Student email to switch to Gmail beginning in August
All undergraduate student email will switch to Gmail between this August and December, the culmination of a semester-long joint project between the Office of Information Technology and the USG to evaluate potential replacements for the current Webmail system.
Gmail will be the default email service for members of the Class of 2016, and this summer members of the Classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015 will have their email switched to the new server, Joseph Karam, the manager of enterprise services at OIT, said in an email. Though Gmail will be the default, Karam added that OIT is considering adding Microsoft Exchange 2010 as another option in 2013.
Gmail is part of a suite of Google applications that will be offered to undergraduates. Google Docs and Google Calendar are already available to the Class of 2016 and will be offered to all students next semester. Google Sites, Google Groups, Google Talk and Google+ are “on the horizon,” according to a new University website detailing the new applications.
The USG and OIT had been piloting both Google Apps for Education, which offers Gmail, and Microsoft Office 365, which offers Exchange 2010. A total of 150 students tested Gmail and Exchange 2010, though only two students chose to test the latter, according to a discussion at the March USG Senate meeting.
“The pilot testers were extremely satisfied with the new email systems they tested, with many remarking on how they already forwarded email to such services as Gmail and were excited to see OIT simplify that process with this project,” USG IT chair Josh Chen ’14 said in email.
Chen also noted that he was impressed with OIT’s effort to use student feedback to make their decision. OIT surveyed pilot testers and held a roundtable discussion, according to Chen, asking students which applications would be useful and what size of an email quota would be sufficient.
Chen said that he was glad that students will be given the option of both Gmail and Microsoft Exchange.
“As a representative of the USG, I'm very excited to see that OIT has planned for both Google Apps and Office 365 to be offered to students,” he said. “I think that this is indubitably the best solution for students.”