MU students begin switching to Outlook Live Webmail

Monday, June 8, 2009 | 9:26 p.m. CDT; updated 6:46 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The decision to switch to Outlook Live Webmail resulted from a project that lasted three years. A previous version of this story included an incorrect number of years.

COLUMBIA — About 3,000 MU students have switched to Outlook Live Webmail since May 26, when the university officially opened access to the new student e-mail system.

Some students have already experienced problems accessing their new e-mail accounts. Chris Gonzales, an MU student majoring in philosophy, said he couldn't access his e-mail for four or five days when he switched over.

“It said that the site was temporarily out of service,” he said.

Kevin Bailey, MU IT director of customer service and support, said students should call the IT Help Desk at 882-5000 during business hours or visit if they experience difficulties.

“There is still some growing pains as we are getting this process worked out, but we are certainly interested in resolving these issues as quickly as possible,” Bailey said.

Over the past two weeks, Bailey said they have received reports from two or three students who had to “wait quite long” before they could use their new e-mail. A student who reported that problem had to wait up to 10 hours, Bailey said.

“There was a log-in problem over the weekend that Microsoft has been working on,” Baily said.

As of Monday, it looks like the problem has been resolved, Bailey said.

The decision to switch to Outlook Live Webmail was not made fast. It's the result of a long-term project that lasted over three years*, Bailey said. MU piloted the new Webmail system among about 100 students this April and May.

The transition to the new system is free.

“It doesn’t cost anything to switch to Outlook Live Webmail, but a little bit of time,” said Terry Robb, spokesman for the MU division of IT.

Bailey said MU will save $100,000 on hardware and $30,000 on the licensing cost per year with Outlook Live Webmail.

Robb said the saved money could be invested in Lecture Capture, a system allowing faculty to record their lectures and upload them on iTunes or their Blackboard Web page.

Some of the money will also go toward the implementation of Web conferencing for Blackboard, which will help faculty run online conferences, he said.

Besides the increased storage memory, which will go from 40 megabytes to 10 gigabytes, the Outlook Live Webmail has a number of interactive features such as messaging, chatting with up to 20 friends, photo sharing and blogging.

Kristy Wanner, a doctoral student majoring in health education and promotion, is excited about having more storage space with the new system.

However, Ken Boehlke, an MU journalism student, is wary about switching to Outlook Live Webmail because he's heard other people have problems with it. He said he does not really believe in promotions; therefore, he does not see the benefit of switching to the new e-mail system.

“I’ll just wait until they force me to do it,” Boehlke said.

Robb said student use of the current domain will expire in October. That is when forwarding from the old e-mail to the new one will discontinue.

“Those students who will not be moved over to Outlook Live Webmail, we will have to move them kind of all at once,” Bailey said.

Chelsea Brittain, an MU junior psychology major, said she has not received any e-mail notifications telling her to switch to Outlook Live Webmail.

“I haven’t switched to it yet, and I don’t know how we are supposed to do that,” she said.

Bailey said students who have not yet opted in will receive e-mail reminder notifications twice a month over the summer.


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