The Shree Chanakya Education Society (SCES) was established in February 1994, under the visionary leadership of Mrs. Tarita Wakalkar Mehendale, with the aim of providing top quality post-graduate education in the fields of Business Management, International Business and Information Technology. Since inception, the Institutes managed by SCES, have maintained high academic standards and have successfully provided trained manpower to the industrial and services sector of the country.
With a modest strength of 60 students pursuing a single course, SCES has grown steadily and today boasts of 14 institutes, having more than 8000 students from all over India pursuing multi-disciplinary, graduate and post-graduate programmes.
SCES employs a total of 400 staff members who have invaluable experience in varied areas like academics, industry, service and social-work. To create an official online communication medium for the organization, it offers a messaging solution managed by third party Web solution provider. Members are provided with Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP 3) and Webmail (via Squirrelmail) services with subscription based Spam Filtering service. Maintenance and storage issues were managed by the third party administrators and issues were solved whenever they aroused via support channels.
However, this system was limited only to the staff and not implemented for students. This meant that there was no e-mail communication between students and faculty members. “This was definitely the weakest link in our IT-based student services,” says Janardan Pawar, Vice Principal, ICCS. “We needed a reliable, easy-to-use, and flexible e-mail service that unified and streamlined communications between the university and its student body.”
Other requirements from the solution were:
- An effective means of communication between the students and the faculty
- Effective inter-organization communication (staff-faculty-directors)
- Work collaboration for projects, and meetings
- Online storage solution which can be shared among peers on permission basis
The decision was thus made to replace the existing e-mail service with a more robust, Web-enabled solution.
Challenged by lack of communication between the faculty and students, SCED began evaluating different options for a replacement e-mail service. The need for easy-to-use and feature rich interface dictated that the university implements a hosted solution. After comparing Google Apps and Microsoft® Live@edu, SCED chose Windows Live@edu, a free, Microsoft-hosted set of university-branded, hosted messaging and collaboration solution for universities.
||The bottom line is, with Microsoft Live@edu, we can provide better hosted Web mail and online collaboration services for our students, while saving money.
||Santosh Kumar, Director (IT), SCES
“We wanted a solution which we could adopt without any extra overheads; and which would require minimal training,” says Santosh Kumar, Director (IT), SCES. “Microsoft is a well-respected name and we were assured that the service would be reliable and well supported.”
The new solution provides 7150+ active live e-mail ids and 1050+ users have been trained to use these. 12 institutes have started using the Live Services.
Along with online communication and collaboration services, Live@edu also provides student e-mail and calendaring services. It equips students with e-mail and calendar tools similar to what they may use in the workforce.
Live@edu provides SCES online services to store, share, and edit documents. It has answered the students’ wishes for more storage space and features like Windows Live Spaces for sharing documents, photos, and blogs. Other features such as Windows Live SkyDrive, allow students to store, access and share files with friends or classmates, from anywhere online. It provides 25 GB of free online storage. Additionally, Microsoft Office Live Workspace provides online place to save, access, and share documents and files.
“The students loved all the features offered in Windows Live@edu,” says Pravin Dange, Deputy Director, ISBS. “With Live@edu, we can handle our growing demand for Web-based communication services—without the worry of service, space, or liability issues.”
The university made the decision to deploy Live@edu in August 2009 and all existing accounts were migrated in September 2009. However, implementation and expansion of Live@edu for users is still going on.
The suite of integrated, Web-based services provides a framework for cohesive communications among students, and between students and faculty. Since deploying Microsoft Live@edu, SCES is enjoying the benefits of a reliable, hosted e-mail solution with a familiar user interface.
With features such as Microsoft Office Live Workspace and Windows Live Spaces, Live@edu provides online services to store, share, and edit documents.
During team projects students are collaborating with Workspaces for sharing documents. Microsoft Office Live Workspace provides students an online place to save, access, and share documents and files. With Windows Live Spaces they can share this space with the world.
Effective communication with Outlook Live helps faculty to reach out to students, and inform students’ in-time for guest lectures and extra lectures with Outlook Calendar feature.
“All these effective ways of collaboration which hep to store, share, and edit documents, increase productivity of students, faculties and staff,” says Santosh Kumar.
According to one of the student at the institute, “I really appreciate the free online storage available with Windows Live SkyDrive. It can be used to store papers and access them from any location.”
Windows Live SkyDrive provides students with 25 GB of free online storage. This can be used to store, access and share files with friends or classmates, from anywhere online.
Compared with our existing system, Microsoft Live@edu is virtually maintenance free. Once the service is up and running, there’s very little to do.
“Microsoft takes care of costly, labor-intensive hosting and storage,” says Santosh Kumar. “It adds up to a significant budget reduction for a much superior service. The bottom line is, with Microsoft Live@edu, we can provide better hosted Web mail and online collaboration services for our students, while saving money.”
Live@edu increases the ability of students, faculties and staff to communicate and collaborate with a suite of online tools, including shared calendars, documents, and workspaces. It keeps students and faculty connected anywhere with online access on virtually any web-enabled device, and equip students for the real world.
“Students are excited about the reliability of the new e-mail service, which helps them stay in touch with their professors,” says Janardan Pawar. “This service gives students, staff, and faculty the power to choose how they communicate and collaborate with the people and communities around them.”