TAFE SA latest for cloud email

South Australia's network of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges has revealed itself as the latest education institution to plan a move to hosted email solution for staff and students.

update South Australia's network of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges has revealed itself as the latest education institution to plan a move to hosted email solution for staff and students.

In tender documents this week, the state's Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, which oversees the TAFE network, specified it wanted to procure a cloud computing-based solution to provide email, calendaring and some collaboration functions to staff and students. TAFE SA provides services to around 80,000 students each year, and needs up to 100,000 mailboxes when staff are taken into account.

The department's move follows similar initiatives by other education departments and universities around the nation. Just last week Western Australia's Central TAFE picked Microsoft's hosted Live@edu platform for its 15,000 students.

The Universities of Queensland, New South Wales and Sydney, the Australian Catholic University, Victoria University and the Queensland University of Technology have all similarly gone with Live@edu, while others such as Macquarie University, the Universities of Adelaide and Auckland and the NSW Department of Education and Training have all picked the rival Gmail solution from Google.

The tender documents for the TAFE SA solution specified the department was looking for a solution for at least the next three years, with possible extensions. Users of the system would need to be able to send attachments of up to 20MB, and have a mailbox capacity of at least 7GB each.

The department also specified it required the solution to be capable of providing blogging functionality, along with the ability to publish photos, facilitate video-conferencing, allocate online file storage up to a minimum of 5GB, and provide a collaborative workspace for students to be able to work together in teams.

In addition, students must be able to view documents directly within their web browser. And the department has required the solution provide word processing and spreadsheet capability that can interoperate with Microsoft Office. Supported email protocols must include the IMAP and POP standards, as well as Apple's iCal calendar application.

The department specified that no advertisements must be displayed within the solution, and it must be able to brand the web presence of the solution using TAFE SA logos.

The department is planning to start rolling out the solution in early 2010.

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