Microsoft Office 365 receives an upgrade that will help staff and faculty collaborate

Jenna Langan

The Division of Technology has expanded the university’s agreement with Microsoft to include more beneficial collaboration tools.

The upgrade gives faculty and staff a convenient space to access chat conversations, shared documents, Office applications (like Word, Excel and Outlook), planning tools, video calls and meetings.

“These new Microsoft products will increase productivity and collaboration among faculty and staff, and even across other units throughout the university,” said Bob Baumann, an IT systems specialist.

Several programs are being enabled within the new upgrade. These include Microsoft Teams, Sway, Tasks and many more.

“Teams is a chat client that allows you to create teams of individuals that can collaborate, chat, and even video conference each other,” Baumann said.

Faculty and staff will be able to interact at a level of communication like never before.

“Sway is a way for you to create visually pleasing presentations, interactive reports, and much more,” Baumann said. “Tasks is a way to create to-do lists and tasks. You can even share tasks with your team and have group tasks.”

The Office 365 upgrade is giving faculty and staff a way to share ideas, tasks and work in a more efficient space than email.

Although this workspace may sound like every busy student’s dream, these new features are only for faculty and staff.

“Students still get access to the free Microsoft Office products like Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote,” Baumann said.

These new features are available Nov. 4. There are many upcoming workshops to acquaint faculty and staff with the new upgrade.

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Jenna Langan is the consumer tech reporter. Contact her at [email protected].