Aging student email system to be replaced

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Delta College is getting ready for an email switchover to Microsoft Office 365 on Okta, a single sign-on service to replace the school’s current email platform.

A little more than a decade has passed since the email system has been changed, and Director of Information Technology Chelsy Pham said the current system is obsolete and needs an upgrade.

“The current email system is 14 years old and it breaks down sometimes,” said Pham. “It goes offline and we have to manually reset it every week.”

The expected date rollout is Nov. 2.

The implementation of this new email system is designed to help students and staff in organizing their work and provide access to apps in the Microsoft Office 365 suite for everyone to use.

With the new email system, students and faculty will only need to login once to obtain everything they need to complete their tasks. For example, students and staff will be able to access their email through Outlook on the Okta dashboard instead of signing in to their Outlook and Delta email accounts separately.

Under the new system students will have many tools in the Office 365 suite made available to them while they attend Delta College. 

Not only will students have access to the Office apps, they will also be able to download a copy of Microsoft Office for themselves.

“What you can do here is you can actually download and install copies of Microsoft Office onto your personal computer. This is nice because you can get a copy for yourself while you’re at Delta College,” said Pham.

The new email system will also provide more space for students and staff to receive attachments and graphics in their emails. The current email system is unable to receive emails with graphic attachments.

“Right now in your email box you have about 10 megabytes of space to receive emails. These days that’s less than one picture you take with your phone,” said Pham. “In the future you’ll have 50 gigabytes for your email.” 

Delta College’s information technology (IT) department has planned this switch for a year, but the implementation of this new system has had some delays. The IT department has been discussing with the Associated Students of Delta College (ASDC) about when would be the best time to do the switchover.

“We’ve been collaborating with the ASDC. We actually had several meetings with them and we’ve worked on a good time to launch this,” said Pham.

The IT department saw that implementing the new system at the beginning of the term would be inconvenient since this is when students are adding their classes.

“Can you imagine at the beginning of the term trying to get all your classes, adding courses and then getting a new email account? That’s kind of crazy,” said Pham.

Pham also sees a similar inconvenience if the system were to launch at the end of the semester when everyone is dealing with finals.

“At the end of the term that’s crazy too because you’re trying to work on finals. We tried to pick the best of the worst times to get this launched,” said Pham.

Delta College opted to launch the new system halfway through the semester in order to avoid these inconveniences.

Pham said Delta College’s tech support was going through orientation for the switchover to Okta.

“Our Mustang tech support is our student help desk, and they were getting trained this entire time,” said Pham.