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July, 2011 - Education - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The Australian Education Blog
Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

July, 2011

  • Education

    Ten of the best - SharePoint University websites


    After the list of school websites built on SharePoint from earlier in the week, here’s another handy (and subjective!) list of Ten University SharePoint websites. These websites are all public facing, and by building them on SharePoint, it means the universities can manage the content in exactly the same way as they manage their other resources - and use SharePoint’s workflow to manage the publishing process. But enough of the SharePoint Content Management story - let’s get down to the pictures:

    Click on any of the images to link to the live website

    1. Northern State University, USA
      Northern State University website

    2. Saïd Business School – University of Oxford, UK 
      Saïd Business School – University of Oxford

    3. Coventry University, UK 
      Coventry University

    4. University College London Hospitals, UK 
      University College London Hospitals

    5. Harvard Business School Executive Education, USA 
      Harvard Business School Executive Education

    6. Furman University, USA 
      Furman University

    7. University of Wales, Newport, UK
      University of Wales

    8. The University of Colorado Denver Business School, USA 
      University of Colorado

    9. Chalmers University, Sweden
      Chalmers University

    10. Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School, USA

    Learn MoreDownload the PowerPoint versions of Top 10 University SharePoint websites

  • Education

    Training resources for moving education to the Cloud - the Microsoft Partner Network



    There’s a new set of Cloud resources on the Microsoft Partner Network to help education partners plan their business strategy as they move to the Cloud. They include an overview of the strategic decisions that partners and customers face, along with customer case studies of early adopters.

    These resources focus on Windows Azure, which means it will be most useful to independent software developers considering strategies for application migrations, and systems integrators who provide infrastructure services for education establishments.

    Note, you’ll need your Live ID login to view these resources

    Migrating Education applications to the Cloud

    The Introduction Guide ‘Connect to the Cloud: Targeting Public Sector Applications for Windows Azure’ is the place to start, as it includes an analysis of the typical costs for migrating applications into the Cloud (whether this is your own, or customers’ applications), and also addresses some of the key data security, privacy and sovereignty issues (and strategies for managing these issues through private and public clouds), and then goes on to describe some of the likely priority scenarios that you might consider for using the Windows Azure cloud:

    • Custom application development
    • Database migration, to increase their availability
    • Extending SharePoint into the public Cloud
    • Building highly-scalable web sites
    • Developing applications for devices and mobile users
    • Scaling social media marketing campaigns

    Interactive Cloud training for Public Sector Partners

    There are four separate training modules available, or you can use the link at the bottom for the home page for all of the courses.

    • Getting Started with the Cloud for Public Sector Partners
      Appropriate for managers and sales roles, this course clarifies cloud computing terminology, provides a graphic structure of Microsoft Cloud Services offerings and key differentiators, and highlights how cloud services address Public Sector industry needs. It looks at Public Sector business opportunities available to partners, and also addresses the approach to data privacy, data security, and data sovereignty of particular interest to Public Sector customers.
    • Microsoft Software as a Service (SaaS) Solutions for Public Sector Partners
      This course introduces the key Microsoft SaaS solutions, including the Office 365, Windows Intune, and the partner-hosted Information Worker solutions. Sample solutions aligned to Microsoft’s industry solution areas are shown, as well as successful case studies along with steps and resources for building specific solution expertise.
    • Microsoft Platform as a Service (PaaS) Solutions for Public Sector Customers
      This course introduces the key Microsoft PaaS solutions, including the Windows Azure platform and CRM. It also looks at Windows Azure middleware solutions and successful deployment examples. The course also includes steps and resources for building specific solution expertise.
    • Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Solutions for Public Sector Customers
      This course introduces the Microsoft Hyper-V™ Cloud, including the unique features and competitive advantages; the advantages it provides related to data privacy, data security, and data sovereignty for Public Sector customers; and successful deployment examples for both customers and partners. This course also includes steps and resources for building private cloud expertise

    Learn MoreAccess the home page for Cloud Online Courses for Public Sector Partners

  • Education

    Desire2Learn talk about learning analytics and student mobility


    Microsoft WPC logo

    We’ve just finished the Microsoft World Partner Conference in Los Angeles, which included handing over the Worldwide Education Partner of the Year Award to Desire2Learn for their Learning Management System. The Desire2Learn solution covers a wide range of areas - including learning management, analytics, supporting mobile users and lecture capture.

    Anthony Salcito, the Vice President for Microsoft Education, recorded a short video interview with Jeremy Auger, Desire2Learn’s Chief Operating Officer, to talk a little about the more recent parts of their education learning management system.

    Desire2Learn’s Jeremy Auger talks with Anthony Salcito of Microsoft

    Learn MoreLearn more about Desire2Learn

  • Education

    Microsoft Australia University newsletter



    The Australian Education team at Microsoft includes a Higher Education Account team - a group that looks after all of our university customers across the country.

    Each quarter, they circulate a newsletter, Ozmosis, which contains relevant news on a range of subjects.

    The next edition is due to be coming up soon, so it’s timely to mention that you can email Lucy Segal to be added to the circulation list.

    The February  2011 newsletter contained a range of items, including: Kinect; special student deals of laptops, Microsoft certifications and Office software; information on the BizSpark programme for student entrepreneurs; case studies; and information on using the Microsoft Cloud services for university research.

    If you’re interested in seeing what’s gone out before, here are the links to the back issues:

    Email Lucy to subscribe

  • Education

    Why is the Cloud so important to software developers?


    Imagine you’re a big IT supplier. You build a successful business by being responsive to your customers, and giving them what they need. If the customer is a big one, then normally their budget is too. And so, their list of requirements is big too. Which means that when they want to do IT projects, they are normally big ones. And you have all the expertise needed to give them advice, support, consultancy, implementation and deployment.

    Someone's nibbling my pieThen along comes the Cloud. It means that small companies can offer a very specific service - not a big IT system - to one of your customers. And instead of buying a big computer system to do everything that they can imagine, they buy a service to deliver a small part of their overall IT service. At first, it’s only a small nibble from a big IT pie. But over time, the nibble can become a bite. And eventually some of the pie disappears.

    And it’s a good thing for the customer - they can solve business problems with speedier and more targeted solutions and quicker procurement.

    Of course, it’s already happening today…

    At the Microsoft World Partner Conference, Janison were finalists in the Education Partner of the Year Awards.

    A small Coffs Harbour company was sandwiched between two global giants - Desire2Learn (6 million users) and Cornelsen Publishers (3,000 employees and a turnover of 450 million Euro). They’re a small regional Australian business that’s competing against the world’s biggest and best.

    They can do this because of the Cloud, because they can focus on their core competencies - eg software development - and leave the job of running the big infrastructure that you need to administer an exam for 100,000 students to somebody else (in their case, the Windows Azure service).

    Wayne Houlden, the Janison CEO, puts it succinctly on his blog:

      It highlights for me just how much is changing, how now small and nimble companies anywhere in the world can build applications that significantly change the software application and services landscape  

    The end is not nigh…

    This doesn’t mean that the end of the big IT projects/suppliers is coming, but that instead we’re going to see things changing. Smaller companies will compete with bigger ones, as they always have. And big projects will continue to be developed and procured. But the way that things are done will change. When it’s quicker to build the product than it is to write the specification documents, it means that software development, and IT procurement, is going to be fundamentally different in the future.

    We’re going to see more nimble projects, with a chance of keeping up with the more nimble users (as you’ll be seeing, if ‘corporate IT’ can’t keep up, they’ll just go out and use a public web 2.0 service).

    But change is….

    All of our business models are going to change. And the Education IT business is going to look very different in five years time.

    Learn MorePerhaps these articles might help?

  • Education

    Ten of the best - SharePoint School websites


    A colleague asked me to recommend some school websites built on SharePoint, that they could share with others. After I’d finished it for him, I thought I’d pop it into a PowerPoint for others - and then go further by popping up a quick blog post too. Here’s my take on 10 School SharePoint websites that are worth looking at for design ideas and inspiration - or simply because you want to nudge another colleague towards seeing that SharePoint beauty can start at skin deep.

    Click on any of them to link to the live website

    1. Twynham School Sixth Form, Christchurch, UK

    2. John Paul College, Queensland, Australia

    3. Victoria Department of Education’s FUSE site

    4. West Hatch High School, Essex, UK

    5. Hale School, Western Australia

    6. Wootton Bassett School, Wiltshire, UK

    7. Brigidine College, New South Wales, Australia

    8. Brookfields Specialist SEN School, Berkshire, UK

    9. Florida Virtual School, USA

    10. Twynham School Sixth Form, Christchurch, Dorset

      Note: The reason I listed this twice isn’t me cheating - I simply wanted to make sure that you saw their amazing interactive curriculum pages, and I know you’d kick yourself if you hadn’t seen it at No.1

    Learn MoreDownload the PowerPoint version of Top 10 School SharePoint websites

  • Education

    Get the Education blog on your Windows Phone 7


    imageI have to admit, I thought my days of programming were behind me. But thanks to AppMakr and the Windows Phone 7 App Hub, I’m reliving the heady days of my first job (whilst in Sixth Form) of being a programmer. And I’ve created a free app that gives you this Education blog on your Windows Phone 7, along with the live feed of the worldwide Microsoft Education case studies, and direct access to the official press release news stream we provide for journalists.

    It’s my first app for 20 years, and was published on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace on Friday night. The experience of creating the app was pretty smooth - mainly because I was aiming to bring together a series of existing RSS feeds. In fact, the most time consuming part was creating all of the graphics needed - the WP7 tiles in 3 sizes, the splash screen, a header graphic, and the screen shots needed for the marketplace. But once they were all in place, it was pretty seamless.

    If you’ve got a Windows Phone, then hopefully this makes keeping in touch with education blog news easier - as well as connecting you to the education case studies that are published on the worldwide Microsoft Case Studies website.


    To get the free app on your phone, you can either use this link [Australian Education Partner Blog] or search for ‘Education Blog’ in the Marketplace on your Windows Phone.

  • Education

    Halo Spartan on a US campus


    The video below is an advert from the US, advertising the student PC offer

    Halo Spartan promotes the US Student offer - buy a PC, get an Xbox free

    It’s a shame we don’t get adverts like this - or offers like this - in Australia…

    I know this is slightly off topic - but then it is Friday afternoon, and it is about students…

  • Education

    How to list your applications on the Windows Azure Marketplace


    Unsurprisingly, since I wrote yesterday about the first Australian education software to be listed on the Windows Azure Marketplace I’ve had a couple of emails from Microsoft partners who also have Azure applications that they’d like to be listed. So, for them - and others who haven’t yet sent the email Smile - here’s the answer:

    Listing software on the Windows Azure Marketplace

    As of today, you can only sell your applications through the Windows Azure Marketplace if you are in the US, but it will be expanded to additional countries in the coming months. However, you can have your application listed (as Avaxa did), and benefit from the exposure. All of the information that you need to do this is on this page: Publishing on Windows Azure Marketplace. The same method also applies to datasets that you might want to publish - either free datasets, or ones that you want to sell with a subscription fee.

    Here’s the short video from the Azure team that shows how to add a software or data listing on the Azure Marketplace:

    Short video walkthrough (saves a lot of reading!)

    Learn MoreLearn More about publishing on the Windows Azure Marketplace

  • Education

    Feeling nostalgic? Your students may not be


    Over in Los Angeles, there are thousands of Microsoft partners gathered together for the Microsoft World Partner Conference (you can follow along on the DigitalWPC website). The big events like this often produce new product announcements, but what has caught me eye is an announcement linked to both old and new products.

    400 million copies of Windows 7, and counting

    Tami Reller, who is the Corporate Vice President of the Windows business, said some interesting things, and made a few announcements on new things during her keynote. The announcement that I noticed was that customers have now bought 400 million copies of Windows 7 - which means it’s being adopted at three times the pace of Windows XP. And that was linked to the stat that 27% of the Internet runs Windows 7. [That’s all in this transcript] And Tami told stories of customers who’d committed to moving their users to the latest version of Windows (including General Motors, Ford, Dow Chemical and San Diego school district). All good so far.

    Two thirds of business PC are still on Windows XP

    Windows XP logoThe shock came when Tami said that today, the problem is that two-thirds of PCs are still on Windows XP (despite the cost savings possible with Windows 7 and the fact that there’s only a thousand days to end of life for Windows XP).

    I know that it’s not quite as bad as that in Australian education customers, but there’s still a sizeable proportion of computers in schools, TAFEs and universities that are running Windows XP. Whilst I know that some staff will like this (after all, they have a reputation for resisting change), it does mean that students are probably getting the worst deal.

    97% of students have their own PC at home - and the overwhelming majority will be running Windows 7 on it.

    And then they come into the classroom. And they are expected to use a computer running Windows XP - an operating system that was launched in 2001. And that doesn’t do any of the cool, media savvy things that they can do on their home computer.

    What’s my point?

    Students are used to living, working, collaborating and communicating in a digital age. And if we want them to be engaged in the classroom, then perhaps asking them to turn their clocks back ten years when they switch on a computer isn’t fair, and isn’t going to engage them.

    So, to put it into perspective, here’s ten things that your students have never lived without - and which didn’t even exist when we launched Windows XP…

    Ten things that didn’t exist when Windows XP was launched in October 2001

    1. The iPod (came along in November 2001)
    2. Xbox (also November 2001)
    3. iTunes for Windows (that didn’t arrive until April 2003, nearly two years after the iPod)
    4. 3G phones (didn’t arrive in Australia until April 2003 either)
    5. LinkedIn (that wasn’t invented until May 2003)
    6. Skype (August 2003)
    7. Facebook (that arrived in February of 2004)
    8. Xbox 360 (ie the connected one. That arrived in May 2005)
    9. Video chat as part of MSN Messenger (came along in August 2005)
    10. Video chat in Skype (even later, January 2006)
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