Over the winter break, information technology staff successfully transitioned 75,000 email accounts to the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud. The new email platform may seem the same, but there are many new features that come with this change.
Scott Ayers, IT marketing and communications coordinator, said the switch was seamless and now students will be part of a cloud based service.
“What cloud based means is that instead of being on a server here on campus, you will be on Microsoft Cloud servers,” Ayers said. “So what that means is that you can access your documents on any device.”
Ayers said it was originally estimated to take six weeks to move all 75,000 accounts.
“The truth is, it really didn’t take that long at all,” Ayers said. “It took two and a half days to do all of the student accounts and we tried to pick a time where it wouldn’t affect everyone’s lives.”
Ayers said one of the new features is a larger mailbox for students and staff.
“Now with Microsoft 365, students and faculty have a 50-gigabyte mail box,” Ayers said. “So, you have gone from a one-gigabyte mail box to 50.”
The 18 Microsoft apps that are in Microsoft 365 include Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and many other free options.
“If you try and see how much these apps are it could be pretty expensive,” Ayers said. “So, you’re getting all of these apps for free, which is a good deal.”
Ayers said there is also a new search feature that can search through all the apps and mail in one place.
“This was something the original Bobcat Mail didn’t have,” Ayers said. “Now, you can search through all of your documents on Microsoft 365.”
Microsoft 365 apps could be used anywhere online, desktop and mobile devices.
Sergio Lopez, engineering technology sophomore, said the mobile app is his favorite change.
“Honestly, I think it’s an upgrade, because there is an app for mail now and I get alerts on my phone, and it’s super helpful” Lopez said.
Some students like Tristan Guerra, engineering technology freshman, say that it’s been hard to transition.
“It’s really confusing and I feel like I sometimes get lost by just looking at it,” Guerra said. “I think I just have to get used to it.”
Ayers said the Division of Information Technology is planning to film various tutorials to help students get the most out of Microsoft 365.
“We actually just filmed the first three videos over the weekend,” Ayers said. “We have planned to do over 20 videos so we can help students learn how to use it.”
All of the videos are set to be posted on the website txstate.edu/office365. The webpage will be the main page for Texas State’s Office 365.
Students still having trouble with the new Bobcat Mail can visit ITAC or the Texas State Office 365 webpage for help and assistance.
Ayers believes this is a step forward for Texas State.
“Once people understand they are getting all of these features it will make sense on why we did this,” Ayers said. “Cloud sharing is where it’s at right now and Texas State has been really good with keeping up.”
Ayers said people have been giving great feedback on this change.
“Its been pretty positive, but the things that I have heard from the students is that it allows an easier way of sharing,” Ayers said. “You can share documents and you don’t have to email them and you can have them on Microsoft Cloud.”