Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that retirees will not be included in the new Buffalo Mail system. The Office of Information Technology was planning on including retirees in the e-mail migration when the story was reported but has since decided not to include them.
The University of Colorado’s Office of Information Technology will be introducing new tools on campus this fall, in hopes of making technology more accessible and learning more convenient.
The department — formerly known as Information Technology Services — will roll out updated email accounts, new online academic tools and expanded Wi-Fi services, among others.
“We’re focusing on things that can improve learning, make the environment and computing easier,” said Marin Stanek, director of communications and support for the office.
The office is hoping to begin the email migration this summer, transferring students and alumni currently on the CU Link system to the new Buffalo Mail — a service hosted through Microsoft Live.
Students will likely start seeing the change a few weeks after classes begin, said Greg Stauffer, manager of public relations and communication for the department.
Besides email, contact storage and calendars, Buffalo Mail will give students access to Microsoft Office tools online, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Stauffer said. There will also be an instant messaging tool with audio and video capabilities, along with 25 gigabytes of online storage.
“It’s really a lot more than just email,” Stauffer said. “These tools can be useful for students after they graduate as well.”
This fall, students will be able to access Buffalo Mail through Wi-Fi on the Buff Bus, which transports students from Williams Village and Bear Creek housing complexes to and from campus.
Wi-Fi was added to the buses this summer, though they don’t run their regular routes until mid-August, said Bryan Flansburg, Director of Transportation Services for CU.
Flansburg said the drivers are already using the Wi-Fi to track passengers’ travel habits, which will help eliminate paper tickets.
Flansburg said he expects the more than one million passengers, who rode the Buff Bus last year, will enjoy the added convenience.
“Students should be able to walk out their front door, get online at the bus stop and stay connected all the way to campus without switching connections,” Stauffer said. “Seamless Wi-Fi is the ideal scenario.”
In the spring, the university adopted a new classroom learning system — used for both online and classroom courses — to replace CU Learn.
The new system, Desire2Learn, will be available to faculty beginning this fall, Stauffer said. CU Learn will be available until the fall of 2012.
This summer CU created a site on iTunes U, where faculty can post multimedia content online. The technology department will continue encouraging faculty and staff to post content to the site, and some students could have course material available by fall.
Campus-wide guest Wi-Fi also launched this summer, allowing visitors internet access without a login or password provided by the university, which was previously required, Stanek said.
“Other campuses have available Wi-Fi where visitors don’t have to jump through hoops to get online,” Stanek said. “It’s just expected to be here and we should have it.”
For more information on the services available on campus visit the Office of Information Technology’s new website, oit.colorado.edu.