University Offers Improved E-mail Solution and Strengthens Community with Collaboration Tools
The University of Da Nang (UD) has over 35,000 enrolled students and is also a major science and technology research center in Vietnam. UD wanted to provide students and staff with a common reliable method of online communication to enhance teaching and learning processes. The university chose Microsoft® Live@edu, a suite of collaborative services such as free e-mail and a range of other features including instant messaging, online storage space, and blogging. Students and staff are now using Live@edu to build university communities through a common e-mail solution and collaboration tools, and to retain important information using the large amount of online storage provided. Live@edu has also helped to simplify IT management.
Established in 1994, The University of Da Nang (UD) is a state-supported, regional multi-disciplinary university and a center for cultural exchange in Central Vietnam. With 70,000 students and 2000 staff, UD consists of eight member colleges and 17 training centers. The university also publishes the Journal of Science and Technology.
UD needed to replace its unreliable, resource-intensive e-mail service for students and lecturers. The university wanted to offer a Web-based communication and collaboration service for students.
UD chose Microsoft® Live@edu, a suite of Web-based, hosted communication and collaboration services, to provide a reliable
e-mail service, online storage and multiple ways of collaborative working.
- Builds campus communication
- Stores important information
- Improves study skills
- Reduces administration and maintenance time
Software and Services
Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003
Higher Education Institutions
Located in the hub of Da Nang, the University of Da Nang (UD) is one of five leading national and regional universities in Vietnam. As a regional multi-disciplinary university, UD is a center for training and research, culture, and cultural exchange in central Vietnam. The university has over 70,000 students and 2000 staff with eight member colleges. It also incorporates 17 centers for training, scientific research and technology, and publishes the Journal of Science and Technology.
Microsoft Live@edu is what our university has been looking for. It is the best fit for our expectations – a synchronized e-mail solution with the whole collaborative service. We are promoting Live@edu services to students and staff.
Professor Bui Van Ga, President, University of Danang
UD facilitates scientific and technological studies in combination with teaching, training, the provision of scientific information, and the application of research results. This supports the building and development of the country, especially the provinces in Central Vietnam and the Western Highlands.
UD already had a campus e-mail service; however the IT department knew that the university’s e-mail system was no longer meeting the demands of students and alumni. “Initially, the alumni used the old e-mail system and it ran smoothly, but its main weakness was the anti-spam service. Users were frequently receiving junk e-mails which could be confusing and annoying”, says Cao Xuan Tuan, IT Manager, UD. In addition, mailboxes were too small to hold many messages and users could not send or receive large attachments.
Students, on the other hand, were using their own e-mail accounts such as Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, which had their own limitations. Firstly, there was the risk of losing material due to incompatibility between e-mail providers. For example, a student using Yahoo! Mail might not receive e-mail messages from Gmail users, as the service does not have a safe recipient list capability that allows messages from Gmail to pass through the system’s spam e-mail filter.
Also, the address book functions in other free Web-based services were limited, and the application did not include calendaring or any collaborative features. UD students wanted to keep their e-mail accounts and course material for life, and share pictures, music and video with their classmates.
Finally, students were not regularly checking e-mail so faculty and staff were not confident that students were reading important university messages and announcements. “The university was looking for a value-added service that would help students stay in contact and improve their collaboration and communication,” says Tuan.
During 2008, the IT department of UD had been seeking a new e-mail solution for their students. The department was introduced to Microsoft® Live@edu by Nova Technologies, a Microsoft® Certified Partner in Vietnam. The IT department began evaluating the solution with a trial account after viewing an online demonstration, and was also evaluating a solution from Google. UD selected Live@edu for its hosted communication and collaboration service for students and staff and the reliability and simplicity of administration.
The university’s board of directors authorized the deployment of Live@edu; and from there the IT department spent a couple of days setting up Microsoft® Identity Integration Server 2003 and creating the first batch of accounts.
UD could select between Windows Live™ Hotmail® and Microsoft® Office Outlook® Live, which includes 10-GB of storage space per account. The university decided to use Office Outlook Live, as its interfaces are quite similar to Microsoft® Office Outlook® and Microsoft® Office Outlook® Web Access.
UD created customized accounts for staff and students using each member college’s address. Once an individual has their Windows Live™ ID, that same ID is then used to access not only a mailbox with a large amount of storage, but also messaging services in Windows Live™ Messenger. It also enables students to create personal Web sites with blogs and photos in Windows Live™ Spaces and store files in SkyDrive™ with 25-GB of storage space.
“We expect that students will take advantage of Live@edu to improve their learning quality by using these online tools from Microsoft,” explains Tuan.
In December 2008, UD began to introduce Live@edu to the students and staff through the university Web site and with announcements. At the same time, the university prepared a training session for students and lecturers, in cooperation with Microsoft and Nova Technologies, in early January 2009. Over 300 staff and student representatives took part in a two-hour training course, where they activated their accounts and got acquainted with services such as Office Outlook Live, Windows Live Messenger, SkyDrive, Windows Live Spaces, and Microsoft® Office Live Workspace.
Professor Bui Van Ga, President of UD, says: “Microsoft Live@edu is what our university has been looking for. It is the best fit for our expectations – a synchronized e-mail solution with the whole collaborative service. We are promoting Live@edu services to students and staff.”
To drive usage of Live@edu, all UD lecturers are encouraged to use their Window Live ID and then promote the service to their students in class. Eight students were also selected as ambassadors to introduce Live@edu to their classmates. To further encourage usage among students UD Youth Union, along with Microsoft and Nova, will run a Live@edu skills contest in April 2009.
The university now benefits from a guaranteed e-mail service with more storage and collaboration tools. UD staff and students now use Live@edu to improve campus communication and to retain important information. With Live@edu, the UD IT department has minimal administration and maintenance tasks to complete.
Builds Campus Communication
Live@edu gives university students and lecturers a faster information exchange during the studying and teaching process. Students can stay in contact with each other using Windows Live Messenger, which includes using group chat, and Window Live Spaces.
Bui Nguyen Hoang Hung, a student in the College of Information Technologies at UD, comments: “I like all the features, especially group chatting with 15 friends at a time.” Using Office Outlook Live for e-mail, Office Live Workspace and SkyDrive, students can send and share large files and study in online groups with their classmates.
Lecturers also use Windows Live Messenger and Office Outlook Live to communicate with their colleagues and share their working calendars. Each teacher customizes their own Windows Live Space to post course materials, and create spaces for their students to post comments and discuss class topics. At UD, Live@edu has opened up a new communications environment between staff, students, and graduate students.
Stores Important Information
The Live@edu service has offered students and staff a large storage space for important documents. Office Outlook Live provides 10-GB of e-mail storage. The IT department is no longer worried about students and staff losing e-mail because of limited storage.
SkyDrive also gives students 25-GB of password-protected storage where they can post personal files. Nguyen The An, a UD student, explains: “I love SkyDrive because it is a large space where I can upload files and photos and share them with my classmates.”
Improves Study Skills
Students are provided with new tools to aid studying online and to improve their productivity. They can now chat via text, voice or video through Windows Live Messenger with a group of up to 15 members; discuss a topic in Windows Live Spaces; and share documents and work on group assignments at home.
In addition, students are able to connect to the Workspaces and SkyDrives of other individuals to download files they need. UD students are expected to use Live@edu to improve their collaborative study skills.
Reduces Administration and Maintenance Time
Live@edu not only saves set up and configuration time, but also helps to reduce IT administration. Once set up, there is little ongoing maintenance since all the hosting, spam-filtering and up-time is managed by Microsoft. Tuan explains: “Live@edu provides standard and simplified IT administration. In addition, we do not worry about technical problems when they arise as we get quick responses from the Live@edu support team.”
For more information
For more information about Microsoft Live@edu, visit: http://get.liveatedu.com/Education/Connect