Outlook not working
Only 11 per cent of the migration has been completed. Image: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum.
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Since beginning of migration, students have complained about Outlook deleting emails and not transferring old emails over

The University of Ottawa has been in the process of switching student accounts from G Suite to Outlook since the beginning of September. Two months into the migration, students are still experiencing problems.

The switch was first announced at the beginning of July and the U of O said they would be migrating all student accounts to Outlook and the connected Microsoft Office 365 collection over the course of eight to 10 months.

During the change, student email addresses would remain the same but would now need to be accessed via the Outlook app on computers or phones. All new students registered at the University of Ottawa in the 2020/21 academic year automatically received an Outlook account.

Jakob Maniatacos, a fourth-year political science student, said he has had many issues surrounding the new email program. In particular, he was not receiving emails from professors, which impacted his ability to do assignments. 

“[I have missed out on] assignment feedback, I had to do a series of two literature reviews. I did the first one and didn’t hear anything back,” explained Maniatacos. 

“As I was about to submit the second [one] I messaged my professor [asking for any feedback]. He emailed immediately back and said my feedback had been sent on Nov. 2, but he sent it again just in case. It didn’t amount to any harm done, but imagine if I had missed something important.” 

The University of Ottawa’s Information Technology service has provided an entire website dedicated to Outlook with support services and information. This website says that as of Nov. 27, only 11 per cent of the migration is complete.

In order to help with the various issues students are experiencing, the U of O’s Information Technology group made a service desk to answer any questions students may have. 

According to the service provider, issues such as slower retrieval of emails, inability to see all shared calendars, meeting reminders may be duplicated, and labels of Outlook may move emails to different folders (starred in Gmail does not exist in Outlook). 

Kevin Geenen, a fourth-year interdisciplinary studies student, said he felt as if the interface was more difficult to use than Google.

“There’s arguments to be made about which system is better,” said Geenen. “Everyone is used to Google, so why would they suddenly make the change? Was there consultation on this change? Students do not enjoy using the Outlook interface.”

The reasoning behind the switch, according to the University of Ottawa’s Information Technology service is that all faculty and staff already used Outlook, and that it was more economical overall to have all students and employees on Outlook.

Geenen reiterated the issues of receiving emails.

“There’s issues regarding the receiving of emails. Some emails that I sent in Gmail do not show up in Outlook. It’s really confusing.” 

The migration to Outlook is planned to be done by the end of the spring semester, and students can only access G Suite tools and Google Drive until summer 2021.