The Division of Information Technology presented the overhaul of MyUW and the transition plan from WiscMail to Microsoft Office 365 at the Associated Students of Madison Coordinating Council meeting Wednesday.
The move from WiscMail to Microsoft Office 365 is expected to begin near the end of summer and be completed during the beginning of fall semester, Chris Holsman, director of enterprise internet services at DoIT, said.
After the change, WiscMail and WiscCal features would be made more efficient, Holsman said. The campus formed a project team to consolidate all email systems to Microsoft Office 365, which was chosen over Google because Microsoft was more willing to sign a HIPAA business associate agreement that would provide better prevention and protection from health information being released, he said.
Holsman said the redesign is set up in two phases: first, email and calendar will convert to Office 365 and second, OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive, instant messaging, and other Microsoft programs will be implemented. The process is still in its formative stages, and DoIt is still sorting through implementation steps, he said.
The campus will change usernames from “[first-letter-of-first-name-last-name]” to “[first-name.last-name]” titles, Holsman said. All emails from WiscMail inboxes will need to be moved to Office 365, which will take more time depending on file sizes, he said. Once Office 365 is activated, students will still be able to forward mail to an external inboxes if they prefer, he said.
Once started, Holsman said the change will take several months to implement and switch all students and departments. The DoIt team expects to move incoming freshmen students’ accounts first and then continue sequentially by grade, he said.
DoIt expects to save about half of the current financial budget for MyUW after project is complete, Holsman said. Many other campuses, such as University of Nebraska, University of Iowa and several UW System schools have already made the transition to Office 365, he said.
Holsman said their biggest concern is the unavoidable period when there will be a discrepancy between students still on WiscMail and students using Office 365 because each must be transferred individually. During a student’s transfer period, an offline period of less than an hour will occur, he said.
Holsman said the old account is locked while inbox contents are transferred, but new accounts will be accessible during the process.
ASM representatives raised concerns about the timing of the change and suggested DoIt offer an optional early transfer period to students who want to avoid an overlap during the school year.