A new email system is set to go into effect at the University of South Dakota this summer.
The system upgrade, Microsoft Office 365, will replace the Microsoft Live system implemented last summer.
The switch is not optional – Microsoft is requiring all businesses and individuals using its email system to upgrade to Office 365 by June 14, said Cheryl Tiahrt, USD director of Information Technology.
Tiahrt said the new system will split each student email account into two separate accounts: an Office 365 account and a personal Microsoft account.
Students’ Office 365 accounts will be similar to their current Microsoft Live accounts — administered by the university and featuring an updated version of their Microsoft Outlook email account — while the personal account will offer users access to additional Microsoft services.
Vice President of Information Technology Roberta Ambur said the university decided to switch to the new system during the summer to inconvenience as few email users as possible.
“The majority of the students, except for the summer students, will be out of school, and it’s before everyone comes back,” Ambur said, adding it was the “least disruptive time” to do an email upgrade.
Tiahrt emphasized much of the email system would remain the same. Students will continue to access their email through the USD University Portal (myu.usd.edu), though the layout will look different and will be missing the USD logo.
“This is a lot less drastic of a change,” Tiahrt said. “This is the same product, it’s just an upgrade. But there are some changes.”
These changes include a new instant messaging system, online meeting system and increased email storage, from 10 gigabits to 25 gigabits. Students will still be able to use “SkyDrive,” a place online where students can store files, but the drive will no longer be associated with the USD email account.
“We’re thinking it will be somewhat seamless for the students,” Ambur said.
Sophomore April Tjaden said she thought there could be positives to upgrading the email system.
“Maybe more students will use it instead of using a different account, like Gmail,” Tjaden said.
First-year Lindsay Jones said she wasn’t worried about the switch.
“I think it’s alright,” Jones said. “I don’t think it will be an issue.”