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New email system replaces Lotus Notes

The QC community was recently informed that the Lotus Notes student email system will be deactivated and replaced with Office 365, a web-based service provided by Microsoft, which provides various features.

“Microsoft’s latest offering, Office 365, provides our students with much more than e-mail and calendars. It includes a feature-rich set of tools for collaboration using Microsoft cloud-based products like Word, Excel and PowerPoint,” Markus Erndl, interim deputy chief information officer, said.

Additional features include 1 terrabyte of cloud storage, improved mobile access through support for IOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone and up to five separate installations of the full version of Microsoft Office Suite. Office 365 also plans to supplement further services in the future, such as chat and video collaboration.

The new system is available to currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate and non-degree registered students who may continue to use the account even after graduation. However, the service is not accessible to alumni.

“I don’t know if they will amend it, but, as of now, alumni do not have access to Office 365,” Robert Lau, software licensing coordinator said.

QC intended to improve student e-mail services by working with CUNY Central for some time and the implementation of Office 365 is the product of their plan for enhancement.

“We endeavor to provide modern, high accessibility, robust tools to our students,” Erndl said. “This is the main reason for moving from our legacy system to Microsoft Office 365 for our students.”

Microsoft partnered with CUNY for several years, offering the cloud based e-mail services to other CUNY colleges. Transferring to Office 365 was done at no cost to QC or CUNY, unlike the cost to improve the Lotus Notes system.

“Our Lotus Notes environment could have been leveraged to provide some additional services, but at a high cost to the institution,” Erndl said.

Since Nov. 21, The Lotus Notes system no longer receives email from non-Lotus accounts. The e-mails sent to the Lotus Notes accounts will be forwarded to the Office 365 e-mail system.

To access the Office 365 accounts, students need to use their CUNYfirst username followed by “@qmail.cuny.edu” and CUNYfirst password at login.microsoftonline.com.

The Office of Information Technologies Help Desk will assist students in accessing the new Office 365 accounts; however, help will be limited in fixing the Office applications.

Microsoft has an accessible 24-hour live chat system to assist users with their issues.

When QC used Lotus Notes, the help desk had access to its servers, but now Microsoft holds the servers and is in charge of troubleshooting, Lau said.

“Its like too many hands in the cookie jar,” Lau said, referring to the accidents and errors that may occur if too many people access the new servers. “Everything is a learning curve.”

Office 365 is still very new to QC, but the staff and students are adapting to the new system and await further enhancements to the system.

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