Email migration to Microsoft begins this week

Kayla Gleason, Reporter

Students’ emails will be automatically migrated to Microsoft Outlook starting this week.

At the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester, Kent State’s Division of Information Services announced a campus-wide email migration from Google Gmail to Microsoft Outlook.

Students were given the option of converting their accounts last semester. According to Douglas Mills of the Division of Information Services, around 1,000 students opted to do so. Students who did not already switch accounts will have their emails migrated automatically this semester.

“As we’re getting ready to start switching over, we’re going to pull out a group of 450 students to start,” Mills said. “We’re going to start slow and build that cadence with it.”

An email will be sent to students a couple of days before they will automatically be switched over. The email will contain instructions detailing the next steps using Microsoft 365.

As for the actions students need to take to switch platforms, the steps are minimal.

“The only impact or change that would come to students would be setting up your mobile phone app to check your mail,” Chris Klinger, another member of the email migration team, said. “It’s just going to be a matter of familiarization with the new mail client.”

The two platforms are similar in functions and features, but Microsoft Outlook has extra features that will now be available, including easy access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Increased use of Microsoft in classrooms and in the workforce was one of the main elements in considering the switch from Google Gmail. The switch will also put students and faculty on the same platform.

“The biggest thing is it brings students and faculty and staff all under the same umbrella of tools, which makes it very easy to manage,” Klinger said. “Having them in the same environment gives you that kind of equal experience overall.”

Stefanie Moore, a professor who teaches in the School of Media and Journalism, said students and faculty sharing the same platform is beneficial.

“We can type a student’s name in Outlook, and it will automatically find them for us, instead of us having to go to the directory online,” she said. “I just feel like it will help us find each other easier.”

Moore sees several benefits to the migration, including workforce preparation and the extra features available, but she also understands the struggles students may have with this switch.

“We get comfortable with our platforms and anytime something’s changed, it’s hard,” she said. “There’ll be some growing pains there, but I think in the end, it will be good.”

Many students have concerns about changing to this new platform, such as how they are going to adjust to it and if there will be confusion within classes over who has switched over already and who has not.

“Anytime that there is an update or a migration, bugs and issues are inevitable,” Moore said. “I think we can probably anticipate some, but I’m hoping that it is a smooth transition.”

The first group of 450 students will be automatically switched over as early as this week.

Kayla Gleason is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]