University of Pennsylvania Launches Communications Suite

The University of Pennsylvania is launching a service for its students called "Penn Live." The aim of the program is to provide communications tools for students, such as e-mail, blogging, and photo sharing.

Penn Live is designed for students in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School--about 13,000 out of Penn's total of 20,000 students. The university is partnering with Microsoft to develop Penn Live, which is based on a custom version of Windows Live.

Said Ramin Sedehi, vice dean for finance and administration at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Arts and Sciences: "This is really all about our students. We listened to what they had to say, and we were guided in our decisions by a student advisory board that evaluated different options. We’re excited that now we have identified a partner who can help us deliver on our vision for a state of the art communications platform."

Some of the features of Penn Live include:
  • 2 GB of e-mail storage;
  • Support for offline and mobile e-mail access (offline access provided through the use of a beta version of Windows Live Mail Desktop);
  • Access to RSS feeds;
  • Web calendaring;
  • Blogging;
  • Contact management;
  • Photo sharing;
  • Instant messaging; and
  • Access to Microsoft's version of MySpace, called Microsoft Live Spaces.
Students will be able to access their e-mail accounts even after they graduate, as long as they log in at least once a year.

Penn Live is slated to launch this fall.

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David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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