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This is a slightly edited and updated article that originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Benchmarks Online. -- Ed.
By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Student Computing Services Manager
Beginning next month, all UNT students will be moving to a new digital communications system replacing the existing Eaglemail email-only system. This is an exciting development for the students and for the university as a whole because it greatly expands the way various members of the UNT community manage online information and communication. While the Eaglemail system only featured email communications, the new EagleConnect will allow for email, chat, calendaring, text-messaging, and online student storage as well as ever-evolving new features and capabilities.
EagleConnect is powered by Microsoft Live@EDU - a solution that centers around the 'Exchange Labs' offering best described as 'Outlook for Students'. This is significant for UNT because the faculty, staff, and students will all be on the same kind of digital message system technology allowing for many communication possibilities such as shared address books, shared and published calendars, email, and chat. Some of these features will be implemented immediately while some will come in on a more gradual schedule. The CITC helpdesk, the "Student Tour" site and a variety of other places will be keeping students up-to-date on current and upcoming features as they are put into place. Extensive tutorials will be available via the CITC Helpdesk website and the my.unt.edu portal and an example of this documentation is published here in Benchmarks Online this month by CITC Helpdesk Assistant Manager Jonathan "Mac" Edwards.
A new communication solution for UNT students
The final launch of EagleConnect represents the culmination of an 18-month process for choosing and implementing a new communication solution for UNT students. The timeline below illustrates some of the main highlights of the process which involved faculty, staff, and student input:
Rollout of the EagleConnect system will be measured, with care taken to give users plenty of time to migrate from Eaglemail to EagleConnect. Tools and/or instructions to use the new system are provided and actually, many students are already using part of it by storing documents on the SkyDrive, web-based online storage solution. The timeline for the move is currently scheduled as follows:
New format for student email addresses
The new format for student email addresses is FirstnameLastnamePossibleNumber@my.unt.edu (ex. ElizabethJones@my.unt.edu, JohnSmith03@my.unt.edu). Students who already receive Eaglemail through the firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) format or custom email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) will not have to worry about losing touch - email will continue to come to this old address format as well. This new format is also the login name for other EagleConnect services but students will be able to use the same password that they use for their EUID. Students will be able to get their login name/new format email address from their my.unt.edu portal and through a variety of other links.
Stay tuned ...
EagleConnect (Microsoft Exchange Labs for students) works well using Outlook or a web-based interface (Firefox, Internet Explorer) on Windows machines and using Entourage (Macintosh), Safari (Macintosh), or Firefox (Macintosh and Linux). Stay tuned as we greet the 2009 New Year as the Year of EagleConnect! Any questions regarding this new system should be directed to Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner (email@example.com).