Universities Go Back to School With Live@edu.
Around the world, more and more higher education institutions and schools are clamoring for more effective ways to save money and provide an outstanding experience to students. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced higher education institutions using Microsoft’s cloud services and Live@edu. New universities joining the Live@edu ranks include California State University schools including San Francisco State University; CSU, Long Beach; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; and State Center Community College District (California), as well as University of Montana, Northern Kentucky University, the College of DuPage, Washington University in St. Louis and Aston University in the United Kingdom.
These universities join a rapidly expanding community of more than 11 million people in more than 10,000 schools around the world who are using Live@edu. Live@edu’s cloud application advantages include Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive for sharing information and working together with teams of people and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Outlook Live for e-mail, calendar sharing and managing tasks and contacts.
“Universities require security-enhanced, world-class cloud services, but today’s budget constraints present an extraordinary challenge,” said Sig Behrens, general manager for U.S. Public Sector Education, Microsoft Corp. “Live@edu combines Microsoft’s exceptional products that incorporate the company’s deep investments in cloud computing to provide the enhanced privacy and security features that institutions require. Although this enables significant cost savings, Live@edu also offers competitive and current communications and collaboration tools students will need in the workplace. There is a difference between a job and a career. We help students prepare for a career.”
Redefining Collaboration Through the Cloud:
At San Francisco State University, with the move to Live@edu, more than 54,000 students and recent alumni are experiencing a major improvement in storage quota with a 40x increase in capacity so they have more control over their documents and can more easily collaborate. While the California State University campus is saving money on software, hardware and licensing costs, they are able to offer support on multiple devices and provide a lot more client functionality, as well as extend e-mail service to those who graduate so they can stay connected as alumni for life. With faculty and staff on Exchange 2010, the introduction of Live@edu and the compatibility between the two products and feature sets has made provisioning new accounts and help desk support easier since IT staff don’t need to know two different systems.
The evaluation process that selected Live@edu considered a wide range of factors, including provisioning, authentication, functionality, security, support and accessibility. One of the reasons that Live@edu was selected was Microsoft’s commitment to making products that are accessible to students with disabilities. “One of the ways Microsoft made Live@edu mail accessible is by offering an option that is more compatible with screen readers,” said Jonathan Rood, chief information officer at the San Francisco State University. “Many have asked us why we didn’t just suggest to students that they select an e-mail service and simply provide us their e-mail address; however, providing an ad-free e-mail environment was a benefit we wanted to offer to students.”
The University of Montana (UM) moved more than 15,000 students to Microsoft’s cloud to provide more robust and flexible e-mail and collaboration tools. Not only does Live@edu offer more online storage than the university couldn’t afford to provide, but the level of uptime of services has increased because the campus has never before had 24×7 support. To provide the equivalent services UM estimates it would need to invest more than $600,000 in the first year and upward of $120,000 each year thereafter. From a technical standpoint, Live@edu was really compatible with the current Exchange infrastructure on campus, people are familiar with Office and Outlook, and the APIs provided allowed IT staff to integrate their campus portal with Live@edu with minimal programming. Students are beginning to use Office Web Apps to collaborate on group projects and write theses with the comfort of knowing their work is security-enhanced and backed up in multiple places.
“From a legal perspective, privacy is very important to us. We need to be FERPA and ADA compliant and Microsoft’s contract language is very clear,” said Dr. Loey Knapp, associate chief information officer, University of Montana. “With Live@edu, we are confident our students’ data is fully protected. We know and can control who has access to the data, and we have assurances that the data won’t be mined.”
Expanding Roster of Customers
Other prominent universities that recently selected Microsoft Live@edu include these:
- CSU, Long Beach. After an extensive evaluation process by a committee of students, faculty and staff, the third-largest university in California selected Live@edu for its 33,500 students. The new e-mail and collaboration system will go live in the late fall and early spring semesters and offer students significantly increased e-mail storage, access on mobile devices, and ensure usability for individuals with disabilities.
- California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. With Cal Poly Pomona’s alumni already on Live@edu, the IT department is now extending the service to its 20,000 students. The school selected Live@edu because of its exceptional integration with their on-premise implementation of Exchange that faculty and staff use will allow for the ability to more easily share calendar information across campus. The fact that the SkyDrive online storage system is not specific to file types and doesn’t push advertising to students was also attractive. The university expects to see a 40 percent reduction in storage costs and 50 percent reduction in servers and hardware costs as a result of the migration to Live@edu.
- State Center Community College District (SCCCD). State Center Community College District, serving Central California, has moved to Live@edu for its more than 100,000 students and alumni that span Fresno City College, Reedley College and its Madera, Oakhurst and Willows International centers. SCCCD chose Live@edu to move school communications from traditional postal service mailing, which was costing approximately $100,000 annually, to e-mail; to have an easier way to connect with students and alumni; and to streamline integration with other campus technologies such as their Active Directory environment, learning management system, wireless network and future student portal based on SharePoint Server.
- Northern Kentucky University. After evaluating Google Apps Education Edition, Northern Kentucky University moved its 25,000 students accounts from on-premise Exchange to Live@edu so they could offer a vastly increased storage size and an easier way for students and faculty to collaborate and work on group projects in shared workspaces. With the growth of mobile computing, the school needed to ensure students could access e-mail through a variety of browsers and multiple devices outside the PC. If they were to host this solution internally, it would have cost at least $200,000 more each year. More details are available in NKU’s case study located here.
- College of DuPage. College of DuPage, the third-largest single-campus community college in the United States, decided on Live@edu for its 80,000 students while continuing to contain IT infrastructure costs. The move to Live@edu has been seamless for students and was integrated directly into the student portal. Provisioning of new student accounts is now automated directly through the college’s online admissions and Active Directory linked to Live@edu.
- Washington University in St. Louis. As of this fall more than 10,000 students have migrated to Live@edu to consolidate and improve e-mail services, reduce costs and provide access to an array of resources.
- Aston University. Aston University, one of the U.K.’s elite universities known for world-class teaching and research, recently adopted Microsoft Live@edu after evaluating Google Apps Education Edition and finding Live@edu provided superior calendar sharing, message tracking and administrative control. More about Aston University’s decision can be found in this Q&A with its senior server engineer at http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/presskits/customerspotlight/docs/astonQA.docx.