In response to more schools and universities banning all in-person and drive-through graduation ceremonies amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft has announced a free limited-time virtual graduation plan for schools, allowing students to celebrate their graduation on Microsoft Teams during the lockdown. The company announced the limited-time offer for the holders of a Microsoft Office 365 A1 faculty license on its Educational blog yesterday, adding that the offer would be only valid until July 1.
"Users with the Microsoft Office 365 A1 faculty license, which is free for educational institutions, will have the ability to host and broadcast Teams live events for a limited time. That means users with A1 faculty licenses can host a virtual graduation, alumni summit, or any live event for up to 20,000 attendees, at no extra cost," the company explained.
To cope with the increasing need to communicate virtually, the software giant has also extended the maximum length of live events to 16 hours, along with the ability to hold 50 concurrent live events through May 2020. Furthermore, Microsoft understands that graduations and celebrations come in various forms. The company suggested a couple of ways you can celebrate your accomplishments:
- Celebrate with photos and videos: Use FlipGrid, PowerPoint or Microsoft Sway for a simple online celebration.
- Create a pre-recorded digital graduation: A pre-recorded event may be ideal if you are not considering a live event or if you’ll have attendees in multiple time zones.
- Host a digital graduation with Microsoft Teams live events: If a live event is preferred, consider incorporating both live and pre-recorded content including speeches by faculty and students, graduate slideshows, and even musical or other artistic performances.
With this virtual graduation opportunity, Microsoft has once again proved that it has students in mind during these unprecedented times. Even though a virtual event may not be as exciting as a physical gathering, it's hopefully a good enough initiative for the thousands of students expected to graduate this year.