On Monday afternoon, UCSB students were notified by email that their U-Mail accounts will be moved from Office 365 onto Connect Google Suite Suite for Education.
UCSB Chief Information Officer Matt Hall told The Bottom Line that he and his team have been migrating faculty and staff accounts to G-Suite for Education since 2016. The goal of this sustained effort is primarily simplification.
“When I arrived in 2015, the UCSB mail and calendar system was incredibly complicated,” said Hall.
Hall explained that the decision to migrate student accounts was largely motivated by the discovery that nearly 65 percent of students have their UCSB email forwarded elsewhere.
“Of those that forward, 64 percent forward to a Gmail address,” said Hall. “With that understanding, we formed a hypothesis that Google appeared to be the destination preferred by most students.”
No action is required of students, and various benefits are promised. According to Monday’s email, these benefits include “seamless transition between personal Gmail and school account in mobile apps and on the web,” as well as facilitation of “effortless collaboration with classmates.”
The current email address structure (UCSBNetID@umail.ucsb.edu) is to remain the same, although students will have the option of a new structure (UCSBNetID@ucsb.edu).
Hall further explained the benefits of “moving all of our community to a single mail, collaboration, and calendar ecosystem.” He listed expected improvements such as “ability to share calendars between students, faculty, and staff,” and “easier multi-factor authentication.” Additionally, UCSB’s IT personnel will be able to administrate the entire system more effectively.
The UCSB U-Mail Migration Project Team plans to begin the transition of student accounts in June and complete it before the upcoming fall quarter.