Staff GMail Transition Q and A Part 1

Gmail_logoThe email Q and A is a bit more in-depth.  The first part below will deal with questions regarding only email.  The second part will address questions regarding calendars and address books.  As with all of this information, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note or post a comment here if you have questions.

Q: Why are we changing email services?

A:  This change will enable more collaboration with our students, and it will also save the district money.  We need to update our current email server software if we were to keep using it.  Our email servers (we have four) take up a large portion of our virtual server environment.  Getting rid of these servers will free up these resources.  Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a free service for schools with unlimited storage.  A number of larger districts in Iowa are making this type of migration.

Q: Will I need to share my new email address with everyone?

A: No.  We are going to set things up so email that comes in to your current email address (user@prairiepride.org) will be forwarded on to your new address (user@CRPrairie.org).  So, you won’t need to update business cards or other contacts.  We still intend to publish @PrairiePride.org email addresses on our website.  New staff will also receive the Prairiepride.org alias.

Q: When will we be making this change?

A: At this time, we are planning to turn off the old email servers at the end of October, 2015.  So, everyone will need to be switched over and using their new account before then.  As soon as your new account is available, you can start moving your old, existing mail to your new account.  We anticipate this will be ready by 8/3/15.  We will put out word if accounts become ready earlier.

Q: Will I still be able to use Outlook to read email?

A: Yes.  While we will be changing email services, we have no plans to change email clients.  So, you can still use Outlook to access your email account.  We will provide instructions so you can setup your new account yourself.  The technology first responders will be available to help you setup accounts as well.  If you wish to use Google’s web email, you can do that as well.

Q: How can I get all of my old emails to my new account?

A: If you are using Outlook (either the Windows or Apple version), we will send out instructions on how to setup your new account in Outlook.  Technology First Responders can help with this as well.  Once that’s done, it’s just a simple matter of dragging messages or folders to move them between accounts.  This process will copy nested folders (folders within folders).  However, Google does have an attachment size limit of 25 megabytes. So, any email attachment over 25 megabytes will not be moved.  Just to be clear, the message will copy, but the large attached file (over 25 MB) will not.  Outlook will continue to keep a copy of all messages from both accounts on your computer.  So, even after we shut off the old server, you will still have access to these old messages (until your computer gets reloaded or you manually delete the PrariePride.org account from Outlook).

If you don’t have access to Outlook, the process is not as friendly.  There are only two options.  You can manually forward messages you wish to keep to your new account — one at a time.  If you have a high volume of messages you must to move, contact the district technology office (only if you don’t have access to Outlook).  We can get you temporary access to a computer with Outlook (we’ll set it up with your account), then you can drag and drop messages and folders to the new account.  This will need to be scheduled by appointment.  So, please contact us early and allow about an hour to work through the process.  We will need you with us for the full time because you will be selecting the messages to be copied.

In either case, the more organization you have done before the transition, the better off you will be.  Selecting and grouping, preferably in a folder, messages you wish to transfer beforehand will save you a lot of time.

Q: Can I connect my phone to my new email account?

A: Yes. Once your new email account is available, we will provide directions on how to set it up on your phone.  You may even wish to use the Google Gmail App that is available, too.

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