By Rhonda Gregory, Director of Distributed Education
There’s some exciting news from the Vol State IT department…faculty, staff, and students now have free access to Microsoft Office 365 for business!
What is Office 365?
Office 365 is a plan that provides access to Office applications plus online (cloud) storage for easy file management, retrieval across devices, and sharing. Our Office 365 plan also includes the desktop version of the latest Office applications. Students, staff, and faculty are able to download applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on their personal computers. You can download the available Office applications on up to 5 computers and 5 mobile devices (10 total!).
Benefits of Office 365
There are several wins when it comes to using Office 365, but cloud storage has to be my favorite. According to Withee and Reed from Office 365 for Dummies, one of the benefits of cloud storage
“…is that you always have a single source of the truth. If you make a change to a document from your tablet at home and then your colleague views the file from their phone, she will see the most up-to-date document.”
Here are just a few ways we can think about starting to use Office 365 suite of tools to help us improve our productivity and communication:
- Gain access to Office applications online easy access to your files.
- Keep meeting minutes on your iPad using Word or OneNote, then sync the documents to your computer back in the office.
- Share files with others in either view only or edit mode, depending on your purpose.
- Eliminate the dreaded email file exchange loop and keeping track of document versions.
- Collaboratively build or edit files with a team (could be a great group activity resource for the classroom or online teaching).
- Manage course files for multiple courses in just one place, and put links to these files in eLearn shells.
How to Get Started
- Go to https://login.microsoftonline.com/.
- Enter your Vol State email address.
- Look for the image change so you see a picture of the Gallatin campus, then enter your Vol State password.
IT has created the following step-by-step guides to help you get started using Office 365.
There will also be online training available beginning spring semester through our new Lynda.com subscription. Microsoft provides Office help and training online for specific apps that you may find helpful. Finally, educators who sign up can final short videos, courses, and other resources on the Microsoft Education Training and Professional Development site.
And when you just need to talk to someone, the Vol State IT Help Desk is available in the library or by calling (615) 230-3302 or toll-free at (888) 335-8722 ext. 3302.
The Help Desk hours of operation are Monday to Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.