Information Technology Services has kicked off a phased project to unify email into a single system for the Iowa State University community. Currently, students utilize a branded version of Gmail (CyMail), while employees utilize Microsoft Outlook (sometimes referred to as Microsoft “Exchange”). The Enterprise Student Email project will gradually transition all students to the Outlook platform, while still making available Google tools such as G-Drive.
In the pre-planning stage, the Enterprise Student Email project team gathered feedback from key stakeholder groups including the Information Technology Leadership Committee (ITLC), Technology Enterprise Advisory Committee (TEAC), Faculty Student IT, Student Government leadership and college deans. Moving forward with the effort, the project will centralize email to Outlook for ease of use and management, while also reducing the duplication of services and resolving issues that stem from CyMail and Outlook co-existing, as they are not inherently designed to cooperate.
With the project underway, Fall 2021 incoming students will be assigned a Microsoft Outlook student email account (no longer referred to as CyMail). All returning students for Fall 2021 can continue using their Iowa State Gmail (CyMail) account, though any who wish to transition to Outlook can do so. There are no immediate plans to require students using CyMail to switch platforms; the transition to Outlook will primarily occur with each group of incoming students.
Schedule & Timeline
- Gathered feedback from key stakeholder groups including the Information Technology Leadership Committee (ITLC), Technology Enterprise Advisory Committee (TEAC), Faculty Student IT, Student Government leadership and college deans
Beginning April 2021
- Incoming students (Fall 2021 entry) assigned a Microsoft Outlook student email account
- Incoming students participate in orientation and learn about Outlook as their student email platform
- Remaining Google CyMail accounts migrated to Microsoft Outlook
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
No, “CyMail” refers to the Google email application used by all students other than those entering the university in Fall 2021. Students who use Microsoft Outlook for email will not be using “CyMail.” ITS recommends referring to the dual email systems currently in use more generally as “student email.”
For the end user, there is no difference. Microsoft Exchange is the software that provides the back end to a system for email, calendaring, etc. Microsoft Outlook is the front end application that students, faculty and staff will use to view their email, send messages, schedule meetings, etc.
ITS has included information about Outlook student email accounts in the Comevo online orientation materials intended for all incoming students, updated the ITS New Student webpage, and updated the Cyber Guide booklet to be distributed at OnCyte Orientation. In addition, ITS is planning a welcome email to new and returning students in August with information about various technology resources including student email. Other campus units and communicators are welcome and encouraged to share the information and resources on this page through their channels as well.
New students can access their Outlook email accounts through the Outlook web application or by downloading the Outlook desktop application. There are benefits to both, and students are encouraged to choose the option that works best for them.
If using the Outlook web application, students can log into their Okta application dashboard and simply click on the Outlook application tile. The tile will automatically appear on new student dashboards.
To access and install the Outlook desktop application, follow these instructions (available in the IT Portal) for downloading Microsoft Office 365 applications.
ITS has curated a list of Microsoft community Outlook tutorials for getting started using Outlook. This list of linked resources are available below; they are also available within the "Learn how to use Outlook email" knowledge article in the IT Portal. New students, as well as any Iowa State community members interested in learning more about Outlook are encouraged to visit Microsoft's Outlook Training home page.
No, all returning students for Fall 2021 can continue using their Iowa State Gmail (CyMail) account, though any who wish to transition to Outlook can do so. There are no immediate plans to require students using CyMail to switch platforms; the transition to Outlook will primarily occur with each group of incoming students.
Incoming graduate students and incoming Vet Met students will receive Outlook email accounts, though undergraduate student Cyclones directly entering an Iowa State University graduate program may continue using CyMail. There are no immediate plans to require students using CyMail to switch platforms, which includes returning graduate and Vet Med students.
Yes. Iowa State students will continue to have access to Google products like Google Drive, Google Docs and Sheets, Google Photos, Google Chat and Hangouts, Youtube, etc at no additional cost. These products can be accessed through the Okta dashboard, specifically through the G-Suite Drive application tile.
Yes. With products like Google Docs and Sheets and G-Drive available to all Iowa State students, group collaboration can proceed as it traditionally has. New students will access their G-Drive from their Okta dashboard. Students also have the option to collaborate in real-time using other tools such as CyBox also available on their Okta dashboards.
No, there is no need to adjust how you format or send an email message.
ITS anticipates junk email filtering to be improved with Outlook, with respect to fewer "false positives," or emails from legitimate senders that ended up in Junk or Spam. In addition, Outlook allows users to identify "safe senders" and block senders deemed untrustworthy. A how-to article for marking "Safe Senders" is available now and will be shared by ITS in a "Welcome to Campus" email. Other units or groups are welcome to share this article and these other tips on training your spam filters.
Yes. The email service (Outlook or CyMail) will not affect the delivery of emails from Canvas.
Yes. Students who opt to switch from CyMail to Outlook will keep their same Net-ID. However, the emails currently in your CyMail inbox will not transfer. You'll still have access to view emails in your CyMail inbox, and new emails will be delivered to your Outlook inbox.
Yes. Students who experience technical issues with their email - whether they use CyMail or Outlook - can contact the IT Solution Center for assistance by using the Incident Form in the IT Portal, sending an email to email@example.com or calling 515-294-4000. For hours and additional information, visit it.iastate.edu/help.