The University is developing a new and improved approach to internal campus communications. Today@Brown is an email digest delivered daily to all students, faculty and staff at Brown.
Today@Brown contains many of the important community news messages that students, faculty and staff traditionally have received from various offices via email — University budget information, funding and fellowship opportunities, new initiatives, important deadlines, compliance and policy guidance, etc. It also replaced Morning Mail as a daily digest for announcements and events around the campus community.
The vision for Today@Brown is to create a daily digest that allows greater personalization and choice for the information you feel is most useful for you. To build it, Brown is taking a phased approach that allows the entire campus community to help shape it.
2nd Release of Today@Brown: Interest Categories
The 2nd Release of Today@Brown incorporates feedback from the campus community and offers users the ability to customize the daily email digest based on their interests. The addition of categories to Today@Brown will happen in two phases:
Phase 1: Changes to the Submission Process
Beginning Monday, February 26, when you submit an announcement or event, you will be asked to choose up to five interest categories from a list. This list is broadly representative of the announcements and events that have appeared in Today@Brown and was created based on user research and testing that included members of the Brown community.
Phase 2: Changes to the Email Digest
On March 13, readers of Today@Brown will be able to select interest categories in order to receive a more customized version of the daily Today@Brown email digest. Items that match an individual's interests will appear near the top of their daily Today@Brown email, below priority announcements. Readers will be able to browse through listings outside their interest categories at the bottom of the email, as well as on the Today@Brown website. All users still will receive all items, but they will receive those of most personal interest first.
1st Release of Today@Brow: Initial Launch
The immediate goals of the 1st Release of Today@Brown were responsive to three common concerns that arose from surveys and conversations with students, faculty and staff:
- Begin to reduce the large number of emails that students, faculty and staff receive daily.
- Make it easier to find important, high-priority information that is essential to the work of a student, faculty or staff member.
- Introduce structure to the volume of information community members receive to make it easier to scan and digest.
The 1st Release included an initial set of features responsive to these concerns. The features included:
Priority messages at the top of each daily digest
These important campus messages replace many of the emails traditionally sent by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean of the College, Faculty Executive Committee, the Graduate School, Office of the Registrar, Staff Advisory Council and other offices that send important notices relating to operations and campus initiatives. Only designated offices are able to use the Priority label for messages.
Announcements segmented according to audience
The digest retains the segmentation of information built into the legacy Morning Mail system. There are 18 audience segments to allow individuals submitting announcements to select the appropriate audiences.
Events sorted in chronological order, listing time and location
The event listing shows events pertaining to the current day first, and lists all events by day and specific time in chronological order (the listing specifies which events are ongoing, such as exhibitions and trainings). Individuals who submit items via the submission form see date and time fields, as well as a field for location to allow that information to be displayed.
A brief description of announcements and events that accompany the title
A 100-character description sits with the associated title to add clarity and allow ease of scanning (not in a separate section as previously with Morning Mail).
A detail page for each announcement and event
Descriptions of items open into a new page that allows the space necessary to provide details about the announcement or event. Today@Brown removes the previous 500-word limit of Morning Mail, allows for a full description and also a link to more information (instead of requiring submitters to choose between the two), and introduces consistency in how information is presented.
Further improvements to come
A list of additional features has been identified for future releases of Today@Brown. We welcome your feedback about what’s working and what we should enhance for Today@Brown.