Incoming UC Berkeley freshmen, staff and faculty without a current @berkeley.edu email account will now be able to switch their Calmail accounts to the new Google-powered campus mail, calendar and drive system, though returning students will not be able to access the system until October at the earliest.
The new system, bConnected, is part of Operational Excellence — a program that aims to save Berkeley $75 million annually by increasing the efficiency of campus administration — and will allow the school’s faculty, staff and students to communicate more easily and collaborate moore effectively by providing Google Contacts and Google Chat, as well as document and calendar sharing capabilities, according to the bConnected website.
“(Calmail) is hard to navigate,” said UC Berkeley Junior Justine Bie. “It has some glitches. I feel like the decision to switch it to Gmail is a good one.”
Campus officials began assisting users in the transition starting in July, though the later start date for returning students and staff will allow the tech staff to maintain quality computer and syncing support to the campus community.
New faculty, staff and students who do not have an @berkeley.edu email will be able to access bMail, bCal and bDrive by selecting the option on the Calmail homepage. Returning undergraduate and graduate students are scheduled to have access by mid-October, whereas all other departmental faculty and staff will have access to the system by November. People with subdomain email addresses will have access February to May of next year, thus allowing everyone on campus to be connected by June 2013.
“The CalMail service operated by (Information Services and Technology) will significantly change, with parts being retired. But only after all migrations have been completed and with ample advance notice,” the bConnected website reads.
Caryl Miller, communications manager for Operational Excellence, said the tech team managed two help desk booths this summer to help users sync bCal with their mobile devices — a new feature that will provide users with easier access to their emails and schedules.
“The help desk dedicated to the Google migration has been a great resource, and the team wants to continue offering multifaceted support — including email and phone support — during the full campus rollout of bApps,” Miller said, in an email.
UC Berkeley Junior Angelica Barajas was allowed early access to bCal through her job as a clerk at the Office of Student Development and said she likes how the application provides an easy way for her to schedule appointments and share calendars with her boss.
“I like that it syncs up to my iPhone,” Barajas said. “I get an alert every time I have something on my schedule. It is more succinct. I didn’t really use Google Calendar before, but now that it is linked to my work, it made more sense to use it.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that incoming UC Berkeley freshmen would be able to access bApps before other students. In fact, only those who do not already have an @berkeley.edu account will have access to the system on an ongoing basis. Most students, faculty and staff — including incoming freshmen — will not have access to the system until later in the semester. Also, the headline implied that the system would open just for freshmen.
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