OCMail Frequently Asked Questions

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OCMail Basics

What is OCMail?

OCMail is Oberlin College's e-mail service, powered by Google Apps for Education. It is similar to Google's GMail product, but has been customized for Oberlin. Basic features of OCMail:

  • Unlimited storage quota (this number rises daily)
  • Automatic spam filtering
  • Handy and fast tagging and searching of email

For more information, see Google's Why Gmail? site.

What services are included with my OCApps account?

Your OCApps account consists of e-mail (OCMail). OCTalk (chat application), OCCal (web-based calendaring), and OCDocs (collaborative document sharing), and OCSites (wiki and website builder). Additional Google apps may be launched in the future.

Can I log on to other Google-sponsored services with my OCApps username and password?

Your OCApps username and password will only work with the services that have been deployed within the Oberlin domain. To access other Google services (e.g. Blogger, Picasa, Reader etc.), you will need to apply for a “non College” account through Google.

Why are the OCMail services for enrolled students slightly different those publicly provided by Google?

OCMail accounts have been customized for optimal educational collaboration. As an enrolled student, you will not see advertisements and Oberlin branding will appear at the top of most OCApps pages. In addition, OCMail has taken steps to ensure that your student data is protected above and beyond a publicly available account.

Using OCMail

Can I use Firefox? Internet Explorer? Safari? Opera?

OCMail can be accessed through any major browser, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, Mozilla, Netscape and others.

Can I use OCMail on my BlackBerry, iPhone, Treo, iPod Touch?

If you have a BlackBerry®, you can install the OCMail mobile application onto your BlackBerry smartphone for access to your mail account by browsing to http://m.google.com/a from your BlackBerry. If you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, you can both configure your mail application to use OCMail or access a streamlined version of the OCMail web interface from your phone, built especially for mobile devices. For configuration help with the iPhone, click here.

The mail application on the Treo (VersaMail) and other palm devices is not currently capable of the secure connection that OCMail demands to send mail and the Palm web browser is not capable of view the web client or using the OCMail mobile client.

Check out the resources Google has provided here on using Google services with mobile devices: http://www.google.com/mobile/mail/index.html

Can I access my OCMail from within Blackboard?

After opting in to OCMail the mail tab normally located in the upper-left of the screen will disappear in favor of the OCMail logo. Click through to view your inbox.

I'm an international student and can't open OCMail.

Please read this walkthrough; if that doesn't help, please contact us.

Are there limitations on file sizes within OCMail?

You can send and receive mail messages up to 20 MB in size, including attachments.

My desktop e-mail client isn't sending or receiving mail, but it previously worked. What should I do?

OCMail experiences temporary timeouts when connecting with desktop clients via IMAP. Please be patient (may be up to fifteen minutes at a time) and the problem should resolve itself automatically.

Are there limitations on the types of files I can attach to e-mail?

Yes. As a security measure to prevent potential viruses, OCMail doesn't allow you to send or receive executable files (such as files ending in .exe) that could contain damaging executable code. OCMail won't accept these types of files even if they are sent in a zipped (.zip, .tar, .tgz, .taz, .z, .gz) format. If this type of message is sent to your OCMail address, it is bounced back to the sender automatically.

Are there limitations to how many messages I can send in one day?

Yes. In order to combat spam, Google imposes a 500 message per day limit on all users. If a user sends more than this number, they are assumed to be spamming others and their account will be locked, without the knowledge or control of CIT, for 24 hours. While the limit is on 500 individual messages (or subject lines), each message can be sent to a maximum of 500 users without issue.

What are labels and how do I use them?

In OCMail, labels replace the function that folders previously served. They do all the work of folders and give you an extra bonus: you can add more than one label to an email or conversation. Once you've created a label, you can view all the messages with that label by searching, or by clicking the label name along the left side of any OCMail page. CIT has provided detailed walkthrough help on creating, editing, deleting or using your labels.

What are OCMail threads/conversations?

OCMail groups all replies with their original message, creating a single conversation or thread. In other email systems, responses appear as separate messages in your inbox, forcing you to wade through all your mail to follow the conversation. In OCMail, replies to replies (and replies to those replies) are displayed in one place, in order, making it easier to understand the context of a message -- or to follow the conversation.

When you open one message in a conversation, all of your related messages will be stacked neatly on top of each other, like a deck of cards. This is called Conversation View. In Conversation View, each new message is stacked on top of the ones that arrived before it, so that the newest message is always the one you see first.

To see all the messages in a conversation, just click Expand all on the right-hand side of the window.

I get an error that says "Web Login Required" or "Invalid Credentials". What should I do?

Click on the link here https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha to unlock the captcha for your OCMail account.

How do I set-up vacation messages/auto-forwarding for my OCMail account?

You can create a vacation response in your OCMail that will automatically reply to anyone who e-mails you. Forwarding capabilities are also available within your account settings. Please note that unlike when using ObieMail, vacation auto-responders within OCMail must be added and removed manually. That is, you cannot set dates for the response to begin and end. Take care to remove the responder after your vacation!

How does the OCMail spam filter work?

OCMail automatically filters spam and places it into a Spam folder. You can view the contents of that folder through the OCMail web interface or by accessing your mailbox using IMAP settings. (Please note: If you are using POP settings to access your inbox with your favorite mail client, you will not be able to see the spam folder.) Spam messages are saved for 30 days before being permanently deleted.

OCMail does an excellent job of filtering spam, but if you should get a spam message in your inbox that slipped by the filter, simply click "Report Spam" at the top of the message to mark it for the future. Conversely, if you find a message from a contact in your spam folder, click the "Not Spam" button to move it back out into your inbox. OCMail is a quick learner too, so if you mark messages appropriately, they won't get incorrectly labelled in the future.

Additionally, CIT has worked with Google to ensure that all ConnectEd (Oberlin College's warning system) messages will be sent through immediately and will not be caught in the spam filter.

Can I combine my new OCMail account with a Gmail account I already have?

No. You'll need to log out and log back in under your personal Gmail account to view messages sent there.

Can I use POP to access my OCMail with a desktop client?

CIT recommends that you use IMAP settings instead of POP to access your mail using Mac Mail, Thunderbird or other desktop e-mail clients.

Where can I go for additional help?

For additional support with OCMail or any college computing resources, you can send e-mail to the CIT Help Desk at cit@oberlin.edu or call at ext. 58197. You can also visit the Help Desk during regular business hours in the Academic Commons.

I'm graduating/leaving the College. How can I save my old e-mail?

Instructions for exporting your e-mail messages can be found here here.

I'm graduating. How long will my account remain active?

Your OCApps account will remain active until Commencement 4 years after graduation. More information can be found at Leaving the College.

Privacy and Security

Is my OCMail account secure and private?

Yes. Before choosing to partner with Google to provide email service, Oberlin College took steps to ensure that your data would be protected above and beyond a publicly available account. Google has promised to uphold a strict privacy policy and to always treat your personal information with the utmost care and security. Read more about Google Privacy & Security.

How do I ensure that my data stays secure when I'm using a shared or public computer?

Just closing the Web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) will not end your session and the next user will have full access to your OCMail account. Click the “sign out” button when you are finished using your OCMail account on a shared or public computer.

How do I ensure that my data stays secure when I'm using WiFi?

There are inherent security problems with wireless network communications (WiFi), and these vulnerabilities are present in all wireless communications. To protect your data against this sort of vulnerability, CIT recommends the use of Virtual Private Networking software, described on our web page.