Amber Gilliland, Senior Reporter
On May 6, students received an email sent out by Pierce College mentioning that changes will be made to student email accounts in the fall.
The two-sentence email told students that starting fall quarter 2016, the student email will change from Gmail to Outlook Email. As fall approaches, students will be sent instructions on how to convert their accounts.
This vague email left a few students wondering what was going to happen to their account. Some questions whether they would still have access to their accounts and what would happen to the contents of their Google Drives.
Director of IT Integration Andrew Glass is one employee who has been working on the changeover.
“There’s a lot of back end work that has to be done and it’s super technical,” Glass said. “For the student it’ll be relatively seamless.”
Students who are concerned that their accounts will be deleted have nothing to fear, Glass said. The current accounts will still be available to access and the email addresses won’t change; they’ll just now be accessed on Outlook.
The IT department is currently working on creating instruction guides for students that’ll be sent out when it gets closer to the changeover. The tutorials will explain more about the switch and how to transfer things from Gmail such as contacts, calendar appointments and the contents of the student’s Google Drive.
Switching to Outlook will allow cohesion among the programs that students are offered, Glass said.
On January 5, students received an email which contained information on how to download Microsoft Office 365 for free. Each student was given a username and password that allowed them to download the suite which included Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and one terabyte of cloud storage among other programs. Switching the email accounts to Outlook will allow for all the programs to be Microsoft based.
“We’re trying to unify all the student’s services,” Glass said.
The OneDrive storage system will be fairly similar to Google Drive which students currently have access to with their Gmail accounts. OneDrive will allow students to store documents and photos like Google Drive. The system doesn’t allow for creating documents and spreadsheets directly into the drive like Google does, but students can create Microsoft documents with their Office 365 programs and upload them to the cloud.
An informal survey conducted by The Puyallup Post found that most students are checking their student email fairly regularly. Ninety-four percent of students said they check their email at least once a week.
Some students said they’re concerned about losing some of the Gmail features they’re familiar with.
“I have no idea what Outlook is and I’m familiar and comfortable with Gmail,” student Jaycee Johanneck said. “I like having my mail in the same place as my Google Drive, which is where I keep all my assignments.”
Other students said they haven’t heard any news about the changeover.
“I didn’t even know we were changing, but I also don’t check my email so that’s probably why,” student Mansa Lloyd said.
Glass said the switch is set to happen before the beginning of fall quarter, but no exact date has been reached yet. Students should continue to check their emails as the quarter approaches to receive further instructions.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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