University IT services to switch from Google to Microsoft in August


By Patrick Sullivan, Film & TV Editor

Students received an email several weeks ago confirming key information for the migration plan.

By August 2019, all students who started in September 2017 or earlier - except for final years - will be forced to opt-in to the migration process, losing access to any Google tools linked to their university accounts at the time.

Any documents created using Google’s software should be backed up in the correct file formats for use on Microsoft software, or else it could be lost. There is guidance available for transferring files from Google Drive to OneDrive.

The migration process will occur over a weekend after opting in and students will receive an email explaining how to manage their old GMail and new Outlook accounts during the transition period.

‘We recommend migrating to Outlook early so that you have plenty of time to familiarise yourself with the replacement tools in Office 365’

Emails can be read using the GMail account for 21 days, but the University advises only sending emails via the new Outlook account for full functionality.

Students who opt-in early will still be able to use all Google tools until August 2019, apart from GMail and Google Calendar, whilst also having access to the full set of Microsoft tools.

In their email, the Digital Workspace Programme said: ‘We recommend migrating to Outlook early so that you have plenty of time to familiarise yourself with the replacement tools in Office 365.’

One of the reasons the University has decided to move to Microsoft services is for increased functionality with the Windows 10 operating system installed on most University computers.

Google services are entirely web based tools, which can be openly accessed on any device, but the change will mean University accounts and storage will work in tandem with installed Microsoft products, such as Word or Excel.

The University already offers free downloads of the relevant IT products for students’ personal devices, and will continue to do so to support the switch.

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: ‘We are always seeking to improve university experience and have chosen Office 365 as it offers the most complete suite of tools which are used by many other UK universities, including the majority of the Russell Group.

'These tools will improve collaborative working using the integrated set of tools that are not available on Google such as OneNote, Sway and Planner.’

All University staff use Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook, and students can collaborate with them on files once they migrate. Students who are in their first year of study at the University of Bristol are already using the same system.

The new cohort of students who arrived in September this year were the first to be set up exclusively on Microsoft’s Office 365 and Outlook services, unlike previous students, whose University accounts are part of Google Drive and GMail.

Featured image: Cameron Scheijde/ Epigram

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Patrick Sullivan

Epigram co-Editor-in-Chief 2019-20, now digital puzzles connoisseur. EngD student researching sustainable composites, entering my sixth year at UoB (somehow).