Corel Provides "Perfect" Solution for Utah College Students

Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, traces its roots to that state's rich pioneer heritage. Since its establishment in 1875 as a primary school, the private institution has grown to serve nearly 27,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students. These days, most students come to campus having at least some familiarity with word processors and other application software. Depending on when and where they went to school, these enrollees may have learned to use any number of packages, ranging from Microsoft Word to Claris FileMaker Pro. One Integrated Package Trying to remember the long lists of commands associated with each program can often be as much of a challenge as completing the assignment itself. Luckily, once they arrive at BYU, students have the option of working with one integrated package for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more. Corel Corp. (Ottawa, Canada), which acquired WordPerfect Corp. from Novell in early 1996, recently agreed to provide educational institutions in Utah free copies of the Corel WordPerfect Suite, which combines the WordPerfect word processor with a spreadsheet, presentation software and other utilities. BYU has long enjoyed a close relationship with WordPerfect's publishers. Alan Ashton, one of WordPerfect Corp.'s founders, taught a computer science course at the university, and the firm's corporate offices were located nearby in Orem, Utah. The company also collaborated with faculty for product testing and evaluations, and offered students employment opportunities. As a result, WordPerfect established itself as the leading application product on campus, while many staff and students acquired their own copies of the software for off-campus use. Because faculty are familiar with the product, they have realistic expectations for standards of submission on student assignments. Of course, computing personnel benefit from this situation as well. Instead of relying on a centralized computing services office, BYU supports its many colleges and departments with Computing Support Representatives (CSRs), whose responsibilities include keeping the machines and software packages running smoothly and efficiently. Significant Savings The CSRs manage about 100 file servers with products for all platforms including DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Macintosh, UNIX and OS/2. Offering the WordPerfect software for free translates into significant budgetary savings for the respective colleges and departments. According to Jonell Pinales, a business support specialist for BYU's computing services, the Corel-WordPerfect marriage brought renewed confidence to CSRs, who had heard rumors of a merger for some time. Corel's release of a new WordPerfect Suite last spring especially demonstrated that firm's commitment to the product line, Pinales says. She notes that BYU's Humanities College has taken full advantage of the applications for foreign language instruction. Corel ships its products in over 17 languages, several of which are taught in the college. Besides WordPerfect, the Corel WordPerfect Suite includes Corel Quattro, a spreadsheet; Corel Presentations, for presentation graphics; CorelFLOW, for business graphics; Sidekick, a personal information manager; plus productivity tools, clip-art and fonts. In addition, Corel sponsors a premiere Academic Program through which educators can purchase volume licensing without a contract. Larger institutions may opt for a faculty-only subscription, a contractual program that entitles faculty and staff to use the Corel WordPerfect Suite on campus, or a campus-wide subscription, which adds off-campus privileges. An Online Forum Furthermore, an Education Forum provides Corel-certified instructors, training partners and authorized academic resellers with access to a password-protected Web site where they can privately exchange information and ideas with peers and company representatives. Pinales expects that Corel's free software offer will benefit Utah's K-12 students, whether or not they plan to pursue higher education in that state, by improving their computer literacy. The WordPerfect Suite also simplifies connecting to the Internet by integrating Netscape Navigator and AT&T WorldNet Service software. "This will provide a long-term educational benefit to all of Utah's students."

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.