Northern Illinois University’s Division of Information Technology Services is breaking ground on a new project to make the Microsoft suite of collaboration and communications tools, known as Office 365 for Education, available to the NIU community.
“Microsoft has put together a really compelling ecosystem that no other vendor comes close to matching,” said NIU Vice President and Chief Information Officer Brett Coryell. “Using Office 365 will give every student the productivity tools they’ll actually use after graduation and save the university millions [of dollars].”
Students will benefit first as they’ll be able to install the Office 2013 suite on personal computers and mobile devices for free beginning in the Fall 2014 semester. Students will also have free access to 1,000 Gigabyte cloud storage spaces, called OneDrive, which will allow them to access and edit documents from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection.
Both Mac and Windows enthusiasts are well supported with the most popular programs, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, being available for both platforms. In addition, Windows users will be able to download and install Access, OneNote, and Publisher.
Students will have a free subscription to Microsoft Office as long as they are enrolled.
Later this fall, faculty and staff will be able to connect and collaborate with those on campus and others around the world with an Office 365 component called Lync. Lync allows for voice and video calling, conferencing, screen and document sharing, and rich instant messaging. After Lync, the 1,000 Gigabyte OneDrive storage spaces will become available to all faculty and staff.
This service will offer near limitless capacity and collaboration opportunities when combined with the other Office 365 components like SharePoint, Exchange email, and Office Online. These other components will be available to faculty and staff at a later time.
Office 365 for Education is free to the end user and will deliver cost savings while providing substantial enhancements to NIU’s communications and collaboration portfolio. More information about the Office 365 project can be found on the ITS website.