Digital Disarray

Christina Kelso

Photo Illustration by Grace Singer

Beginning Oct. 24, as Jacksonville University students and faculty logged onto their university e-mail accounts they were confronted with a widely discontenting mid-semester shift. Instead of the familiar Hotmail screen, students were directed instead to Microsoft’s Outlook Live software.

This adjustment was in response to a decision by Microsoft to begin charging for the version of Hotmail traditionally used by JU, leading the university to opt instead for the free version of Outlook. While the shift occurred with relative smoothness, as with any major transition, it was not without its rough areas.

“It isn’t completely unmanageable,” said freshman Sarah Jurkoic, “but it was inconvenient to change it spontaneously. It stresses out my email checking time.”

The main issues encountered throughout the switch were missing e-mails, lost contacts and difficulties with the Outlook program such as sending e-mails and connecting to the server. While this presented only a minor inconvenience for the majority of users, for some it posed more of a serious concern.

“I missed a week of e-mails during registration week because I didn’t get the e-mail saying it switched over. It went to my new account,” said sophomore Stephen Cowan. “That just blows man.”

The IT Office, after becoming aware that the change would have to occur, sent out two informational e-mails to all Hotmail users informing them of the upcoming switch. However, the nature of the change led it to be met with a fog of confusion nonetheless.

“I felt that a little more communication would have been helpful,” said Professor Anne Acker, chair of the department of computing science and member of the instructional resource committee.

Although she expressed some concern over the switch occurring in the middle of the semester, she wanted to clarify the cause for students.

“The IT Office did not do it on a whim. It was a decision made by Microsoft to do it at that time,” she said.

Despite the inherent troubles that accompany any large scale change, there is a clear positive side of the spectrum. The Outlook App for phones received repeated compliments throughout the student body.

To assist students in the e-mail adjustment, the IT Office outlined five things that users should check. This consists of verifying that all e-mails and contacts were migrated between the two e-mail providers successfully, transferring calendar information from Windows Live Calendar to Outlook Live, resetting in Outlook any automatic e-mail forwarding that was set up in Hotmail and setting up any contact catagories from Hotmail as “distribution groups” in Outlook.

Additionally, if users come across any issues setting up the new e-mail on his or her phone, step-by-step instructions can be accessed on it.ju.edu. Students can also contact the IT Helpdesk directly by stopping by the office located in Founders, calling 256-7200 or e-mailing [email protected]