NEO Pro e-mail tool gets a grade change

The GCN Lab boosts the GPA of the Caelo software after six months of daily use

I’m not sure how it happened, but for some reason one of my main responsibilities in life these days is to assign letter grades. I have to grade my students’ papers and, as a GCN Lab reviewer, I have to assign grades to the products I review.

On rare occasions I’ve changed students’ grades when they proved to me that they had done work I had overlooked.

So after some soul-searching recently, I feel compelled to change the grade of a product I reviewed in June, the NEO Pro 4.0 e-mail organizer from Caelo Software. I gave it a very positive review, but I gave it a B+ for ease of use. Now, having used NEO Pro for six months, I realize I shortchanged it. The product deserves an A for ease of use.

The feature that has really helped me has been NEO Pro’s search function. For example, my colleagues in public relations will call me about an e-mail they sent the week before, and instead of sputtering an excuse and doing a panicked search in Outlook like I used to, I can go to the search bar in NEO Pro and find the exact e-mail in a second or less. I can search by correspondent or keyword. Now I come across as a model of efficiency and e-mail hygiene. Nobody has to know that I have 3,000-plus e-mails clogging up the cyber pipes or that I routinely get snotty messages from our systems administrator telling me to clean out my e-mail or else.

To be quite honest, I wish I didn’t have to be so judgmental and assign so many letter grades. I tell my students I wish I taught at St. John’s College in Annapolis, where nobody gets traditional grades. I’m starting to think that grades actually detract from the learning process. Too many times I’ve felt like the teacher Jack Black plays in the movie "School of Rock" when he tells the class overachiever, Summer, that he will send her back to the first grade if she grade-grubs one more time.

So NEO Pro, there’s no need to grade-grub. You convinced me, you’re a near-straight-A product, and I’m changing your grade. Yes, it’s going on your official transcript. And no, this won’t be on the quiz.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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