Google Apps for Education to replace MIX email system
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 21:05
The Office of Information Technology at West Virginia University has recently announced all MIX email accounts will soon be hosted by Google, giving users access to Google Apps and changing the MIX email interface.
The change will not affect the portals that are used to access MIX but will change the layout of the separate email window.
Email addresses will also stay the same.
According to Mark Six, director of systems administration within the OIT, the change is something OIT has wanted to do for a while.
"In our opinion, we needed to give users more options and more features," he said. "This would be the best approach to meet the needs of the WVU community."
The change will give users access to Google Apps, which includes Google Docs, a "Cloud storage" system that will allow users to access stored documents from any computer.
"You’ll be able to access your assignments from anywhere," Six said. "If you have a free Gmail account, this is going to be very familiar to you."
Other apps include a calendar, groups, chat and video conferences.
With Google Apps for Education, users will have 25 gigabytes of storage and will have their email addresses for life. According to a release from the OIT, the Gmail solution boasts "99.9% uptime, has no advertising, includes spam and virus filtering and works well with almost all mobile devices."
The idea for the switch to Gmail came from an exploratory committee that surveyed students and faculty. The survey asked users what they valued most in email services.
"It came down to two options: Gmail or Microsoft Live," Six said. "When we got the survey results back, they were nearly 80 percent in favor of Gmail."
After the survey, Six said OIT completed paperwork with Google representatives to begin the switch. However, contractual issues with the MIX portal provider have delayed the process.
"A timetable will appear once paperwork is updated," Six said. "Once we do get a timetable established, we will be updating MIX through email or targeted announcements on what to expect."
OIT asks that students continually check their email throughout the summer for updates.
With the change, WVU will be joining other schools who host email through Google including Arizona State University, University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University.