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O365Welcome back Beavers! I was lucky to meet many incoming students at START and BRIDGE this summer; an impressive class indeed.

My basic message to students is this: DON’T BUY MICROSOFT OFFICE!

No, I am not an anti-Bill-Gates-Apple-hugger (though I do love my IPad).

The bare fact is that all OSU students now own MS Office Pro Plus for free.

The resources referred to in this article with annotations and more are available at Dr. Tech’s Bookmarks.

OSU’s Information Services negotiators have been working hard to make this real.

I spoke with Kirsten Petersen, Core Application Manager in Network Services, to learn the details.

She is smart, nice and funny; here is how she broke it down for me.

Every OSU student, undergraduate and graduate, can download five (count em’ 5!) personal instances of MS Office Pro Plus Suite to install on Windows, Macintosh and mobile.

The MS Office Pro Plus Suite includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access. That is impressive, but wait there’s more.

Suppose you are somewhere without any of your devices? No problem, log into your free Office Online account where you can create and edit Office documents within a Web browser. That is cool, but wait there is more.

Where do you keep all those precious documents? Keep them on your 1 terabyte (really?) One Drive cloud storage that connects to your installed online Offices.

From One Drive you can share and co-edit Office documents with other students. Kirsten says; “It is your network drive in the cloud.

If you have a group, for example a student club, that shares documents, then Sites is your no cost solution; in addition to the OSU Google Drive that you already have.

What’s the downside, you ask? Mainly this: when you leave OSU these free accounts will expire. The take-away lesson is – always keep backup copies of your data.

I hope that you are enjoying this news thus far. Yet I am faculty and have to wonder; “What is in it for Dr. Tech?

The answer is: OSU staff and faculty don’t get everything that students do in this deal, but we are not left out.

Information Services leadership expects to secure Office Online, One Drive and Sites for staff and faculty in W15.

Besides, OSU staff and faculty may download and install personal copies of MS Office Pro Plus now via the Home Use agreement for $10 per installation. Dr. Tech can live with that.

Important note to staff and faculty: OSU remains site licensed for MS Office on your University workstations. None of this changes the Office in your office or cubicle.

Instructors should be aware that Blackboard and the coming Canvas (which I’ll address in a future column) support online commenting and grading of Office documents submitted by students.

To use online commenting and grading see the Quick Reference Guide to “Creating Blackboard Assignments” at –

Why is Microsoft giving away the store? Because Microsoft is in competition with Google whose Apps for Education provides a suite of applications to students for free.

Google is using the resulting market penetration to leverage sales of Chromebooks and Android devices.

Microsoft is pushing back with the Student Advantage package to promote their low-end laptops and Surface tablets.

OSU student email (onid) already uses Google and while the Outlook email client comes with Office365, there are no plans to change student email accounts any time soon.

For help with any aspect of Office365 contact the OSU Computer Help Desk or visit the Walk-Up Computer Help Desk on main floor in Valley Library.

For current information about Office365 at OSU visit

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