On May 5, 2017, Otterbein transitioned from the use of Google applications to Microsoft’s Office 365. For students, faculty and staff, this meant that everyone’s email accounts, calendars and contacts migrated over to the new email service called Outlook. This isn’t Otterbein’s first encounter with Outlook; in March 2012, Otterbein made the initial switch from Outlook to Google. Now that the university is going back to Outlook, there are many questions being raised, one being why they decided to switch back. According to Tahsha Harmon, director of technical support and training, the decision to switch back to Outlook was for the students’ benefit. Otterbein made the switch for three main reasons. • To prepare students for the business world • To utilize the collaboration tools with full versions of Microsoft Office products • To use a better security to protect private information Otterbein used to host its own email server. Keeping up with spam issues and corrupted accounts was a daunting and time-consuming task. The system even became blacklisted from sending any emails when a big spam attack hit the campus. To eliminate these issues, Otterbein decided to switch to a hosted model. This would provide stability for the university and allow students to use apps and collaboration tools online. Outlook is also widely used by businesses and professionals. “We are graduating students with experience in using the very same platform that is the most widely used in businesses today,” Harmon said. The move to go back to Outlook was not a popular one for many on campus. Here’s how students and faculty feel about the switch and their thoughts on the issue.
Q: How did you find out about the switch?
I was in Italy when the switch actually happened. I had no idea. My professor sent us our train ticket through our email, but I didn’t have the Outlook app, so I didn’t have the ticket. I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to be downloading, and I was on a time crunch because I needed the ticket to get on the train… It was a very stressful time. —Cassidy Whetro, sophomore, communication major
Q: What were your first thoughts about the switch?
A: I was pretty upset. I didn’t want to have to switch my files over, nor did I want to have to switch my photos over. It was super frustrating, too, that they told us with such little notice. —Autumn McCandlish, junior, photography and public relations major
A: I was not happy about the switch. I have used Gmail for a long time, and I know how to use it well. Outlook was foreign to me. —Cassidy Whetro
A: I wasn’t happy about it, and I’m still not happy about it. We do a lot of change at Otterbein and sometimes I think that different departments don’t know that other departments are about to make changes and it can be disruptive when we are trying to do things. So it just seemed like one more change. —Dan Steinberg, professor
A: I just didn’t like that I had to switch everything from my old email on to this one. It was very tedious and not everything switched over. I lost a good amount of my contacts. —Isaiah McDaniel, junior, systems engineering major
A: I didn’t mind it at first, but after I realized how different Outlook is from Gmail, and it kind of freaked me out. I had no idea what I was doing. —Kira Watkins, sophomore, communication major
Q: Have your thoughts changed at all?
A: I don’t dislike Outlook as much as I did initially, but I still don’t really like it. With Gmail, everything was all together. You had your drive, slides and email all in one. —Cassidy Whetro
A: Now that I’ve had some time to learn how to navigate Outlook, it isn’t as bad as I thought. It did take me longer to learn than Gmail did though. —Kira Watkins
Q: What are some things you like and dislike about Outlook?
A: I don’t like that when I pull up Outlook on my computer, it only takes up half the screen. I have to completely click on emails to view them. There is no quick view. Also, some of my emails don’t show up on my computer but they show up on my phone. —Cassidy Whetro
A: The outlook app is semi-decent. It’s helpful to manage my calendar, but I still like Google Calendar much more. The fact that all of my fellow students/professors emails are extremely easy to find is nice, but I feel like that would’ve been a feature accessible with Google. —Autumn McCandlish
A: Well, I like that we have an email system. I can’t say that there is anything in Outlook that I like better than Gmail. Outlook is not as user friendly. All of my old contacts weren’t saved when we switched it over, so I have to look up more things than I used to. —Dan Steinberg
A: I love Outlook! All of my apps are right there where I need them. I’m more of a fan of Google Drive than I am of OneDrive though. Google Drive is just easier to navigate. —Aja Peltomaa, junior, early childhood education major
Q: If given the opportunity, would you switch back to Google? Why or why not?