The Minnesota State system is implementing some new changes to the St. Cloud State University e-mail platform over summer break, which will provide a new e-mail address to all new and returning students.
The e-mail program that St. Cloud State uses is Microsoft Office Outlook 365, but Minnesota State has been transitioning all of their institutions to a new “shared tenant” platform which will allow students, staff and faculty to connect with other Minnesota State schools easier.
“It’s under one big umbrella where all Office 365 services will be shared across all 37 schools,” SCSU project manager and systems analyst Dmitry Berkovich said. “With this shared tenant, [the] Minnesota State system will become one of the largest customers that Microsoft will have… we’re literally going to have hundreds of thousands of accounts.”
The transition between the two networks is a mandatory move that Minnesota State has been executing over the past few years with around 30 schools already under the new platform and St. Cloud State happens to be one of the last schools to move under the new network.
By Minnesota State applying this change to the e-mail format, it will make it a flawless process for transfer students to move files and e-mails from one school to another within the state system.
“If you are going to transfer like from St. Cloud Technical College over to St. Cloud State… then your same e-mailbox and your same OneDrive files and your same Office 365 experience will just come right with you,” SCSU technology cloud architect Chris Stanley said.
The migration from the current Office 365 template to the new shared tenant version, is set to take place from Thursday, Aug. 8 and will last until Sunday, Aug. 11, right after the second summer school session has ended.
When the transition occurs, there will not be any loss of files or e-mails during the switchover because everything will automatically shift into each students’ new e-mail account.
“If you use Outlook calendar, all of your calendar appointments will automatically migrate, [and] so will your OneDrive files. So if you use OneDrive today, all of your files will migrate,” Berkovich said. “However there will be a freeze window of approximately a week prior to migration when we will ask you not to place any new files on your One Drive because the migration actually starts the week prior to the cut off.”
St. Cloud State strategically chose to have the migration take place over that particular weekend so there is little or no academic impact on students and when the change does happen, everyone needs to be prepared so there is no unexpected problems.
“We know it’s not on the front of their mind right now as they’re just trying to get through their classes, and August seems like it’s a long way away, so our goal at this point is just to get them to remember that something is happening in August so when it happens, they’re not taken by surprise,” Stanley said.
Users won’t have to download a new phone application or search for a different web address after the change, they will simply have to log in to the new system with a new username. Everyone’s former e-mail address will no longer exist after Aug. 8, 2019, and any e-mails sent to an old address moving ahead will get forwarded to the new address.
“The big change that students want to be aware of is when they go to login to their e-mail, today students are just used to typing in their e-mail and their password to login to the Office 365 system, but after [the migration] they’re going to use their Star ID and then @go.minnstate.edu to login,” Stanley said.
New e-mail addresses for returning students will be similar to their current one, except it will just end with “@go.stcloudstate.edu” and new students will be entered into a naming convention and will receive their address upon school acceptance.
Stanley said that beyond just some changes in branding on the new e-mail server, it will remain visually similar to the current system. This change will help students and staff connect with other Minnesota State schools to make communication within Office 365 more efficient.
“For faculty and staff, when we need to work with someone at Mankato, Winona, any other schools, we will have one platform to do that sort of collaboration, so we can use same Sharepoint slides, we can use same teams,” Berkovich said.
The transition for other Minnesota State schools has been a smooth process and SCSU sees a long life in the new service. One student is eager for the upcoming change so that work collaboration is simplified for everyone.
“I like the mobile application, I can access e-mails right away on my phone or on my laptop so I can have access anytime,” senior Alain Twagirumukiza said. “Technology is advancing. There’s always something new coming, so any improvement will be highly appreciated.”