Only 13% eligible students have moved to Outlook despite encouragement to switch

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By Patrick Sullivan, Film & TV Editor

The University are running a final information session on 1 May to address any questions about the IT migration to Microsoft 365, while keeping Google services available until September.

An email was sent to students eligible to migrate on 8 April from the newly named Digital Bristol, formerly Digital Workspace, to advertise a 30 minute information session about the move from GMail to Microsoft Outlook and the wider change of all services to Microsoft 365.

There was also further details given about the migration timeline. After providing further clarification to Epigram, Digital Bristol confirmed student Google accounts would not be closing until the new academic year, either in September or October, ‘to give students more time’. This important date has been pushed back from the originally stated date of August.

The email included the following statement: ‘There are just 6 weekends left to opt-in at time that suits you. We strongly recommend migrating before the 13th June to allow yourself enough time to learn how to use the new tools before your Google account is closed at the start of the new academic year.’

A spokesperson added: ‘We really want students to migrate earlier so that they can get the necessary support.’

Digital Bristol has also clarified that ‘weekends’ are the times when migrations to Outlook can occur and ‘there will not be any migrations over Easter and the May Bank holiday weekends’. This is so staff can offer their full support to students during the transition. Students can opt-in at any time, but the email change itself happens only at weekends in an attempt to minimise disruption and will be allocated to weekends outside of the holiday periods.

13 June is another important date as the last day to opt-in during term and any student who opts in after that point will be ‘mass migrated’ in mid-July.

Digital Bristol and the University are encouraging the affected students, those not in final year, to start the process as soon as possible and switch to Outlook. However, students in the midst of deadlines and nearing exams are still dubious. Only around 13% of eligible students have been successfully migrated as of 12 April with the remaining students yet to opt in.

A Second Year History undergraduate student Epigram spoke to about why they had yet to make the move.

‘I like GMail, I don’t know if Outlook is good and I save my projects on [Google Drive]. I’m not going to move over when it’s such a crucial time of year. GMail is so easy, why are we moving?’

"We are aware and understanding that students will soon be entering exam lead up and did not mean this to sound as if we are putting any further pressure on them. The majority of the migrations are for second year students and we are mindful that coming back to a new academic year with the pressure of having to learn a new system and familiarise themselves with the Office 365 tools could also be stressful at the start of term."
A spokesperson for Digital Bristol on the timing of the IT migration

In Digital Bristol’s email, three positive experiences were included and one student who migrated said: ‘I thought the process was quick and easy with very little effort required from me. [...] Outlook in particular looks far more professional than Google Mail.’

When asked for comment on the effects of migrating close to exams, a spokesperson for Digital Bristol said: ‘We are aware and understanding that students will soon be entering exam lead up and did not mean this to sound as if we are putting any further pressure on them. The majority of the migrations are for second year students and we are mindful that coming back to a new academic year with the pressure of having to learn a new system and familiarise themselves with the Office 365 tools could also be stressful at the start of term.’

Featured Image: Unsplash / Benjamin Dada


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AUTHOR

Patrick Sullivan

Epigram Film & TV Editor 2018-19. Engineering student turned amateur screenwriter turned film critic, continually fed up of films unnecessarily longer than two hours.

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