As the 'March of the Cloud' continues, it changes lots of things:

  • It changes the jobs that IT people do in schools, TAFEs and Universities, because most of the basic IT infrastructure just sits there in a cloud data centre, and you switch it on;
  • It changes the costs of introducing new IT services, because the usual barrier, a big up-front capital cost for servers, goes away and is replaced by a pay-for-use subscription;
  • It changes where your storage is, and how much bandwidth is needed - because your data is stored out in the cloud;
  • And it changes your development practices.

Over the last few years, as education has adopted Live@edu, and education email has moved to the cloud, these changes have been visible. But it's been on a small part of the network infrastructure. Over the next 2-3 years that impact is going to grow, as services like Office 365 come in and supplement or even replace some of the other parts of your IT infrastructure (when it's fully here, Office 365 will deliver Exchange, SharePoint and Lync as a service in the Cloud).

One of the first groups of people to need to know how to manage this change are your developers - because as they develop applications for your users, they'll need to know how to develop these applications for a Cloud service. The good news is that Cloud services aren't all closed - you can develop applications which work to supplement these core Cloud services - whilst there's a different methodology to development, it still uses the same tools that developers use today - like Visual Studio and Silverlight.

So if you're a developer, or you've got developers in your organisation, there's a set of training resources that are really useful:

Office 365 Developer Training Course

The Office 365 Training Course contains developer focused presentations, self-paced labs and links to key resources to help you build solutions that use SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. In Office 365, SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010 and Lync Server 2010 are hosted in Microsoft cloud datacentres, so using this course, you’ll learn how to build collaborative and communication focused cloud solutions that run in Office 365 using Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework.

The course is available as a complete offline download, and the modules include:

Developing in the Cloud with Office 365
which gives you an overview of the tools

Developing for SharePoint Online with Sandbox Solutions
which will enable you to develop and test, without affecting your live environment

Building Workflow Solutions for SharePoint Online
for things like 'allow students to submit assignments, and send them to the right teacher'

Developing SharePoint Online Solutions with the Client Object Model
which gives you the chance to build scenarios like 'this student didn't turn up for the lecture, so send them a customised email'

Leveraging Excel and Access Services in SharePoint Online
to allow you to link back-end databases to your front-end systems, for example for student learning reports

Developing Communication Solutions for Lync Online
for doing things like 'click to chat with a homework helper' to be built into your learning management system

Developing Messaging Solutions for Exchange Online
to allow you to create links, eg link to a teacher's calendar so that you can show when their next free period is

Learn MoreFind out more about the free Office 365 Developer Training Course materials