ITS Responds to Problems with E-mail Changeover

Pomona College e-mail services switched from Hotmail to Outlook on Monday, causing a number of issues for students, faculty, and staff.

According to Information Technology Services (ITS) Director of Client Services Julie Journitz, problems were reported with e-mails sent to the alias firstname.lastname@pomona.edu on the changeover day. E-mails that were sent to this alias, rather than the full mymail.pomona.edu address, were delivered to students' Hotmail mailboxes rather than the new Outlook mailboxes. This problem was resolved by 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

There were also a number of issues that occurred prior to the switch. Some students were misdirected to the Outlook mailbox before Monday because the mymail.pomona.edu home screen displayed a link in the top corner that allowed students to access Outlook instead of Hotmail. Prior to the switch, e-mail was being synchronized every 24 hours from the Hotmail mailbox to the Outlook mailbox, causing students who tried to use Outlook before the official switch to experience a 24-hour delay on receiving their e-mails.

Students who went to mail.live.com instead of mymail.pomona.edu after the switch also experienced problems because e-mail ceased being delivered to this web address. Some students made this mistake because their bookmark addresses were set to their inbox URL rather than the mymail.pomona.edu homepage.

According to Journitz, ITS tried to be comprehensive in their directions about the switch in e-mails sent out prior to Monday. However, she added that they did not remind students that their bookmarked addresses might be incorrect.

Eric Morton PO ’11 said he had issues simply trying to access his e-mail after the switch because the mymail.pomona.edu address kept redirecting him to the old mailbox.

“When I tried to access my e-mail after the switchover, and I typed mymail.pomona.edu into the address bar, it went straight to my old mailbox,” Morton said. “I couldn’t see any of my new mail. I was frustrated so I just forwarded all of my new mail to my gmail account.”

Some students also saw a delay in their contacts being switched over to the Outlook mailbox. However, Journitz said that contacts are synchronizing and should appear in the Outlook mailbox if they have not already.

ITS Executive Director Ken Pflueger also acknowledged that some students have reported issues involving files not transferring over. Pflueger added that ITS has received a number of messages from students reporting various issues, but no single widespread issue has been identified.

Journitz said that it was a good sign that most of the issues coming through ITS are not technical. However, she added that if students are experiencing technical problems it is important that they contact ITS as soon as possible. If students report issues to ITS now, she said, ITS can still work with Microsoft to correct them before Microsoft takes control of the process.

Journitz acknowledged that ITS chose to make the switch at a time that may seem inconvenient for students and faculty finishing up the semester. However, she said, modifications on Microsoft’s side forced ITS to delay the switch. ITS chose not to wait until next year to make the switch because they wanted outgoing seniors to have the support of ITS and needed the switch to be completed to create new freshman e-mail accounts.

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