We have had FirstClass in our SU for a number of years for email and
conferencing (news and discussion areas) - first as WAN only and so
teachers and staff also had govnet addresses for "outside email". We have
moved from Govnet, but kept the domain name and any old mail from govnet
addressed can be delivered to users' FirstClass mailboxes by pointing the
domain name to our FirstClass server and adding the alias to their
profile. When they either are done or want to stop mail from that
address, the alias can be deleted and the user carries on. FirstClass
also allows you to assign users to different domain names, for instance,
our high school student use a different domain name.
Leaving govnet did mean losing the free dial-up but I found that I was
increasingly supporting teacher's families use which may not have been
primarily educational in nature. These were often time consuming, off
hours types of support. I don't feel too bad suggesting a $9.95/month
dialup (access only) account from VTel and the ISP can provide the support
directly as needed.
I have always found FirstClass easy to administer but also full of neat
features that seem particularly good for teachers. Almost all new hires
take to it with minimal training and our administrators have insisted on
its use which means participation is very high. The cross platform client
and web browser access make it available to anyone everywhere so there are
no real excuses for not using it. FirstClass also provides a real
seamless interface to producing and maintaining web pages.