Taking Office 365 to the College Campus

By Kelly Cronin
Before Office 365, I was using a $5 planner from Target, some Word documents, some Google Docs, a million Notes in my iPhone, and Five-Star Notebooks to take notes in class, stay "organized", and keep both my personal life and grades afloat.  Although plenty of people had told me about cool note-taking tools, I was a stubborn college student that thought whatever I was doing was good enough.  When I first started my internship with Managed Solution, I was taught how to use almost all of the Office 365 apps, which I never thought I would be using in my personal life. The more used to the apps I got, the more I realized how much they could help me outside of work too. Here's how Office 365 can be used for any college student looking to stay organized and productive:

Let's start with OneNote.

My boss was not exaggerating when she told me OneNote is life.  I first used OneNote for school by keeping all my syllabi in one place.  Before, I had to constantly re-download the syllabus for each class just to look at the class schedule, rules about assignments, and how to contact the professor.  With OneNote, I keep all of this information in one place, both on my computer and my phone, so no matter where I am I can instantly check out the syllabus for any of my classes.  OneNote lets you drag and drop files into a document, so you can click on the document, or you can choose to have the document uploaded as text, so you'll see exactly what comes from that document in your OneNote as text. I prefer to have both:
My study guides have gotten a major makeover thanks to OneNote.  I re-type all my notes from class and any added points from lecture slides into OneNote to create the ultimate study guide, where I can easily bold, highlight, make tables, lists, and even add images into any of my notes. Since I can keep these in the same section as my other class notes and info, I don't have to keep track of a gazillion documents like with Google Drive.  OneNote also has "tags" that can let me mark things as important, set up as a reminder, or create a check-box for a to-do list. The best part is while I'm walking over to my exam, I can pull up my study guide on my OneNote mobile app and do some last minute cramming.
Did I already mention you can take OneNote anywhere?  When you need to print something, having a copy of your document wherever you go is pretty much every college student's life saver.  For starters, almost none of us have an actual working printer (there are currently three broken printers sitting in my house), which I now consider a mythical creature at this point. This means we have to constantly send ourselves documents to print at the library right before class.  When you already have a million things to do that week and you were up cramming all night for three exams, forgetting to send yourself your study guide is basically a given.  Office 365 finally came up with the best solution to make sure your grades don't suffer from your brain overloads.  OneNote can be accessed online with your Microsoft account.  OneNote Online will automatically have all the notebooks and pages you have in your OneNote so you can access your notes and documents from any device.  Instead of worrying about whether or not my file will open from my email, I have peace of mind knowing as long as I put something in my OneNote, I can access it from anywhere with OneNote Online.


Planner - Time to get organized.

 Every college student knows the secrets to procrastination - pretend you're actually being productive even while putting off all of your assignments.  One of the best is making lists of things you have to do (and then not actually do them until tomorrow).  Planner in Office 365 gives you a simplified, satisfying way to keep up with all of your tasks.  As the end of the semester gets busier and busier, I've been completely reliant on adding tasks into my Planner to make sure I keep track of absolutely every thing I have to do.  To start, I set up different groups that organize what needs to be done:
As I create a new task, I can add notes about what needs to be done, set a date for when it needs to be done by, and make comments as I work on it.  Adding details about all my tasks helps me look in one place and one place only for all I need to know about what to get done.  For mass amounts of paperwork to fill out, I can add a checklist for each item, so I need what I've done already and how much more is left to do.


Ace presentations with Sway.

 No matter what your major is, every semester you will create at least one presentation, typically with a group, to present to the class.  Google slides are often the top choice for group projects, as just about everyone has a Gmail account to use and collaborate on the project with.  But Google slides editing features are extremely limited.  Minimal slide themes, limited font formatting options, and few visualization selections make each presentation seem almost, if not exactly, the same.  Sway in Office 365 is an easy fix to sprucing up a presentation, and it is just as easy to use as Google slides or PowerPoint.
One of the best parts about Sway is it's complete customization.  You can add different cards: Headers, Text, Image sliders, Image galleries (in multiple varieties), Videos, Tweets, Audio, and more.  You can even embed a Sway within a Sway (yes that's Sway-ception).  These can be grouped together by heading, so instead of having seven separate slides all relating to one topic, Sway can keep them all grouped together.


If you need a more eye catching color theme, or want to change the font and feel of the text throughout the presentation, use the Design feature:


Sway offers tutorials and guides on how to do just about anything the application has to offer.  And since Sway can be used in Office 365 online, your presentation is automatically saved and can be accessed anywhere.  Still not convinced?  Check out one of my latest, interactive Sways:

Start getting professional on Word.

College isn't just about taking classes and passing exams (and beer pong).  Starting your career often begins in college.  With helpful professional templates on word, building a solid resume can be completely simplified.  Choose from a variety of templates, from crisp and clean to creative and captivating.  Inputting your information into the template is quick and easy, so you can worry more about what goes into your resume than how you need to format it.


If you're like me, you've probably applied to hundreds of part-time jobs and internships when you should be doing schoolwork.  Needless to say, you need your resume on pretty much any device, whether it's to update your website link or to print from your friend's computer.  When you use Word Online with Office 365, your work automatically saves as you make changes.  This makes sure your documents don't get lost between sending yourself a million email attachments every time you switch devices.  You can access your word files from anywhere, and make changes as needed.  Update resumes and cover letters alike, without worrying about whether or not you've saved the latest version.


Making the most of Office 365.

Nobody says college will be easy, but Office 365 is here to help.  When you start working on new classes, learn how to do your own laundry, and lose your voice at every Saturday football game, college can seem like a complete whirlwind.  Use the Office 365 tools for education to keep track of everything going on in your life.  Not only will you learn how to use tools for the modern workplace, Office 365 can help you stay on track to make sure college is the best four years of your life.


Tokyo University of Technology Implements Futuristic Environment Using Cloud-Based Solutions

As written on
To produce qualified students based on international standards, the Tokyo University of Technology (hereafter referred to as TUT) has always taken an active approach to ICT investment. However, the 100 or so servers that the university currently used as part of its ICT assets were rapidly becoming obsolete. The system needed to be updated. After a year’s worth of discussions, plans emerged for building a university-wide, cloud-based system and a core database that would cut operating loads to the lowest possible level.

Thus, TUT chose Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and other services and technologies offered by Microsoft.

Business Needs

Turning away from aging ICT assets and conceiving the best, most up-to-date system environment
Since its establishment in 1986, the university has promoted three particular aims: training in use of technologies and expert scientific theory for the betterment of society, engagement in advanced research and passing research findings back to society and creating an ideal educational and research environment.
The school takes an active approach to investing in its ICT environment. For instance, when it set up the School of Media Science in 1999 (the first one of its kind in Japan), it required students to have a laptop. The school also actively promoted use of the internet. When the School of Computer Science and the School of Bionics (currently the Department of Applied Biology) were set up in 2013, as a result of the School of Engineering’s reorganization, the requirement that students have laptops was applied university-wide. At the same time, to enable students to use the internet freely, the school implemented a wired ethernet environment university-wide.
However, Kazuya Tago, Head of the Media Center and Professor at the School of Computer Science at TUT, realizes that the network environment reached its zenith more than 10 years ago. It has now become obsolete from a technological perspective: “What the university asked for most urgently was a wireless network. To meet this need, each university institute created wireless access points of its own motive. This solution met local demands, but we still had not achieved the comfort of being able to connect to the internet throughout the whole campus.”
Some 100 servers installed for administrative systems had also started aging. The expenses necessary for maintaining the system started to cut into budgets for equipping students with the latest IT environment. Current students use thin notebooks without ethernet ports, and in their daily lives they have acquired a good command of smart phones. However, no one would have predicted such a state 10 years ago. We then decided that we could not afford to continue with a “maintenance” approach to our existing assets; we had to come up with a future-oriented concept for the best and most up-to-date ICT environment. Thus, since April 2013, TUT has been undertaking bold innovations; what we call the “university-wide full shift of the ICT environment to the cloud”.
The university-wide full shift to the cloud at TUT was based on conclusions gathered during discussions of various options over the course of one year. These discussions began in 2012. Professor Tago said that during this discussion period “we realized that various technologies that would be necessary suddenly appeared right before our very eyes.” These were technologies and services that Microsoft offers; like Microsoft Azure or Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM.


The new solution for a full shift to the cloud at TUT combined usage of cloud services for PaaS and SaaS and effective system operations thanks to building up the school’s core database (hereafter referred to as “core DB”). TUT asked suppliers to conceive the system such that it would plan for the school’s needs 10-15 years ahead and deliver the best possible system environment as concerns functionality, expansion, flexibility, costs, etc. TUT administrators decided to use a combination of three types of cloud services: “Platform as a Service” (PaaS), “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) and “Software as a Service” (SaaS).
Information entered from all systems will be stored in a newly created core DB; and through a redeveloped, university-wide, wireless network, it will be possible to use data extensively for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and for university administration.
Existing solutions can be utilized in their current state. However, in order to reduce workloads (when building the system), it was important that the PaaS, where the OS environment and security are guaranteed above certain level, become our cloud-based ICT infrastructure. We also considered IaaS services like Amazon Web Services (hereafter as AWS) but abandoned this idea at early stage.
Using Microsoft Azure for IaaS and building and operating Oracle database
Professor Tago now recalls that “only Microsoft Azure and Office 365 services matched all university-determined criteria.” Moreover, as work proceeded, the both of services were rapidly evolved and inadequate features disappeared.
Another critical event involved work with the university’s Oracle database. It was a big moment when Microsoft announced Microsoft Azure’s compatibility with Oracle. “TUT had used its Oracle database for a long time to support existing administration systems. Now, thanks to the compatibility, the database could be easily moved to the cloud,” explains Yuzuru Kimura, CEO of Page One Co., Ltd., who was in charge of designing and building the system. Microsoft Azure is now used both for the PaaS and Iaas.
Using Microsoft Lync Online innovates the communication environment for TUT faculty
TUT uses Office 365 for mail or portal sites in the faculty/staff-oriented ICT environment. Through authentication infrastructure using Active Directory, it is possible to access to the system from within and from outside the university. Lync Online offers new functions that were lacking in the previous environment; i.e. information on whether faculty members are present. Lync Online also allows a choice of multiple communication tools for instant messaging, for emails or for web conferences.
Flexible system by end user computing (hereafter as EUC) uses Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM
TUT has the highest expectations for use of SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It also has high hopes for Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a data viewer that enables the extraction of data entered into and stored in the core DB. Data also remain anonymous and can be sorted and read based on various criteria. The web template is customized in several ways and works together with SharePoint; enabling fluid use of data within the university.


Even better achievement by promoting the EUC and rational systems that can also be diverted to companies
Even though TUT has started its trial efforts to use a full shift to the cloud to reduce workloads for system operations to the lowest possible level, professor Tago gave a small warning: “We have only taken the first step. From now on, the quantity of internal university data that is processed by any university in the world will continue to grow at a fast pace. Given this fact, we feel it makes sense to accumulate databases in the cloud. We also came to the conclusion that the intermingled use of clouds, from PaaS to SaaS, is more rational in terms of operations and costs.”
Mr. Kimura as an IT vendor also agrees with the new system concept:

“Even in the case that EUC at TUT moves forward and the quantity of data in the core DB swells, as long as it is managed using Microsoft Azure, no problems will rise. The expenses for data accumulation will be surprisingly small; even in comparison with AWS, running costs can be reduced.”

Professor Tago concludes with the following expectations:

“This is our first effort to make a full shift to the cloud at our university. As for quantity of data and operational rules, we have started from scratch. However, we ultimately succeeded thanks to a wide range of affordable and flexible cloud services provided by Microsoft Azure. Thanks to solutions like Dynamics CRM and SharePoint, information analysis is proceeding well and sophisticated IR could be realized. This achievement will become evident after further use. Personally, I think that the structure that we have put together could also become a useful model for businesses.”

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