Suzanne Buchholz, Senior Reporter
During the summer, Pierce College student emails switched from Google’s Gmail to Outlook, the service provided through Microsoft Office 365.
The change in emails was the result of Pierce implementing new Microsoft Office 365 programs across all campuses. These programs were adopted to provide students with a variety of tools to help them gain academic success and allow them to use services that hadn’t been available before, Web and Database Programmer Rosemary Cooke said.
“We’ve been planning for some time to provide Microsoft Office 365 to Pierce College students, in part because of feedback from the students themselves about the value of the service,” Cooke said. “All of our students now have full access to the Microsoft Office suite of applications, some of the most powerful and ubiquitous productivity tools available, at no additional cost beyond tuition.”
In August, currently enrolled students received emails through their Gmail accounts informing them of the changes being made to the email services. The email gave instructions on how to transfer their account from Gmail to Outlook, as well as how to retrieve any old emails and addresses they had stored in their old accounts. Although the accounts are new through Outlook, they use the same usernames that students had through Gmail.
Some students reported issues switching their emails since the Aug. 26 cutover date, Cooke said. Staff at the Help Desk have assisted students with problems ranging from logging in for the first time to updating the accounts on their phones to continue receiving new messages, among others.
“The biggest change from how our Google Gmail accounts were handled is that we are no longer providing default passwords,” Cooke said. “Our student Microsoft Office 365 account passwords must meet more stringent complexity requirements than Google passwords did.”
Student email passwords now must be eight to 16 characters long and are required to have at least one upper and lower-case letter, a number and a character such as a punctuation symbol. Pierce staff decided to give students randomly-generated temporary passwords as a means of making it easier for them than trying to fulfill all these new requirements. Students can reset their passwords at any time by logging into their MyPierce portal and using the password reset tool under the Microsoft Office 365 tab.
“Additionally, students who set up two-factor authentication on their Microsoft Office 365 accounts can use that second factor to recover access on their own in the event they forget their password, no Help Desk call or MyPierce reset needed,” Cooke said. “We’re very excited for our students to be empowered in this way.”
Students who are still struggling to transfer their emails can get help in several ways by finding tutorials on the Pierce website, contacting the Help Desk and Student Technology Assistance Team or visiting the IT department on campus.
“We’re excited for our students to have access to the Microsoft Office suite of applications, and online support for collaboration and sharing,” Cooke said. “Rolling our student email into the Microsoft Office 365 service gives Pierce students a single starting point for communication, collaboration and productivity.”
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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