by Peter Galli on February 15, 2010 11:00am

As adoption and usage surges for Live@Edu, Microsoft's free communication and collaboration solution that educational institutions can offer their students, I wanted to provide an update in that regard.

You may remember that the Live Services Plug-in for Moodle, a free download released under the General Public License v2 that integrates Microsoft's Live@Edu services such as email, calendar, instant messaging and search directly into the Moodle experience, was released at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention last year. 

This integrated experience is accessible via a single sign-on, which lets teachers and students access the resources and services they need to efficiently communicate, collaborate and learn, while the platform is interoperable with different open source and commercial software platforms.

Currently, millions of students in Latin America, across Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru, are already taking advantage of Live@Edu, which is available in every country within the region. It is a free solution which includes services such as e-mail, instant messaging, calendar, collaborative work areas and storage as an institutional service identified by the institution's logo and its registered domain. 

Take the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos de Perú which has more than 40,000 students, 5,000 teachers and almost 2,000 new students every semester. It has, thanks to Live@Edu, managed to overcome problems with its e-mail accounts caused by the acceleration in the number of students. Thanks to the interoperability and support which the Microsoft solution offers, the University has managed to integrate its open code applications with this new platform at a minimal cost.

The importance of this initiative is underscored by the comments from Luis Fernando Izquierdo Vásquez, the president of that University, who notes that the alliance with Microsoft will "bring every teacher and student closer to our institution, offering them a series of tools to help generate knowledge and thereby improve the educational preparation that we offer our students."

"Institutions need flexible technological solutions to meet the range of needs of their students and teachers, which is why our products connect easily with other systems and offer wide ranging and secure access to the educational resources that their teachers and students need, when they need them, wherever they are and from whatever device they are using," Alvaro Morón, the Director of Live@Edu for Microsoft Latin America, notes.

This initiative also underscores how Microsoft responds to the needs of governments and reaffirms its commitment to education. The company works with local governments, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions to offer interoperable solutions necessary for young people, with the necessary technical requirements and requiring the lowest investment possible from governments and institutions.

"We understand that a student's success is an institution's main priority and we are committed to supporting this. We help them attain their goals by offering a range of tailor made tools which allow students and teachers to discover, create and use relevant content for personalized learning," Morón said.

Other universities which have chosen Live@Edu

  • Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico needed to offer storage and collaboration capabilities to promote the use of its system domain, such as unique student e-mail accounts, and which would facilitate communication throughout their university education and after their graduation. Today, the university provides students with more storage for their e-mail accounts and collaboration tools which have saved them more than $100,000.
  • Universidad Abierta Interamericana in Argentina had issues around creating a quick and efficient means of communicating with students. They adopted Live@Edu free of charge and the university now offers an e-mail account to each of their students, as well as Office and Windows Live products, thereby allowing them to work on a secure and solid platform.
  • Universidad Piloto de Colombia needed to replace its e-mail platform to offer its students the storage space they needed in their e-mail accounts as well as taking full advantage of group and collaborative work. The Live@Edu platform allows them to create an ideal communication and collaboration environment for students.
  • Universidad Kennedy de Argentina had issues with generating an efficient means of communication with its students. The university adopted Live@Edu at no cost and now offers each of the 17,000 students an e-mail account. The University looked at Google and evaluated different factors, but there were two decisive factors for its embrace of Live@Edu: the excellent support offered by Microsoft and the fact that the University is currently implementing SharePoint for a wide range of educational purposes, and its integration with Live@Edu is a simple process, says Gabriel Tiburtini, the head of the IT Administration Department for the University.
  • Universidad de Sorocaba in Brazil adopted Live@Edu with the aim of integrating its community of 36,000 students and alumni. it has successfully achieved integration and cost reduction.
  • Fundación Getúlio Vargas adopted Microsoft Live@Edu to perfect student Webmail, which helped lower costs and facilitate its use.

Elementary and Junior High schools that have adopted the solution include Colegio Fontán and Marymount in Colombia, and Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.