Staff GMail Transition Q and A Part 2

google-calendar_logoQ: What can I use for calendar?

A: It depends on what type of computer you are using and what program you have available.  If you are using Outlook on a Mac, the Outlook calendar will not communicate or sync up to the Google account calendar.  So, it should not be used.   With very little configuration, we can setup the built in Calendar program on the Macs to talk to the Google calendar.  You can, of course, use the web-based Google calendar, too.

If you are using Outlook on a computer running Windows, we have some additional options.  There are some 3rd party software titles that will, we believe, allow us to sync the Outlook calendar with the Google calendar. The district technology office will set these up by request.

If you don’t have access to Outlook, the only option is the web-based calendar provided by Google.

Q: Can we transfer existing calendar appointments?

A:  This will depend on if you are using Outlook or not.   If you have access to Outlook on a Mac, we recommend that you stop using the Outlook calendar on 8/3/15 and make the transition to the Google Calendar and/or the Apple Calendar at that time.   All of your previous calendar events will be archived on your computer (within Outlook).

If you are using Outlook on Windows and wish to use one of the third party calendar sync utilities, then there will be no need to transfer.  The Windows version of Outlook will sync to the Google Calendar.

Q: What will happen to the contacts I have manually added to my address book/contacts in Outlook?

A: If you are using Outlook, all of your manually contacts and address book entries should still be there.  These reside on your computer.

Q: Will there still be a “system” address book that contains all Prairie employees and email groups?

A: Yes.  We will continue to provide a system-updated address book that will automatically add/remove users both to the general directory and will also update email group memberships i.e. changes to building group membership based upon employment changes.  The email group names will be different, however. At this time, we believe, that student email addresses will also be available in the system address book.

Q: Will there be any differences in how the address book works.

A: Yes.  Individual email addresses will be listed and searchable from the system address book.  Groups will work a bit differently.  Google does not publish group names in system address book.  So, if you wish to email a building group, you will need to know the email address of the group.  After the first use of this address, the address will be remembered in your contacts so it will auto-fill as you begin to type it.  We will be publishing a list of the main group addresses this summer.  All new groups will be named differently from the ones we currently use.  We are doing this so it will be easier to differentiate between the old and the new groups.

Q: What happens if I accidentally send an email to group from our old system?

A:  If this send happens before we shut off the old servers, it will go through.  We intend to keep both systems’ groups up to date.  Once we turn off the old servers, the old groups will not work.  You will get a “did not deliver” bounce message.

Q: What are the new email group names?

A: We are still working on this.  They will be different than what we are currently using.  However we will have a lot more groups in this system.  At this time, we are planning on creating email groups for all teacher sections in Campus.  This will allow teachers to share a Doc or Site by just entering that one group address rather than entering all of the students’ individual addresses.  However, we will need to come up with a naming convention for these groups that is as easy to understand as possible.  We are still working on this format.  Once we settle on a feasible format, we’ll publish the group names.  To be clear, we only plan on publishing the common group names (district list, building groups, etc…).  We’ll provide instructions on how to search and find student section groups.

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