Office Suites In Higher Education

 

by David Heise

CIO, Andrews University

12-Dec-2000

 

I sent a brief survey about office suites to the EDUCAUSE CIO list (and some other lists) and received 29 responses.  This document tabulates those responses.  The results are summarized in a separate document.

 

Questions Asked

1a

Does your campus have a standard for office productivity software: For teaching?

1b

Does your campus have a standard for office productivity software: For office use?

2a

If so, what software do you use: For teaching?

2b

If so, what software do you use: For office use?

3a

If you do not have a standard, do you support both Microsoft and Corel?

3b

What levels of support do you give?

When

If your campus has a standard for office productivity software, when did you adopt that standard?

Rationale

What was your rationale for choosing the standard you have adopted?

 

Tabulated Results

Institution

Albion College

Name

Scott Stephen

Title

Assoc. Director of IT

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

No

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1999

Rationale?

Albion pretty much followed the Villanova approach - the changeover was announced shortly after our new VP for IT took office in June of last year.  We continued support of WP for a year and a half, offered Word for WordPerfect users classes, and made the transition as people got new computers.  They could request WP to be added to their computer this year, but it will not be an option next year.  There has been some rebellion, but not a great deal.  They are free to purchase their own copy of WP, and then the only difference will be on-campus support.

 

 

Institution

Arizona State University West

Name

Connie McNeill

Title

Assistant Vice Provost for Information Technology

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1992

Rationale?

We adopted MS Office around 1992. We have an advisory committee that recommends software products for campus support. There is a specific process that we go through, and specific criteria that must be considered when evaluating competing products. Information on this is available at http://www.west.asu.edu/itweb/policies/SW_Suppt/swsup.html .

 

 

Institution

Benedictine University, Lisle, IL

Name

Kenneth Wittig

Title

Information Technology Director

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

NO

3b: Support Offered?

Office: scheduled training classes; Helpdesk call support; "deskside" consulting to assist with mid level and advanced topics, including database design, etc.

When?

1997

Rationale?

The market share of Office 2000 makes it almost a "standard" by default, especially in academic areas where Microsoft started making the product available with very aggressive pricing long before Corel (as a full office suite) existed.

 

 

Institution

Canadian University College

Name

Colin Hill

Title

Director of Technology for Academic Support

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

Introductory & advanced 2 hr sessions offered a couple times a semester, private tutoring arranged as needed (not much) and help on specific issues as requested. We also refer people to several power users on campus who have agreed to help others occasionally.

When?

1995

Rationale?

 

 

 

Institution

College of Mount St. Joseph, Cincinnati, OH

Name

Mark Cain

Title

Executive Director, Information Services & Support

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1996

Rationale?

 

 

 

Institution

Concordia University, River Forest, IL

Name

Dr. Dennis E Witte

Title

VP for Information Services

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

Regular training sessions, help desk,  individual consultation for MS Office 97 and MS Office 2000

When?

1998

Rationale?

We phased out Corel Office by:

(a) surveying the faculty and involving them in the decision process

(b) declaring the new standard

(c) only offering MSO on any new or upgraded computers (allowing a few exceptions),

(d) offering significant MSO training, 

(e) not offering any more Corel training,

(f) not allowing the purchase of any new or upgraded Corel licenses,

(g) allowing users to keep their existing Corel software during transition.

 

We encouraged users to not mass convert all WordPerfect documents but to convert individual documents to WORD as they were needed.

 

At this point, 2 1/2 years after the new standard, most folks are over and functioning well with MSO.  We have talked about doing a sweep of university owned PCs to remove any remaining copies of Corel Office.

 

We switched away from Corel and moved to MS Office for several important reasons:

1) with the industry market share for MS Office being 80%+ at the time, we felt we needed to equip students to use the tools they would find in the workplace

2) the curricular materials we were using for computer literacy decided to drop their Corel version of manuals

3) the new administrative software we were implementing offered excellent integration with MS WORD and not with WORDPERFECT

 

 

Institution

Fairmont Sate College

Name

Larry Haffner

Title

 

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

 

Rationale?

Don't know how much help I can be, but we went through this (should say, are going through this!).  We were a Word Perfect shop at one time...and the 'forced' conversion has been very traumatic for many!

 

On our IT page you'll find two memos (http://www.fscwv.edu/it/it_memos/memo.html)  ...one announcing the change and one with a detailed rationale. (We tried to find every way we could to avoid this...to support both...but simply could not).

 

We are still in the process of converting....my User Services are just beginning to get aggressive on the conversion efforts--having sessions this spring, providing some hand-on help as necessary, etc.

 

One group who really, really did not want to move was the "Office Administration" program (the old secretarial science program). However, the fact that their grads were going to fewer and fewer places who had WordPerfect, or who didn't want Office 2000 helped convince them!

 

 

Institution

Goshen College

Name

Michael Sherer

Title

Director of Information Technology

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

Pre 1997

Rationale?

Note:  If we weren't standardized on MS Office, I would give strong consideration to Star Office, which is free and Open Source. Licensing hassles with Microsoft are a significant negative.  Also its disregard for standards is deeply troubling, since many people create web content using these tools.

 

 

Institution

Linn Benton Community College

Name

Ann Adams

Title

Director, Info Services

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

Both

2b: Office Use?

Both

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

We install either suite but do not do any training on using the product.  We refer people in need of training to our Office Technology dept.  Also, when PowerPoint became so hot for teaching several years ago, we did lots of mini workshops in PowerPoint for faculty.

When?

 

Rationale?

One of the previous writers noted success by not making it a forced change.  I would agree.  (Academic freedom...)

 

 

Institution

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Name

Liz Van Kleeck

Title

Librarian for Academic Computing Support

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

One key is that we didn't take WordPerfect off desktops when we put Word on; but we told all departments that we would not upgrade WordPerfect and they would be expected to use Word within one year.

When?

2000

Rationale?

We started with WordPerfect as our standard, but migrated to Office 2000 this Fall.  We were already using PowerPoint instead of Presentation, partly because it is much more widely used, partly because I never could find any good documentation so I could prepare training.  Also, various parts of our institution were starting to use Access databases.  So it made sense to move to an integrated package.

 

We also moved to Outlook for e-mail, and the Systems Director offered required 3-hour sessions for all employees before they started using it.  The Library will offer basic training in Word very soon.  One key is that we didn't take WordPerfect off desktops when we put Word on; but we told all departments that we would not upgrade WordPerfect and they would be expected to use Word within one year.  We do not offer word processing, spreadsheet or database training to employees or students on a regular basis.  We do offer e-mail and Web training throughout the year.

 

 

Institution

Middlesex City College

Name

Neil S. Sachnoff

Title

Executive Director - IT

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

Only MS Office

3b: Support Offered?

Hands on instructor led Training and phone support

When?

1998

Rationale?

Rationale: Limited resources to provide a lot of support, standard makes it a lot easier. Many students already coming in using MS Office vs any other suite. MS Office has won the mass market battle.

 

 

Institution Montemorelos University
Name Jon Nash

Title

CIO / Director of Information Systems

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

A number of people use Word Perfect

3b: Support Offered?

Annual or bi-annual classes for MS Office.

Student classes

When?

1996

Rationale?

 

   

Institution

Nipissing University

Name

Ken Maharaj

Title

Director Technology Services

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1997

Rationale?

We are unable to provide adequate technical support for two suites that do the same thing, so we use the one that our graduates are more likely to encounter in an employment situation.

 

 

Institution

Pacific Union College

Name

Buddy Ward

Title

Director ITSS

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

No

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1996

Rationale?

 

 

 

Institution

Philadelphia University

Name

Neal Van Eck

Title

Executive Director IT

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1996

Rationale?

 

 

 

Institution

Point Park College

Name

Leslie Kaufman

Title

Director, Computer Center

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

Pre 1995?

Rationale?

In my previous position at another institution, we migrated from WP to Word.

 

It wasn't too difficult, but it does involve a lot of training and support.

 

The one major feature that your users will hate to give up is Reveal Codes.  Word has a feature which is supposed to eliminate the need for RC, but it really isn't an adequate substitute.  Just be prepared for many questions about removing formatting options since the users will not be able to see the codes associated with such options.

 

 

Institution

Saint Mary's College

Name

Joel Cooper

Title

Director of IT

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

Both

2b: Office Use?

Both

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

Software licensing, installation, and support

When?

Pre-1995

Rationale?

Getting the Office suite in was partly driven by the declining fortunes of Corel, partly by the ability of the Office suite to integrate very nicely with Banner (which we are just finishing implementing), and partly because Office is the tool of choice in the larger world and we need to be graduating students who have the "right" software tools listed on resumes.  While we currently support both, we have also started talking about sunsetting Corel.  We haven't done the forced march, so we actually have areas using both at this point.  IT is doing training on the MS suite, and actually the Banner integration is driving migration away from Corel.  I anticipate that the problem will solve itself within a couple years.

 

 

Institution

St. Norbert College

Name

John Beck

Title

Director, Computer Services

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

We provide minimal support for Corel: primarily WordPerfect.

When?

1997

Rationale?

Our experience was similar to that of Mike Honeycutt and David Lassner.  We converted because of instructional needs: our Business folk had texts that were Office-dependent.  We also had the same concerns about the longevity of WordPerfect (3 corporate owners in 3 years, lousy upgrades) and an appreciation of the de facto standard that MS Office had become (when was the last time you got an email attachment with a WordPerfect document or a Quattro Pro spreadsheet?).

 

Our approach was to stop updating WordPerfect (our last supported, distributed version is 6.1a) and to provide workshops on MS Office, as well as workshops to convert.  We have some die-hards still using old versions of WP (in a few cases, old DOS versions!).  We had a couple of faculty object for instructional reasons.  We acquired WP v. 9 for them to test and the objections pretty much died out - it's no longer that different than Office.

 

 

Institution

The Sage Colleges

Name

Deirdre Zarrillo

Title

CIO

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

We gave users a full year to transition from Corel to Office. Most moved willingly. We told users that we could not provide support for desktops with both sets of programs running and that purchasing would no longer process POs for any of the Corel products. We still run into the occasional WordPerfect icon when providing desktop support. However, we had full support from the senior administration which helped tremendously.

When?

1998

Rationale?

 

 

 

Institution

United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH

Name

Cam Howard

Title

Director of Digital Instructional Design

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

No

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1998

Rationale?

At United (Dayton) we standardized on the Microsoft Office suite of software in 1998 when we purchased computers for the faculty with the first Lilly Grant, and for staff when a bequest enabled us to purchase new computers for them.

 

Previous to that, some staff and faculty were using WordPerfect. Most have made the transition to Word with the help of training. One faculty person still prefers WordPerfect but uses Word when necessary. One staff person is fluent in both. I've not heard from faculty that publishers prefer WordPerfect.

 

We do not provide WordPerfect software or any training or support  for it (or any of the Corel package).

 

We DO provide training and support for each component of the Office 2000 suite (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, Explorer) for all faculty and staff who request it.

 

If you do make a transition, some of the most common frustrations I hear from WordPerfect users as they begin to use Word are:

  1. Word does not have a true "reveal codes" function where the user can see all the font, formatting, line spacing, etc. codes and edit them as WordPerfect does.

  2. The default installation of Word has a number of auto correct and auto formatting features that drive some people crazy until they are turned off because the program is making decisions for them.

  3. Some users say it's easier to insert Greek language characters in WordPerfect than in Word (although this may be a matter of familiarity with the process).

 

If you have a good size IT and help desk staff, then supporting both Office and Corel suites would probably be workable. With a small staff, it becomes more difficult.

   
Institution University of Dubuque
Name Laura Grandgenett
Title Chief Technology Officer

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes
1b: Office Std? Yes
2a: Teaching Use? MS Office
2b: Office Use? MS Office
3a: Support Both? NO.  Only MS Office.
3b: Support Offered? All levels except home systems.  A few (very few) departments insist on using Corel but we provide minimal assistance any problems they have with it.
When? 1997
Rationale? See Technology Policies Approved 1999
   

Institution

University of Hawaii

Name

David Lassner

Title

Director of Information Technology

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

 

Rationale?

Similar approach here.  We also offered a "Word for WordPerfect Users" hands-on session as part of the annual Clerical Association Workshop which helped relieve secretaries that it might not be the end of the world.

 

 

Institution

University of New Brunswick, Canada

Name

Janice El-bayoumi

Title

Manager of Support Services

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

Corel

2b: Office Use?

Corel

3a: Support Both?

not in theory

3b: Support Offered?

training, technical follow-up, help desk support for general questions, standard application development (forms etc)

When?

1995

Rationale?

Try http://www.unb.ca/csd/about/report.html for 2000 Site License Report.  We are thinking of making the move to MS Office also.  Please copy me in your summary as I am not on the list.

 

 

Institution

University of North Carolina at Asheville

Name

Mike Honeycutt

Title

Coordinator, Academic Computing

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

Yes

3b: Support Offered?

Many of the hard-core WordPerfect users continue to use WordPerfect and while we continue to help them if they call, we seldom receive calls from them since they are advanced users for the most part.

When?

1998

Rationale?

We "suggested" the campus departments move from WordPerfect to Microsoft Office about two years ago.  This was not very painful for us since lots of people were already using Excel and PowerPoint and only used WordPerfect for word processing.  We encouraged the move by explaining the reasons we needed to move (Corel financial troubles, lots of Office email attachments from off-campus, etc.) and by offering fewer and fewer workshops on WordPerfect.

 

The end result was many people switched and haven't looked back.  Many of the hard-core WordPerfect users continue to use WordPerfect and while we continue to help them if they call, we seldom receive calls from them since they are advanced users for the most part.

 

I think the switch was successful because we didn't force departments to change.

 

 

Institution

University of Texas at San Antonio

Name

Jeff Noyes

Title

CIO & AVP IT

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

No (at least not publicly. We still have a few hold-out WordPerfect users.)

3b: Support Offered?

Full support to MS Office and very minimal support for WordPerfect

When?

1998

Rationale?

Our reason was financial. Our System office purchased a System-wide site license for the MS Office suite, so we get unlimited copies at no charge.  This made the standardization pretty easy.

 

 

Institution

Valparaiso University

Name

J. Michael Yohe

Title

Executive Director, Electronic Information Services

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

We will try to help those who use other products if time and expertise are available.  Users of standard products get priority.

When?

1994

Rationale?

Cost and market share.  When we get a chance, we'll look at Sun StarOffice.  The price (at the moment) is right.  Supposedly, it will read/write MS Office docs.

 

 

Institution

Venezuela Adventist University (IUNAV)

Name

Siegwart E. Mayr

Title

IT Coordinator

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

 

3b: Support Offered?

As a de facto since in Venezuela Microsoft rules in PC software tools.

When?

1997

Rationale?

We have tried to implement other office suites (Corel, StarOffice) with little success.  MS Office has become  the industry standard here.  Basically we have to consider that students need to graduate and be prepared for what the job market expects them to know.  Here, knowledge of Microsoft products is almost a requirement.  As to employees, we have little choice because they don't know or don't want to learn another office suite to do their daily work.

 

 

Institution

Villanova University

Name

Karin Steinbrenner

Title

Executive Director UNIT

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

No, after a two and one half year transition period

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

 

Rationale?

Here is a different experience:

 

To better support our users, one of our IT committees prepared a proposal to switch to MS over a two year time frame. This proposal was approved by all IT committees (4) and widely publicized. The central IT organization offered extensive training during these two years on how to switch from Corel to MS Office.

 

When we announced this fall, that our support staff will discontinue support after a two and one half year transition period, a few 'experts' stated that they will never give up Corel, that the change was forced on them and they brought the issue to the attention of the University Senate. I haven't heard anything for a while, so maybe it died there.

   

Institution

Wabash College

Name

William Doemel

Title

Coordinator, Center for Academic Enrichment

1a: Teaching Std?

Yes

1b: Office Std?

Yes

2a: Teaching Use?

MS Office

2b: Office Use?

MS Office

3a: Support Both?

We indicated we would not be upgrading or maintaining WordPerfect products

3b: Support Offered?

 

When?

1997

Rationale?

We faced this choice, or non-choice in 1996-97. I say non-choice because our faculty expect to be able to read student documents created on any platform with ease. We discovered that most students (95%) with Microsoft Office installed on their own computers and were unwilling to invest in and learn a second word processing program. Also, ALL new faculty were arriving on campus expecting to use the Microsoft suite.

 

While there may debate about Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect, there is no debate on the Microsoft Office suite and the Corel suite, if it can even be called a suite. PowerPoint, Excel and Acess change the dynamic completely so that only Microsoft makes any sense. So, in the Spring, 1997, we began the switch to Microsoft Word. We had training during the summer. We did not force faculty to switch but indicated that we would not be upgrading or maintaining WordPerfect products.

 

I also note that Corel withdrew their booth from the EduCause Conference. While I read that there is a resurgence in Corel sales of WordPerfect, I question if it is in Education. Also, I hear that they are promising to upgrade their Mac offerings but they are more than 2 releases behind Microsoft already and it is not clear that they have maintained a Mac presence. Microsoft, on the other hand, has just released Microsoft Office 2001 with many new integrated features.

 

We recently signed a contract with Microsoft for a Campus-wide license for the software which now provides all of their products on all College-owned machines for about $48/yr/FTE. This includes Office, clients for servers, FrontPage, and upgrades to operating systems.

 

Created: Tuesday, December 12, 2000 10:01 AM

Last modified: Thursday, December 14, 2000 09:20:04 PM