Taking higher ed even higher with Office 365 University


Guest blogger Devin Pastoor is a University of Maryland grad student working on his PhD in pharmacology and biomathematics. Devin shares how he uses Office 365 University to manage his life and stay organized and productive with constantly demanding deadlines. 

Office 365 UniversityMy life is a whirlwind of classes, assignments, group projects, and lab work. Like most college and university students, I’ll take all the help I can get to keep organized, stay productive, and ultimately remain ahead of the learning curve.

Lucky for me, and other higher-education students striving to make sense of it all, Microsoft just released Office 365 University for college and university students. For just $79.99 for a four-year subscription (that’s just $1.67 per month!), it’s a fantastic deal.

As an early adopter of Office 365, I’ve been up and running for few months. In that short time I’ve gotten to know and love many of the new capabilities-all of which I won’t be able to do without whether I’m at school, home or work. Here are just a few:

  • Note Taking: I use OneNote as my ‘digital brain.’ Whether it’s classwork, lab work, to-do lists, or random thoughts, OneNote keeps everything in order and at my fingertips. I really love the openness and extensibility that OneNote provides. In a snap, I can create outlines, add PowerPoint slides or handouts my professors give me, and on my tablet, make full use of inking capabilities in multiple colors. Beyond keeping me organized, the search functionality built in to OneNote is invaluable to me.The fact that I can even search written text–my own handwriting!–makes it easier than ever for me to find keywords when gathering research, studying, or looking for information from a specific lecture

  • Data Entry: While doing lab work, Flash Fill in Excel has already saved me many hours of manual data entry. Like a data assistant that finishes your work for you, Flash Fill detects what you want to do and enters the rest of your data in one fell swoop, following patterns in your data.

  • Presentations: Using the improved presenter view in PowerPoint, I always appear more polished than I really am (sure hope my professors aren’t reading this). Hidden from my audience, I can see all the important points I need to land in the notes section, and I no longer worry about which slide is next or need to look up at the clock on the wall to see how much more time I have left.

  • Communications and Calendaring: Balancing school, work, multiple email accounts and my schedule is a breeze with the new Outlook. The ability to add people to a meeting and have Outlook propose times where everyone’s calendar is free has made scheduling large meetings or even casual get-togethers hassle free.

  • The Cloud: With SkyDrive, my current documents are always accessible online, wherever I am. Since I frequently switch between my tablet and laptop, keeping everything updated across both is essential. I’m also involved in a lot of group projects, so being able to create and share folders of content, know that everyone has the most up-to-date version of everything, and that everything is always backed up takes a lot of stress out of collaborating.

In addition to all the things I love about using Office 365 for school, I can’t end without letting you know about all the extras that come with an Office 365 University subscription, including:

  • More storage: Additional 20 GB of Premium SkyDrive storage.
  • Skype: 60 Skype world minutes per month.
  • New upgrades: Get future updates and enhancements.
  • Two installations: Install Office 365 University on up to two computers (PC or Mac) for one user.
  • Office on Demand: Use Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured Office to an internet-connected Windows-based PC.

Devin Pastoor photoWhen Devin isn’t busy in the classroom focusing on his PhD or working as a Clinical Research Specialist, he enjoys staying active, cooking and traveling. 

To learn more about Office 365 University or to give Office 365 a try, go to Office.com.