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Office Live Comes to EagleConnect

By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Assistant Director - Academic Computing and User Services 

There are many reasons for students and alumni to use the EagleConnect communication system. For one thing, it provides a great web-based email interface or you can configure it for Outlook. Additionally, users are given 25GB of storage space on the SkyDrive portion of the system. Since all administrative departments and units send all their official communications to a student's EagleConnect email address only, students need to check the system regularly in order to receive all their information about registration, financial aide, class announcements and the like (remember, students can forward their EagleConnect email to a preferred address). Alumni can keep in touch with the university with their EagleConnect accounts and current students get to keep their accounts in perpetuity after they graduate.

Now there is even more reason to use EagleConnect as your digital communication provider of choice: Free Office! As of just a little while ago, Microsoft began including Office Live applications in EagleConnect. Office Live applications are web-based (cloud) versions of MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote which provide the full functionality of their Office Suite installed counterparts. But. They. Are. Free.

All UNT community members are encouraged to spread the word about the Office online apps in EagleConnect to their users with EagleConnect accounts (all current and former students, alumni, and retirees). The CITC Helpdesk is beginning to really flog these apps in testing to see if there are any 'gotchas' but an initial testing by yours truly has found no such flaw. The only thing to remember is that SkyDrive limits individual document size to 50MB which means that some Powerpoint presentations that might include A/V items would need to be zipped or partitioned-out over several documents. Additionally, the documents only save in the .appx (.docx, .pptx etc) format so they are not backward compatible with Office versions prior to 2007. My initial testing included using the apps in Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari and all three browsers were 'friendly' with the products.

To get your qualified EagleConnect users started with Office Live, I have provided a step-by-step 'how to' summary below:

Login to EagleConnect - there are two ways to do this: either via my.unt.edu (shown below) or by going to eagleconnect.unt.edu and clicking the login button:

 

The login page for my.unt.edu

The login page for my.unt.edu

 

EagleConnect tab in my.unt.edu

The EagleConnect tab in my.unt.edu

Then login to EagleConnect on this Windows Live ID page with your email address and your UNT password:

 

The EagleConnect/Windows Live ID login page

The EagleConnect / Windows Live ID login page

Select the Office Pull-down Menu and choose which Office application you wish to use:

 

The Office Live Menu in EagleConnect

The Office Live Menu in EagleConnect

In this case, I chose Word so I get a New Document prompt - this Document is by default saved to my SkyDrive but you can save it to your desktop later if you wish:

 

New MS Word document screen

As you can see, my document opens in a web-based Word that looks and acts amazingly like the Word that is installed on my machine!

 

Word Document opened in the cloud

After I finish with my document on the web-based Word, I can save it to my Sky Drive or open it in Word on my machine and save it to my machine. There are also Share features:

 

Share features view

The next two screen shots illustrate that Powerpoint Live and Excel Live look a lot like their installed counterparts as well:

 

PowerPoint Live

 

Excel Live

As you can see, the 'Computing Cloud' has now officially come to the students at UNT and everyone is encouraged to spread the news. I am sure that of us can expect to see similar cloud computing applications come our way in the future from a variety of developers. If you have any questions about the Office Live portion of EagleConnect, please contact me at ehinkle@unt.edu. A big 'thank-you' to Lisa Coleman of the CITC Helpdesk for providing me with most of the screen shots for this article.