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Changes made to Ohio State faculty, staff email services

The Office of the Chief Information Officer will be redirecting users of the OSU Webmail service to the new University E-mail Service on March 1, according to a release on OCIO’s website.

Katharine Keune, director of OCIO communication, said in an email that there will be no change to students’ email service and Outlook Live will continue to host the Buckeye Mail service. The changes implemented on March 1 will not affect the students’ university email service.

“The only change students may need to be aware of from the March 1 OSU Webmail service retirement and transition is that the webmail.osu.edu page will look a bit different,” Keune said. “Students that use the webmail.osu.edu page to access Buckeye Mail may want to update their browser bookmarks to use email.osu.edu.”

However, the old web address, webmail.osu.edu, will automatically redirect students and staff to the new address.

There have been complaints that the old Webmail service was not as optimal as other services.

“I have had my osu.edu email rerouted to Gmail. I did it because I was dissatisfied with the university email system,” said Maura Heaphy, senior lecturer in the English Department. “My husband uses the university system and although my impression is that it’s improved from the last time I used it, I still have the impression that there are some odd lapses.”

In October 2009, a project was put into action to address the problems with the university’s existing email services and to attempt to create a university-wide, integrated email and calendaring service for faculty and staff. The initiative was to be in line with President E. Gordon Gee’s sixth strategic goal: “Simplify University Systems and Structures,” of his One University initiative.

“We will … examine and modify our administrative practices, review our budget system, share resources and streamline services,” according to Gee’s sixth goal in his initiative to make “the coming years Ohio State’s time.”

At the beginning of the project, Keune said there were more than 100 email systems being used by university staff members, making it difficult to communicate and collaborate over the varying platforms. All faculty and staff accounts using the old Webmail service have already been migrated to the new E-mail service.

“The (new) University E-mail Service is the new email and calendaring service for Ohio State faculty and staff only,” Keune said. “This service features Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Outlook and is being rolled out to faculty and staff on a unit-by-unit basis through 2015.”

Some of the features of the new email service include: 500 MB of storage (Webmail provided only 30 MB), feature-rich support for Outlook Web and Desktop App for calendar and mailbox access, and a Global Address List (which will contain information about all users on the service including shared calendar information university wide).

“The new service was built using the Office of Student Life’s proven, highly functional and highly available model and has the capacity to serve all Ohio State faculty and staff,” Keune said. “Other than the web page changes noted, faculty and staff should not experience any email service interruptions in regards to the OSU Webmail service retirement planned for March 1.”

There will continue to be a number of changes within the university, all of which Gee said he envisions will make OSU “the university of the American dream, an institution worthy of the public trust and the front door to Ohio’s future.”

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