UCSB student email service U-Mail is set to be gradually eliminated and replaced by new electronic mailing service Microsoft Office 365 throughout this quarter.
Associated Students passed a resolution to begin the movement of updating the email platform for UCSB in 2011 in order to provide students with better efficiency and organization tools. Office 365 is an online program set to hold 25 gigabytes of space — as opposed to U-Mail’s 200 megabyte limit — for email messages, calendars, instant messaging, file sharing and Office Web Applications including Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
According to UCSB Information and Technology Services Manager of Identity & Email Services Matthew Dunham, who oversaw the technical side of the server change project, the change between servers will not be too dramatic.
“The change will be mostly transparent … email addresses won’t change,” Dunham said. “The U-Mail service, as it has been called, will continue to be called the U-Mail service. The main difference is that rather than having servers that live at UCSB over in Phelps Hall, we will instead have servers that live out on the internet.”
According to RHA president and third-year political science major Jonathan Abboud, the new server should be a more updated and organized platform from which students can monitor their messages. Abboud led the Student Email Governance Committee, which collaborated with UCSB administration to bring about the server switch.
“I’m pretty happy that we finally encouraged the university to upgrade the email system and that students and administration worked together to change it,” Abboud said.
Currently the main source of virtual communication between staff and faculty members, Office 365 will provide enhanced support for smartphones and opportunities for managing address book entries.
First-year anthropology major Jose Gamez said he hopes the new platform will be a more efficient and refreshing way for students to organize their information.
“I am really excited about the new email program we are going to use,” Gamez said. “U-Mail is pretty boring and doesn’t have much to it. The Microsoft program sounds like it will be much more convenient for the students.”
The server change will occur in a gradual process throughout the quarter, although time spans of information transfer are not yet certain. Selected accounts will receive an email notification of server change to Office 365. All previous messages from the U-Mail account will be copied into the new Microsoft account, and any additional emails sent to the original server will be transferred automatically.
Once the transitional process is complete, all that will remain on the U-mail page will be an email with a link to the new account. Users can still log back in to U-Mail, but Office 365 will be the default UCSB mailing server.
The SEGC has conducted pilot runs with about 200 students and reported no errors with the service and transitional process. A support staff has been hired in case more advanced troubleshooting is required for the server. More information will be provided in the first email sent to students regarding the switch in email platforms.