Google Email Migration for Faculty and Staff Q&A

My HTML5 Word Cloud

Hello Faculty and Staff!

We have heard from 108 of you so far. Thank you so much for responding!

A number of you have questions about the transition. The word ‘cloud’ above highlights some of the words that were included in your questions. If you have not already taken the survey, please take a few minutes to take it. It will help us as we plan to transition.

Questions and Answers

The following is an exhaustive list of the questions that have been asked so far:

Q1: “I live in Outlook email & calendar, so my concern is just not being able to use that and schedule meetings with my staff through there. “

A: You will still be able to use Outlook.
Several of the questions were related to how Outlook and Google Email will interact. You will still be able to use the Outlook program to check your email. Free/Busy information for scheduling meetings will continue to be available both in Outlook as well as the Web-based email and calendar access. We intend to improve this functionality by adding the ability to schedule different meeting rooms on campus. You will be able to see free/busy information for those rooms as if they were a coworker that you are scheduling the meeting with.

Q2: I have used Gmail – and do not like the way it groups conversations. This seems to inadvertently “hide” email responses in the grouping. I am hoping this is only a settings issue (or possibly due to user error) that can be easily remedied. I prefer the layout and organization of Outlook and am hoping that the new application will have like features.

You can continue to utilize Outlook to read your email. However, like many features in the Google mail web interface, the “conversation view” option can be modified. Take a look at this Google KB article for more information about deactivating “Conversation View.”

Q3: Please pick me as an early user! I am constantly battling the “almost out of space” issue.

We are testing the migration tools on ourselves (IT) first to work out the bugs. We will reach out to a “beta testers” group once we are satisfied that the transitions can be done smoothly.

Q4: My question is: “Does this apply to part-time faculty with MS Outlook Online Express Email… Thanks and I think this is an excellent choice for MU.

The transition applies to ALL email use on campus. One of the big advantages to the IT department is that we will have a single platform to support rather than multiple platforms. Malone’s OWA — Outlook Web Access — will be replaced by the Google email interface. You can preview your Google email account by visiting:

https://mail.google.com/a/malone.edu

and signing in with your malone.edu credentials (though it will be empty). Please be warned that you will, at some point in this process, be prompted to set up what is called 2-Factor authentication. This is an additional layer of security to keep you and your students’ information safe.  More information on this is located in Q15 below.

We will work with part-time staff and adjunct faculty either directly or through their respective departments when it is time to move their accounts.

Q5: Would I be able to utilize Google Calendar to allow students to sign up for [appointments] without violating confidentiality and privacy?

Yes. This is a new/different feature of the Google mail system call “appointment slots.” I anticipate faculty and other departments being able to use this feature for scheduling advising appointments and other meetings with students. The idea is that you would post a range of appointment slots into your own calendar, chopping the range into 15, 30, 45, etc. minute slots. You can then send your students a special calendar web page that shows any openings in your appointment slots. They can click on a slot to schedule that appointment with you.

Students cannot see what others have signed up for. Once made, the appointment will show up on their own Google Calendar. They can even have the system text or email them to remind them of their appointment.

We have been experimenting with this, to varying degrees of success (and failure), for first year writing students and their writing mentors. We also used this to schedule background checks for our students at the beginning of the fall. For more information about “appointment slots,” visit Google’s KB article on the topic.

Q6: My husband was recently switched over to Google and has had MANY problems and says it is NOT user friendly. I am NOT in favor of switching to Google!

We understand your concerns. The decision to make such a big change did not come lightly or quickly to Malone. Indeed, we have been discussing the migration since starting our students in Google in 2008. Our transition plan includes time spent face-to-face in each department to both complete each migration and to answer and address concerns and questions. This is a change and change can be hard. We will work with you and others to minimize the impact of the transition to your work days. Indeed, we hope this will be a net-benefit to the campus.

Q7: Will all of the email folders I currently use in Outlook transfer over to my Google-based account? What about my archive files?

Yes. All folders will be transitioned. Google uses a slightly different “tagging” system that behaves similarly to folders. All mail that is currently stored on your Exchange mailbox will be transitioned. Email that is stored in offline “archives” can also be transitioned upon request. This is one of the reasons we asked about “archived” PSTs in the survey.

Q8: I have multiple email aliases. Will these transition to the new system?

Yes. For a limited number of users on campus, we have created aliases because of either historical precedent or technical issues. These will be transitioned to the Google mail system.

Q9: How will my Apple devices (laptop, desktop, phone, tablet) be affected by the change?

The configuration of Apple devices to connect to Google email is virtually identical to how these devices are connected to our existing Exchange server.

Q10: Will I still be able to do “mail merges” through Outlook with the new system?

Yes. Outlook can continue to act as a conduit for completing mail merges.

Q11: Can I share my calendar with others?

Yes. Sharing calendars, in my opinion, is easier to do in Google than in Exchange. You can share to malone.edu as well as to other outside accounts (though I suggest you be careful with the latter).

Q12: I use many Outlook email templates and would want them to transfer over. I manage multiple emails. I don’t want anything to get lost! 🙂

Anything stored as a message in your accounts, even templates, will be transferred. Be sure to talk to us when you migrate your account and draw our attention to special configurations (managing multiple emails, sending email on behalf of another, etc.)

Q13: Will there be a built-in searchable Global Address list for all malone.edu addresses? 

Yes. In fact, it will include all faculty, staff, and students instead of just faculty and staff.

Q14: What features, if any, will be lost in this transition?

That is a bit hard to quantify. There are so many small features that some use and others don’t even know about. All common features are available in the new system. We will work with you to find feature parity among the old and new systems as well as identify any new features that will benefit you, our customers.

Q15: How is the security of Google Docs compared to Exchange?

Email in the Google mail system is as secure and, in some ways, more secure than in Exchange. This is a topic that we have thought long and hard about as we weighed the pros and cons of the change. You can read more about Google’s commitment to privacy and security at: https://www.google.com/edu/trust/ . We would be happy to discuss the security of the system in more detail; please let us know if you would like to have the conversation.

We have also implemented what is called 2-Factor authentication for any faculty and staff accounts. This will, when a faculty or staff member signs into Google directly with Google (not through our campus’ single-sign-on system), mean that you will be sent a text message or telephone call with a confirmation number before you can access resources on a new or untrusted computer. The system will also email you when your credentials are used on a new computer and tell you what city and state that use occurred in.

Updated Monday, 29 February 2016:

Q16: I am a member of MANY professional listserv’s. Will I have to try to hunt down and re-subscribe to all those with the switch? That could be a deal breaker for me…really difficult.

No. You will NOT need to resubscribe. Since your email address will not change with the transition to Google, any listserv’s that you are currently a member will ‘follow’ your email address to the new hosting platform.

Original Announcement and Survey Invitation

Subject: Email system Survey and Announcement – Malone is migrating Faculty and Staff Email to Google from Exchange
Date: December 3, 2015 at 12:10:23 PM EST
To: faculty <faculty@malone.edu>, staff <staff@malone.edu>

Dear Malone Faculty and Staff:

Malone students and alumni have been utilizing Google Apps for Education since 2008. The Administration, in conjunction with the Information Technologies Department, has decided to move all faculty and staff to Google to both provide a more unified experience for the community as well as streamline our support for email, calendaring, and contacts.

Migration Survey: http://goo.gl/forms/3av2DHNW2V

Here are a few of the advantages to moving faculty and staff to Google Apps for Education:

  • No more managing your email mailbox size. You can store as much email as you like; there is no maximum!
  • You will be on the same system as students. That opens up possibilities for calendaring (namely appointment slots, free/busy info, and calendar invites) that were previously not available.
  • Email distribution list archiving. No need to keep ‘faculty,’ ‘staff,’ and ‘community’ emails as they will all be available in the group archive for your reference.
  • You can continue to utilize Outlook or use the web-based tools (or both!) to access your email, calendar, and contacts.
  • Self-service checking of spam filters for missed messages.
  • All system features are available via the web client.
  • Additional end-user devices supported.
  • Additional security for your email through 2-Factor authentication.

We need your help!

We are working through the many back-end details to successfully complete the transition between now and 30 June 2016. We need some information from you to help us plan the transition. Please fill out this short survey. Your information will help us help you better as we make the move.

Survey: http://goo.gl/forms/3av2DHNW2V

But I have questions!?

Take the survey and ask the questions you have in the space provided at the end. We will also come and speak at a department meeting or other gathering at your chair’s request.

 

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