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What is Microsoft Office 365?

Monday, June 5th, 2017

What is the cloud?

Cloud services is a broad description for IT services provided over the internet. Your services aren’t hosted on your system at work or home, but it’s located and managed remotely. Many services today use the Cloud, for example some e-mail services (e.g. Gmail), data storage (e.g. Dropbox) or photo storage (e.g. Flickr) Because it is is located online or ‘in the cloud’, you can access it from virtually anywhere on any device as long as you have an Internet connection. More articles on the cloud.

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Office 365 is an online, cloud-based application of the Microsoft Office products, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access (Publisher and Access are available on PC only) available to staff and students with an active role. 

What do I get?

  • Five downloadable versions of Office365 for personal devices, for example, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This does NOT include asset number devices. 
    IMPORTANT: For the versions to stay active you must be an active staff member or student of the university. Licenses of the downloadable versions have to be refreshed on a monthly basis, otherwise it will stop working.
  • Mail: 50 GB mailbox in the cloud
  • Access to Microsoft Office365 online apps from any computer connected to the internet.
  • Calendar: online calendar
  • Word: online to access from any computer
  • Excel:  online to access from any computer
  • PowerPoint: online to access from any computer
  • People: online contacts
  • Planner: organise tasks and teamwork
  • OneDrive: 5TB online storage
  • Teams: collaboration
  • OneNote: digital notebook
  • Class Notebook: OneNote for classrooms
  • Sway: Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more.
  • Forms: build survey forms and easily share them with students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Tasks: schedule tasks
  • Video: scalable, easy-to-use portal for uploading and sharing your corporate videos.
  • SharePoint: online storage and sharing of files
  • Yammer: collaboration tool that helps you and your teams stay on top of it all. Start conversations, work together on files, and organise around projects.

What is the difference between the cloud and your PC?

After moving to the cloud you will have both data locally on your PC, on the network (G and H: drives), but you will also have data on the cloud. The same goes for your applications. You will be able to have some applications locally on your PC, while others will be cloud-based. Data on the cloud will be the primary source, while the copies on your PC and network drives are synced versions.

The same applies to your Office365 applications. For this reason, it’s important that you keep track of where you save your data. 

IMPORTANT: SU copyright agreements do not extend to storing and sharing of documents protected under the copyright law on OneDrive for business, SharePoint online or any other public store spaces.

What are the advantages of cloud services? 

  • More storage space available, up to 5TB on OneDrive and 50GB on Outlook.
  • Your data is available from anywhere, anytime, on any device. You’ll always have access to your data if you have an internet connection.
  • Your information is also safely stored, even if you lose one of your devices.  

What are the disadvantages of cloud services?  

  • Familiarise yourself with copyright regulations. Make sure you know what you are allowed to store and share online.  SU copyright agreements do not extend to storing of documents protected under the copyright law on OneDrive for business or any other public store space.
  • You are entirely responsible for your own information. Be careful who you give rights and access to, as it will compromise your information if it’s visible to other people.
  • You are responsible for synchronisation between online and local data. Synchronisation between online and local information needs to be set up correctly and done on a regular basis.
  • Keep in mind that access to cloud services when on campus will not incur any costs, but if you work from home your own data will be utilised.
  • It is very important that you keep your private usernames, passwords and information separate from your official work, to prevent your data from getting mixed up.
  • Having access to the cloud from any computer makes your digital identification vulnerable, do not use computers you do not trust to access your cloud services.

What if I have been using OneDrive personal, Dropbox and other cloud storage options? 

You can keep on using them, but it is very important that you only use these storage options for your personal data.

OneDrive for business and SharePoint online is available under of the US MS Licence agreement for storage and sharing of institutional data. The storage and sharing of institutional data are not allowed on Dropbox, OneDrive personal or any other cloud storage. IMPORTANT: SU copyright agreements do not extend to storing and sharing of documents protected under the copyright law on OneDrive for business, SharePoint online or any other public store spaces.

What is the difference between the storage options?  
















You (private)

You (business)

Teamsite owner, moderator (business)

You (private)

You (private)



Personal files
(photos of your pet, last holiday, etc.)

Work files
(e.g. Word or Excel docs, PDF’s, etc.)

Your teams’ collabrative files, big data files, etc.

Personal files
photos of your pet, last holiday etc.)

Personal files (photos of your pet, last holiday etc.)



5GB (more if you created an account before Feb’16)


Limited by your imagination or work needs.

First 5GB free, then pay as you need.

First 15GB free, then pay as you need.



Yes, similar to Google Drive or DropBox.

Yes. You manage the share (security) of file/folder. Simple versioning.

Yes, team collab space; managed by moderators. Most granular and secure.

Yes, very simple.

Yes, very simple.


Do I still have to back up my data if it’s stored in the cloud?

Yes, it’s always beneficial to have more than one backup of your data, preferably in different locations.



New SUNLearn mobile app available for download

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Information Technology has developed a new SUNLearn mobile app which is now available for download. The app can be downloaded for Android, as well as iOS devices. It can also be downloaded by scanning the QR code to the right.  

SUNLearn is Stellenbosch University’s blended-learning platform. It is an open source, powerful, flexible and mobile-ready blended learning platform for learning and teaching. The system is easy to learn and use for both staff and students and an extensive user guide is also available. 

The SUNLearn mobile app can be used to:

– browse the content of your courses, even when offline,
– receive instant notifications of messages and other events,
– quickly find and contact other people in your courses,
– upload images, audio, videos and other files from your mobile device,
– view your course grades, etc.

Full features can be seen here.

Students who are new to the system can go to the Student training link where they will find various resources, videos and self-help guides. Keep in mind that when you use the SUNLearn mobile app on campus via Maties WiFi or the network, you will not be charged for any data and you will not need Inetkey for access.

The SUNLearn support team can be reached at or 021-808 2222.

Calling all reluctant designers

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Whether you are a professional, aspiring or reluctant designer, occasionally you have to rustle up a poster, flyer, ad or some form of graphic representation.

Canva an Australian company, was founded in 2012 to easily create graphic designs for whatever purpose.

The web site rapidly became popular, with more than 750,000 users in its first year. It currently has over 10 million users across 179 countries. It’s also considered to be one of the easiest graphic design platforms available at the moment. 

Canva is considered to be one of the easiest (according to some THE easiest) graphic design platforms currently available. One of the biggest challenges with graphic design is learning to use software like Adobe Photoshop, a fairly complicated programme. Canva eliminates this learning process and doesn’t expect you to be an expert designer to use it. How is this possible?

One way with which Canva simplifies the design process is by using an easy, intuitive drag and drop system which makes adding, removing, and editing elements extremely easy. You can choose between 11 available templates or customise your document from scratch. It also provides over 8,000 free and paid layouts.

Additionally, it offers a free photo editing tool, colour palette generator, and font combination tool, along with a database of over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. Many of the images are for the Premium package, which will cost you $1 per image, but you can easily upload and use your own images.

All these tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. Canva is free for individuals, but also offers a ‘Team’ tier at $12.45/month,


Good news for MATLAB fans

Monday, April 24th, 2017

MATLAB and Simulink are fundamental computational tools used at educational institutions worldwide. More than 500 universities have instituted a Total Academic Headcount (TAH) site license, including one-third of the top 300 universities worldwide and 23 of the top 25 universities.

Today, MATLAB and Simulink are an integral part of the curriculum at the SUN. The tools are used for teaching and research across several academic disciplines such as Geography, Agriculture, Economics, Biology, Informatics, Psychology, Math, Statistics and Physics, in addition to the engineering disciplines. The university provides lab room access via 8 different classroom licenses servers to be used by students on university owned machines. Researcher access is provided by a number of installs: 6 network servers provide 35 concurrent users, 8 group licenses with 79 users and 35 individual licenses.

Students who use MATLAB and Simulink establish a foundation for learning that serves them through their university years and prepares them for careers in engineering but also in areas such as biology, science, finance, and math. Faculty employ MATLAB and Simulink to engage students in coursework and research by providing a flexible environment for teaching, applying algorithms and models, and exploring data. Students can apply theory to real-world problems within a broad range of student- oriented research much in line with the big trends towards active learning i.e. PBL and CDIO.

Stellenbosch University has a Total Academic Headcount (TAH) license for MATLAB, Simulink, and add-on products. Faculty, researchers, and students may use these products for teaching, research, and learning. The license allows individuals to install the products on university-owned equipment, as well as personally owned computers.

To obtain an individual license for laptops and home PC’s:

Option 1 – On campus download – Click here for instructions.
Option 2 – Off campus download from Mathworks Website. Click here for instructions.

Learn About Capabilities and Using the Software

Use the TAH Resource Kit to find tutorials, webinars, teaching materials, books, and more to help you use MATLAB and Simulink. When you access these resources from the resource kit, you bypass registration forms.

Note that your MathWorks account gives you access to FREE online training with theMATLAB Onramp, as well as access to online assignments through Cody Coursework.

Empower Yourself With MathWorks tools

Visit the MathWorks for Education website at
Visit the MathWorks Academy site for FREE online course at


Connect to MATLAB from your iPhone, iPad, or Android

Need Assistance?

[Information supplied by Kirsten Smith, Application Engineering Manager at MATLAB]

Whatsapp scams

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

WhatsApp is a popular communication tool, used by students and personnel every day. On the downside, it provides cyber criminals with another way to convince you to part with your well-earned money and unfortunately it’s usually quite convincing.

WhatsApp scams come in many different forms and are often very convincing. Just make sure that you stay vigilant and don’t fall for anything that seems too good or too worrying to be true. Just because a friend or a family member sends you something, it doesn’t mean that it is safe.

Voucher scams

A message arrives in your WhatsApp from someone who looks like your friend, recommending a deal they’ve found. The messages usually come with a link that actually takes you to another website and tricks you into giving your personal information. Don’t ever click a link you’re not sure of and certainly don’t ever hand over personal information to a website you haven’t checked.

WhatsApp shutting down

There are many fake messages claiming that WhatsApp is going to end unless enough people share a certain message. The messages often look convincing, claiming to come from the CEO or another official. They’re written using the right words and phrases and look like an official statement. Any official statement wouldn’t need users to send it to everyone like a round robin. You would either see it in the news or it’ll come up as a proper notification in the app from the actual WhatsApp team.

WhatsApp threatening to shut down your account

This is very similar to the previous scam. It looks like an official message that claims that people’s WhatsApp accounts are being shut down for being inactive. Sending the message on will prove that it’s actually being used and often instructs people to pass it along.

WhatsApp forcing you to pay

Similar to the previous scam, with the only difference being that the message supposedly exempts you from having to pay for your account – if you send it on to other people.

WhatsApp Gold or WhatsApp Premium

The claim suggests that people pay for or download a special version of WhatsApp, usually called Gold or Premium. It offers a range of exciting-sounding features, like the ability to send more pictures, use new emoji or add extra security features. The problem is that it is far from secure. Downloading the app infects people’s phones with malware that use the phone to send more fake messages at the cost of the original victim.

Emails from WhatsApp

Spam e-mails are bad enough. E-mails plus WhatsApp is even worse. There’s a range of scams out there that send people e-mails that look like they’ve come from WhatsApp, usually looking like a notification for a missed voice call or voicemail. But when you click through, you will end up getting tricked into giving over your information, passphrases etc. Don’t ever click on an e-mail from a questionable sender. WhatsApp doesn’t send you e-mails including information about missed calls or voicemails.

Fake WhatsApp spying apps

Currently, it is not possible to let people spy on other’s conversations on WhatsApp, because it has end-to-end encryption enabled, which ensures that messages can only be read by the phones that send and receive them. These scam apps encourage people to download something that isn’t actually real and force people to pay money for malware, or actually read your chats once they’ve got onto your phone.

Lastly – 

Hopefully, you have  already blocked sharing your WhatsApp details with Facebook (telephone number, name etc. and allowing Facebook to suggest phone contacts as friends) and Facebook will not be able to  make your WhatsApp account accessible to the 13 million South African Facebook users.

There are some details about this controversial policy change by WhatsApp on the following page:






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