Knights Email, the email service all UCF students are required to have, has finished undergoing its transition from Hotmail to Outlook.
The transition occurred because Microsoft is transitioning its higher education email partner institutions from the Hotmail platform to Exchange through the Outlook Web App, Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer Joel Hartman said in an email.
“Hotmail is an older, simpler, web-based email system while Exchange is a modern, feature-rich email system that is used by many businesses and universities, including UCF,” Hartman said.
Microsoft provides this service at no cost to UCF or to students. Faculty and staff have been using the same service for about a year and a half.
UCF first began sending emails to inform students of the transition in late April. According to earlier emails, the transition was to begin on May 3 and be completed by May 10. However, students found that the transition did not take place until recently on June 20. An email was sent to students on May 31, letting students know that the process was taking longer than anticipated and that email was still being sent to their Knights accounts.
After the Outlook accounts were set up and completed, all further emails were instantly sent to Outlook, leaving Knights accounts empty and unused.
“Between June 19 and July 2, Microsoft transitioned our 134,000 Knights Email user accounts from the former Hotmail platform to the new Outlook Live [Microsoft Exchange] platform,” Hartman said in an email. “The migration took Microsoft longer than they had anticipated but was completed successfully on July 2.”
An email was sent through the new platform on Thursday to notify students of the completed transition and to provide additional information.
During the transition, Microsoft synced students’ Hotmail accounts to their new Outlook Live accounts once each day, Hartman said. During the migration, depending on when and where students read their email, it may have appeared that messages were not arriving.
As of July 2, all messages are delivered only to students’ new Exchange Knights Email accounts. The Knights Email addresses did not change.
“We have no confirmed cases of student email being undelivered, but students who receive their Knights Email on mobile devices have to make a minor setting change in their mobile email app,” Hartman said. “Information about the transition was communicated to students via email, fliers in the Student Union and other means.”
Students can also sync their email, calendar appointments and contacts to their smartphones and tablets, Hartman said.
William Thompson, a junior theatre major, said that he was notified of the migration but didn’t pay too much attention to it until June 27, when he was checking his email.
“I was like, ‘Wait, what is that? Where is it?’” Thompson said.
Thompson said he put up a status on Facebook, asking about what happened, and a friend told him that the email accounts had migrated to Outlook.
Other students were aware of the change to the accounts through other means of communication. Senior biology student Nicole Cruz and senior micro & molecular biology student Melissa Vixama both recall reading about it through their emails. However, while Cruz thought the change was going to come months later, Vixama said they recalled the email reading the change would occur in May but was surprised when it happened almost a month later.
Cruz said she didn’t receive any notification of the date of the migration until right before it happened, which she found actually messed up her schedule with her class assignments while waiting for an assignment from her organic chemistry lab teaching assistant.
“I checked my Knights Email. For two days straight, I wasn’t getting anything,” Cruz said, adding that it caused her additional stress while trying to figure out what happened.
Vixama also found the transition awkward and disruptive to her class schedule, as she had sent her professor a 10-page assignment through her Knights account and was unsure if he actually received it.
Senior biology student Katherine Joseph also thought the transition would happen later on down the road and was surprised when she didn’t get any new emails.
“For four or five days, I didn’t get any emails and I said, ‘Something is not right here,’” Joseph said.
She made a few phone calls and was informed that her account had transitioned over to Outlook, where all her emails were waiting for her.
While Thompson said that he really has no issue with the new setup, Cruz said that she prefers the old one and doesn’t like her new account.
“The only thing that I like is the option to categorize emails by different colors,” Cruz said.
Joseph said that she also prefers the old way, but that was mainly due to her being used to using it.
“Once I learn the new system, I’ll like it,” she said.
Vixama also said that she didn’t mind the new system, but that the transition period was weird and wishes that it had taken place during school breaks, for example, between summer and fall.
“I don’t really care,” Vixama said. “Just tell me when you’re changing it.”
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