By Rebekka Williams – Collegiate Staff
With a majority of businesses using Microsoft Office as their primary office suite, Grand Rapids Community College is working to help students get experience using software they might not be able to easily afford on their own.
Computer Information Systems Professor and Department Chair Luann Keizer said she believes that students should have experience with some form of an office suite program.
“It is vital for students to learn the tool,” Keizer said.
While software prices often exceed what college students can easily afford, GRCC lessens the financial burden on students by offering a free subscription to Office 365, which retails for a market price of $149.99 for a one time download or $9.99/month subscription. GRCC has only been offering this for a little over a year, according to David Anderson, chief information officer at GRCC’s Information Technology (IT) department. “It is something we were very excited to provide”
“Before this was an option, I used to push students towards Open Office as an alternative office suite software, which is available free” Keizer said. “Most fields a student will be involved in will be using Microsoft Office in particular, just because that is the business standard.”
Google Drive, a tool accessed by many students at GRCC through their student email address, is a cloud-based office suite. Their word processor, Google Docs offers real time collaboration methods, while their other programs, like Google Slides and Google Sheets, are not as versatile as Microsoft’s Powerpoint or Excel because of the lack of customization available. Microsoft Office 16 now has its own collaborative feature similar to Google Docs which can link up with Word Online.
“There comes a point when it’s a matter of personal preference,” Keizer said, about the two programs.
All students have access to Google Drive through their student email address, and students may access the free download of Microsoft Office 365 here by submitting their GRCC email address. An email is sent shortly after linking to the download page. For anyone requiring assistance with accessing the software, contact the IT department by phone, 616-234-HELP (4357), or via email.