The University of Winnipeg phased out the IAM student e-mail accounts on Feb. 4, replacing them with the Microsoft Live.edu system which mimics more popular webmail systems.
The university has been through several programs over the past five years and this is the first one that is free to the university and appears to work smoothly.
Richard Nakoneczny, chief operating officer of the U of W, is in charge of technology on campus. He says this is a big step in getting the university software up to date.
“IAM is a very old, tired piece of software,” he said. “It was expensive to keep up with internal labour and providing disk space.”
The new Live.edu system will give students 10 gigabytes (GB) of mailbox space and 25 GB of space to upload documents and pictures.
Nakoneczny acknowledges other problems with the U of W online services, including the Uwinnipeg.ca web page, and is hopeful that many of them will be solved in 2011.
“The website is scattered and inefficient,” he said. As for the university’s Wi-Fi system, “we’re a generation or two behind,” he added.
Nakoneczny said they’re just starting the budget process to upgrade the Wi-Fi and website.
“We’d like to deal with everything in one go,” he said.
The new email is a big step forward, and has been well received by students.
Bryan Agapito, a biology major at the U of W, has seen the systems change a few times in the six years he has been a student.
“I think this is best email system this university has ever had,” he said via email. “IAM ... wasn’t user friendly and it looked outdated.”
While he appreciates the new look, Agapito doesn’t see the need for email addresses provided to students by the university.
“The university asks for our (personal) email accounts when we register,” he said.
Nakoneczny stresses the need for student email, saying that emails from personal accounts can get tagged by the U of W spam filter, whereas the webmail addresses will not.
He also notes that all the kindergarten to Grade 12 schools in Manitoba use the Live.edu system, and new students at the U of W will already be familiar with it as a result.
Anil Verma, project manager for Live.edu Canada explains other benefits to the system, including the ability to view and edit documents online.
“Even if you don’t have (Microsoft) Office on your computer, you can do basic editing,” he said. “It’s like Office in the cloud.” Cloud is a term describing the online information storage systems that you can access from any computer.
The webmail has been running since Jan. 10 and the IAM system will be completely taken down by the summer. The U of W set a deadline of Feb. 4 to set up forwarding from IAM to webmail, but webmail is still available to those who have not switched.
To log in to your new webmail, go to http://webmail.uwinnipeg.ca.
Published in Volume 65, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 10, 2011)