The University of Pennsylvania and Microsoft partner to provide Penn students with a full suite of communications services, including 2GB of e-mail storage space with mobile and offline accessibility, blogging, calendaring, messaging and file sharing.
The University of Pennsylvania — known familiarly as Penn — heard those needs, and has responded by partnering with Microsoft to enhance the communications platform the school offers to its students. With “Penn Live,” students of Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School — which combined represent 13,000 of the university’s 20,000 students — will have the option to use a customized version of Windows Live to access a full suite of communications services, including e-mail, starting this fall.
“This is really all about our students,” says Ramin Sedehi, Vice Dean for Finance and Administration at Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences. “We listened to what they had to say, and we were guided in our decisions by a student advisory board that evaluated different options. We’re excited that now we have identified a partner who can help us deliver on our vision for a state-of-the-art communications platform.”
“Penn Live” will provide Penn students with 2 gigabytes of e-mail storage space and includes support for both mobile and offline capability, as well as other features such as blogging, contacts management and photo sharing. It was developed through Microsoft’s Windows Live @ edu program, which provides institutions of higher education with a set of hosted communications services for students, alumni and applicants at no charge.
Included in a Windows Live @ edu package is a hosted e-mail service — Windows Live Hotmail, which also provides anti-spam and anti-virus protection. Microsoft hosts the e-mail, but the educational institutions maintain control, creating, deleting and storing .edu e-mail addresses for their constituents, just as they do today.
“We currently run a Microsoft Exchange environment and people love it, but we wanted to also offer a more integrated online solution to our students, because that’s what they were asking for,” explains Deirdre Woods, CIO and associate dean at the Wharton School. “Now, current students will have the option for more e-mail storage space, alumni can have continuity with an e-mail address that lasts for life, and all undergraduates at Penn will be able to collaborate on the same platform.”
With Penn Live, students will be able to access their e-mail on cell phones or PDAs with wireless data access, and will have offline access to their e-mail from Windows PCs using the beta version of Windows Live Mail Desktop. Live Mail Desktop also allows access to multiple e-mail accounts — including Gmail and AOL mail — and can include RSS feeds to favorite blogs and news sources. Students will also be able to use POP (post office protocol) to access their Windows Live Hotmail with other e-mail clients.
“We are tremendously excited to have the opportunity to provide Windows Live messaging and collaboration services to Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences and Wharton,” says Walter Harp, Microsoft group product manager, Windows Live @ edu.
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