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Hop’s Digital Sphere

Henry Fisher ’20
With our increasingly tech-centered lives, keeping track of assignments and schedules illogically becomes less manageable; there is undoubtedly an element of over-complication in the overlap of Classroom, Drive, and Gmail.
I like Google as much as any other Hilltopper, but I don’t think I’m unreasonable in expecting more from an age (at least in the tech world), in which simplicity, industrial design, and functional minimalism are in fashion. I believe that Hopkins’ digital organization could be greatly improved, especially regarding how we use Google services. To clarify: my reasoning is purely speculative and examines some potential reform of Hopkins’ digital infrastructure.

Scrolling through your inbox can often feel less like surfing the web than rowing across the river Styx—slowly crawling downward towards a horrific pit of dead fwd:s, re:s, and CCs. And while such a first-world comparison may seem second-rate, I’ve seen firsthand how much cluttered inboxes impede productivity. And that’s why I suggest email filters; I’m consistently surprised about how few students use them to sort through the contaminated stream that is the daily onslaught of Hopkins emails. Within the Gmail settings, one can use filters and groups to channel their channel of ever-present emails. Whether the culprit is the nagging alerts from Google Classroom or the sharing announcements from Drive, filters can take out the figurative trash. Furthermore, you can even split up your classes into different Gmail folders (or groups), as well as sorting emails with a certain word or phrase in them (like @Hop.) 

Speaking of inboxes, Hop’s lost-and-found system leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, it gets the job done, but its effectiveness could be greatly improved by simply using classroom. The concept is simple: when someone loses something of theirs, he/she posts it on a certain classroom page, and if someone finds something, they just respond or seek out the original owner. In fact (or at least in practice), an all-school classroom page could do more than just lose-and-find: it can show-and-tell, too. Are you a faculty member that needs to publicize major announcements and/or special schedules? A club head that needs to broadcast a play or meeting? A coach that wants to advertise a big game? A classroom page would broadcast your big day, in a big way. Ideally, this would serve as a non-scheduled supplement to our semiweekly assemblies; Furthermore, announcements and public questions would gain temporal freedom due to no longer being restricted by assemblies.

Allow me to share a bit of postulated reasoning: post-elated disorganization (so long as tedium agitates you) can hinder school work. A cluttered inbox can microcosmically induce cosmic frustration, but a conventional convening of convenient announcements may help. And with that bit of alliterative allegory, I leave you to ponder the potential for digital improvement at the Hop. 
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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