Loyola to switch technology platforms

sakai-microsoft-300x150After 20 years of the current GroupWise email system, Loyola will be moving to Microsoft Office 365 for students and Microsoft Outlook for faculty and staff members. Additionally, after eight years of using Blackboard, Loyola will be moving to Sakai CLE software.

In a university-wide email, Loyola announced these changes Monday, Nov. 12. They will take effect in May 2013.

“While GroupWise has served the university well, Microsoft’s email platform is better suited for Loyola moving forward,” according to an emailed statement to the Phoenix by Susan Malisch, Bruce Montes and Dan Vonder Heide of Information Technology Services (ITS). Malisch is the vice president and chief information officer of ITS; Montes is the director of Academic Technology Services within ITS; and Vonder Heide is the director of Infrastructure Services within ITS.

Microsoft Office 365, which students will use, will reside in the “cloud” on the Internet, whereas Microsoft Outlook, which faculty and staff will use, is an email system housed at Loyola, similar to GroupWise. Both will be accessible on- and off-campus.

Among other changes, the new email platforms will provide students, faculty and staff improved mobile access, 25 gigabytes of storage (as opposed to GroupWise’s one gigabyte) and will allow students to keep their accounts post-graduation, according to Malisch, Montes and Vonder Heide.

Current seniors will also have Microsoft Office 365 accounts created, and upon graduation, they will be able to retain their “” accounts for life.

Current students, faculty and staff will also keep their “” domains, which is a key differentiation between using Microsoft and using Google’s Gmail, according to the three from ITS.

In addition to the email change, Loyola’s current learning management system, Blackboard, will be replaced by one called Sakai.

A learning management system is a software application for administration, documentation and delivery of education courses or training programs.

“Two years ago, Loyola began a process of systematically testing other learning management systems to determine whether they could better serve the evolving needs of our faculty and students,” said Malisch, Montes and Vonder Heide in the emailed statement.

A team of students, faculty and staff collaborated on the project to determine what system Loyola should use.

“This project team determined that … Sakai could best meet the teaching and learning goals at Loyola,” the three said in the emailed statement. “We believe that this change in platforms will position Loyola to take advantage of contemporary, easy-to-navigate tools and more collaborative interaction in our curriculums.”


by Emily Study


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