Microsoft shares notes with USF campus

USF has been chosen as one of fifty universities nationwide to test drive Microsoft’s new note-taking software OneNote. The software is available for download to all USF students and will operate for a 180-day trial period, after which students have the option of purchasing the software for $49, about half the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

A marketing corporation named Mr. Youth has an account with Microsoft to promote this new product on the USF campus. The company selected USF seniors Ivy Box and Alana Tanksley to serve as campus representatives for the marketing program.

“It’s basically Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Outlook mixed into one with extra added advantages and features. It’s a great program for students to use so they can organize their notes and keep track of their notes,” Box said.

“It has a lot of great applications for the college and student marketplace because it’s really a better way of organizing information, whether it’s note taking or pulling stuff from the Web. Basically you can pull any type of media into it easily so it’s really easy to organize and access,” said Brandon Evans, director of national account services for Mr. Youth.

According to Box, there are many useful aspects of OneNote that could potentially help students without laptops put their information for class in better order.

“If you don’t have a laptop, when you go home you can better organize your notes. This way you can put it on your computer, you can save it, you’ll have it and it will actually save space. It’s also like an educational tool because as you retype your notes, it brings it all back,” Box said.

The program offers clear advantages for students with laptops, but OneNote goes beyond the obvious benefits, Evans said.

“You can also do something that’s called a shared session. So if you’re a student and you have another student that’s in class with their laptop taking notes, you can actually be taking notes on the same page. You can basically be looking at the exact same screen. So if they’re taking notes and you’re taking notes at the same time and they miss something, you can add something in,” Evans said.

OneNote can also help students better prepare for exams and tests with some of its features, Box said.

“You can flag your notes. So if you’re typing your notes and your teacher says, ‘Remember this for the test,’ you can put a flag next to it and (later) you can pull up all your flagged notes and you’ll have an outline for the exam,” Box said.

Although it’s primarily being marketed toward college students, Evans said OneNote also has uses in the realm of business.

“In the business world, I think it’s going to be one of the main applications that people use as far as organizing their daily lives – setting reminders instead of post-its. There’s a million different applications for it as far as managing your daily business life,” Evans said.

The software is available for download at The download process requires that a student choose their school from a list and give a valid e-mail address.

“Our main goal is to try to get the word out to students and to try to get at least 1,000 downloads from our school,” Box said. “I wish I would have known about this earlier, because actually it’s been proven that people who use the program have had better grades. Maybe because they’re always retyping notes or maybe they’re more focused or organized.”