After a year of work, Information Technology (IT) and the Student Web Advisory Team (SWAT) have officially launched the redesigned student digest, the Bowdoin Orbit.
Although still in its trial period, the Bowdoin Orbit will eventually phase out the Student Digest. It will be married with a gateway that boasts discussion boards and a newsfeed compilation from student blogs and websites.
The new digest, which organizes posts by subject matter, will sort events by when they occur. It will also allow users to offer input by "liking" or "disliking" posts, thereby shifting a post's location on the digest list. The Orbit will also make it feasible to eliminate student use of the class-mailing lists in the future.
Community members will receive the Orbit twice a day. Students are currently receiving both the older Student Digest and the Orbit.
"It comes out...way too much," said Keel Dietz '12. "I thought part of the point was to reduce the number of emails."
Indeed, the testing phase has had its share of bumps. Last week, there was a glitch where the Orbit was not emailed out. The fix overcompensated for the error by sending five consecutive copies of the Orbit to the student body.
Students have also clicked on Orbit links to find that access is denied, a login issue that SWAT is working on.
"Maybe ideally we would have waited a few more weeks and done more bug testing, but we wanted to give students the opportunity to use it before the end of the year," said BSG President John Connolly '11, who is a member of SWAT.
"Those people who have been able to use it have been very enthusiastic," added Connolly, "Especially after Ivies when there was a lot of lost and found stuff on it."
Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis praised the collaboration between IT and SWAT in creating the Orbit.
"I like the way that [SWAT] went around and developed it, because in the past we've seen students develop technologies but...after [students] leave the use of that system goes away," he said. "With us being involved in the project, we can keep it running."
"I can see the Orbit in four years looking completely different from how it does today, all from student input [and] having the support of programmers in IT," he added.