news The University of Newcastle (UON) this week said it would roll out Microsoft Windows 10 to around 10,000 devices across its campuses by the end of 2016.
When the process is complete, it will be the first university in the world to roll out Windows 10 universally, the university said in a statement issued by Microsoft on the sidelines of the company’s Ignite conference on the Gold Coast this week.
The move is part of the UON’s digital strategy aiming to put it on track to be ranked amongst the top 200 universities globally.
Ann Walters, Associate Director for IT Client Services said the UON is committed to positioning itself as a world leader, instead of taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to digital transformation.
“At UON, we have the opportunity to make great strides over the next five years, and we’re looking forward to leveraging Windows 10 to provide the best possible learning environment for our students,” she said.
The decision to upgrade to Windows 10 was made following a pilot of the new operating system on 200 devices across the university. Walters said that the move was a “natural step” in driving greater collaboration across its different campuses, and that the Windows deployment is “just the start of what’s to come”.
“With 40,000 students and campuses stretching from Sydney to Tamworth and all the way to Singapore, having the best technology to enable collaboration and innovation is critical in driving productivity for both staff and students,” Walters said.
The university plans on having 3,000 devices for student use running Windows 10 by the start of the 2016 university year and the remaining 7,000 devices before the end of next year for staff.
The university has also migrated to Microsoft Office 365. UON students have OneDrive with one terabyte of storage per student, as well as free downloads of Office under Microsoft’s Office 365 ProPlus Benefit. Staff are also piloting Skype for Business and SharePoint Online as the staff collaboration tool – with hope that the tool will replace a number of the University’s legacy communication systems in the long term.
“We moved to Office 365 as we saw a tremendous opportunity to enable our staff to collaborate both nationally and internationally,” said Walters. “We see this increased collaboration as a way to accelerate their research efforts, something that is very important to us here. Research sits at the heart of any university, therefore it’s critical that we enable our researchers with the right tools to take us one step closer to achieving the ambitious goals we’ve set for UON.”
Evan Williams, Windows Business Group Lead at Microsoft Australia, said Windows delivers learning experiences integrating both pen and touch that create “great education outcomes”.
“The University of Newcastle is set to achieve great things through its digital strategy,” he said. “By optimising 21st century skills with Windows 10 and cloud solutions, UON is in a great place to lead a highly competitive industry.”
Delimiter attended the Ignite conference on the Gold Coast this week as a guest of Microsoft.