember with the advent of MorningMail is that users no longer have to visit multiple websites, web pages, or calendars to learn about news on campus, and they really don’t have to do anything new to participate or to have their news appear in MorningMail,” said Gary Schwartz, director of communications and middleware technologies in DotCIO. “Since the technology behind MorningMail automatically harvests news from a variety of resources around campus, once you publish something on your own website or page, it becomes a candidate to be re-published via MorningMail.

“Perhaps the most important resource for MorningMail is the Institute Events Calendar, which can be found on the right side of our home page,” Schwartz explained. “We want to encourage everyone to use this calendar since it’s the primary source for MorningMail.”

The new program was designed to replace or better utilize an array of communications vehicles across campus, ranging from Rensserv to individual school or department websites to mass emails. While each was effective, they reached limited audiences because they presented information within virtual “silos.”

Using a technology approach designed and maintained within DotCIO, MorningMail expands the reach of communications to all Rensselaer audiences withoutasking groups or individuals to work with and enter information in some sort of new centralized database.

On a daily basis, a manager within the News and Editorial Services group of SCER works with DotCIO to select — or “curate” — a group of news items from the events and other news harvested by MorningMail, for presentation the next day in the 8:30 a.m. email message.

“Another important point as we go forward is that we’ll continue to adapt our approach and the overall system as we hear from members of the Rensselaer community,” Schwartz said. “Our website contains an easy-to-use form where anyone can write to us with suggestions or questions. In addition, our website already answers many questions and contains a list of the more than 20 Rensselaer websites and other sources from where we harvest information. We’re currently working with various organizations to find technology solutions to add more of those sites.”

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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 7, April 15, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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