By: Caitlin Wolfarth, Contributing Writer
With the start of the spring semester, the Office of Technology Services will make Microsoft Office 365 available for free to students and faculty.
“Microsoft Office 365 is a set of cloud-hosted collaboration and office suite applications that will allow Towson University to provide services and storage quotas that we cannot feasibly do on campus,” Project Manager for the Office 365 project Thomas Alcide said.
According to Alcide, Office 365 will benefit students and faculty by giving them “better collaboration platforms, easy access from any location and improved storage.”
Some specific key features that Office 365 includes are Office Suite Pro download, One Drive file storage and sharing with a 1-terabyte limit, SharePoint project collaboration and document sharing for groups and web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
Although the program comes with email and calendar features, there are no current plans to replace the already existing student and faculty Gmail accounts.
“Students, faculty and staff can download full offline copies of Office 2013 Professional Plus, Office 2011 for Mac, and Office for iPad on up to 5 machines and 5 tablets per user at no cost,” Alcide said. “As far as project costs, there is no licensing fee for Office 365 for Education, however, there is a cost for staff resources, consulting hours and supporting software tools.”
According to Alcide, the discussion and planning of Office 365 for Towson has been going on for a few years. In January of 2014, the project was presented by Director of Enterprise and Infrastructure Services Mark Addy to the Executive Information Technology Committee.
When available, OTS will communicate with the campus and give instructions on how to access and use Office 365.