January, 2012 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

January, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Update to Microsoft DreamSpark


    Today we made some exciting changes and improvements to DreamSpark, with the launch of a new site and rebranding of MSDNAA to Microsoft DreamSpark premium.

    DreamSpark is the first step for educators to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today’s students by providing no cost access to professional-level development, design, and gaming software.

    DreamSpark is:


    A unique opportunity for both students and educators to use the latest professional development, design and gaming software at no charge

    A chance to learn new technologies to excite students in classrooms

    Access to software and curriculum resources to help develop courses that will enable students to achieve their career goals after graduation

    A way to help educators expand their personal and professional portfolios and enhance classroom objectives

    For Students

    DreamSpark is simple; it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no charge so you can chase your dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on your career.

    DreamSpark gives Students the chance to develop world class software, web applications, cool and creative designs as well as amazing games. Microsoft believes that students can do amazing things if they only have the right tools.

    For Academics

    DreamSpark is about giving educators no cost access to Microsoft professional-level developer, designer and gaming software so they can reach, motivate, and ensure their students achieve their greatest potential. DreamSpark gives you the software and resources to ensure your classroom always has the latest technologies to challenge, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways.

    Learning must be relevant, exciting, and engaging. DreamSpark is aligned with universities, associations, and employers to ensure that educators are able to discover, create, and deliver courses to students that lead to increased technical proficiency, employability and of course creates the next generation of technical leaders.

    · DreamSpark Pricing Model and usage

    Free for all students – simply self-subscribe to DreamSpark via http://www.dreamspark.com

    Free for all Schools being in the system and setup to provide their students verification solution
    This was is through domain, shibboleth, or Live@Edu validation
    Schools DreamSpark Administrators can request codes and give to their students

    For more details regarding Microsoft Dreamspark offering contact the DreamSpark support team

    NB. Licensing does not allow for the products to be used in class, and FREE licensing does not cover educators

    Changes to licensing and costs

    DreamSpark for Schools, College and Unis subscription is now available and priced at $99 FREE for EES customers – This change allows all DreamSpark software to be installed for teaching and learning on Institutional Lab machines and it’s a campus license as per EES so you only need to purchase 1 license and not 1 per school or faculty and if your a EES subscriber its included for FREE. (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and is available for all taught discipline, previously this only covered students usage and not licensed for intuitional equipment)

    DreamSpark Premium – Previously MSDNAA so includes more products including Visio, OneNote and Project and is aimed at STEM FE and HE institutions and all IT Academy Subscribers. The cost has been reduced to $499 from £1000+ (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and all lab installations)

    Microsoft was started when many of the founders were still students so we know that anything is possible. To make this happen, we are aligning with universities, associations, and other communities around the world to make sure that DreamSpark reaches everyone as fast as possible.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Announcing Visual Studio Achievements


    Bring Some Game To Your Coding lessons

    I thought you all may be interested in the following.

    Visual Studio is a ideal tools for schools, colleges and Universities for inspiring future developers, to enhance the experience Microsoft has released Visual Studio Achievements, with the achievements students talents and learning are recognized as they perform various coding feats, which unlock achievements and earn badges which can be shared and displayed on social network profiles and web sites.

    Some examples of individual achievements include Regional Manager (have more than 10 regions in a single class), Close To The Metal (use 5 preprocessor directives), Stubby (generate method stubs 10 times) or Interrupting Cow (have 10 breakpoints in a file). All in all, there are 32 achievements awaiting to be unlocked, all of which are listed here. Here's what the 6 different badges look like:

    The Six Categories of Achievements


    Learn More About Visual Studio

    Visual Studio is a powerful tool with tons of features, many of which you may not know about. Earning some of the badges may result in learning about features you didn’t even know existed!

    Download It Download Now

    How It Works

    With the Visual Studio Achievements Extension, achievements are unlocked based on your activity. Your code is analysed on a background thread each time you compile. In addition, the extension listens for certain events and actions that you may perform in Visual Studio, reporting progress on these events to the server. When you unlock an achievement, Visual Studio lets you know visually with a pop-up displaying the award. Each time you earn a badge, a unique page is created with your profile picture, the badge and a description. Students can then automatically tweet about achievements they earn and/or share them on Facebook.

    Get Visual Studio for FREE via DreamSpark 


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud based development for Office365


    With the launch of Office 365, which includes Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online, there is a now a huge requirement and market for graduates with the skills of how to develop for Office365.  The following blog outlines a number of great resources available for developers to help get you started developing on the platform.

    So what is Office 365

    Office 365 provides a communication and collaboration service in the cloud that you can leverage to build custom solutions for SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. In this session, you’ll learn about this new cloud service and the breadth of solutions that can be developed using the same skills, tools and SDKs you use today when building on-premises solutions.

    I have Live@edu and not Office365 what is the difference?

    office365 vs Live

    for more details on see - www.microsoft.com/liveatedu/office365

    So how do you develop for Office365

    First, for Office client-related development, there is a short white paper Guidance for Office Development in Office 365 this paper identifies a number of things which you need to have top-of-mind relating to the Office clients and Office365 SharePoint Online. The most significant callout is managing remote authentication in your Office client add-ins. Since Office365 SharePoint Online is not in your Active Directory domain, you need to be able to pop the credential prompt for Ofiice365 when you need to access data in your add-in for the end-user. This white paper points you to a code sample you can use with the SharePoint Client Object Model and talks you through the pattern for how to implement it in your add-in. Additionally, you should keep a copy of the SharePoint Online Developer Guide handy to use as a reference for all things related to basic SPO development. Or you can access it online as well.

    Some videos available on Channel9 you might want to watch for Office365 information are:

    Dedicated Office365 training resource - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/Office365TrainingCourse

    • Developing in the Cloud with Office 365 Office 365 provides a communication and collaboration service in the cloud that you can leverage to build custom solutions for SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. In this session, you’ll learn about this new cloud service and the breadth of solutions that can be developed using the same skills, tools and SDKs you use today when building on-premises solutions.
    • Developing for SharePoint Online with Sandbox Solutions Sandboxed Solutions are the development paradigm for SharePoint Online. In this session, you’ll learn about sandboxed solutions including how to develop, debug and deploy solutions. You’ll also learn the breadth of solutions that can be developed in the sandbox and strategies for developing common scenarios that are not enabled in the sandbox.
    • Building Workflow Solutions for SharePoint Online Building Workflow solutions for SharePoint Online allows you to automate collaboration-centric business processes and surface them to your users via SharePoint Online. In this session, you’ll learn the differences between declarative and code-based workflows, design a workflow using Visio 2010, implement that workflow in SharePoint Designer 2010 and customize the workflow using Visual Studio 2010 and custom actions.
    • Developing SharePoint Online Solutions with the Client Object Model The SharePoint Client Object Model provides libraries for programmatically accessing SharePoint Online via Silverlight and JavaScript. In this session, we’ll go deep into the Client Object Model and show you how to develop solutions using both Silverlight and JavaScript.
    • Leveraging Excel and Access Services in SharePoint Online Excel and Access Services provide powerful features for building SharePoint Online solutions. In this session, you’ll get an inside look at both Excel and Access services and how each can be accessed programmatically when building SharePoint Online solutions.
    • SharePoint Online Branding Customizing an intranet site with your company’s identity and branding can help create a more effective collaboration experience. SharePoint Online allows users, designers and developers to customize the look and feel of a site. This can range from simple changes like setting a site logo and Theme to completely changing the user experience with custom styles and Master Pages. In this session, you’ll learn how to make these customizations to brand your SharePoint Online site.
    • Developing Communication Solutions for Lync Online In this session, you learn how to integrate Lync features into your WPF and Silverlight clients much in the same way that Office and SharePoint do, including presence, contact lists and click-to-communicate features. You will also learn how to extend Lync communications to include data and features from your client applications much in the same way that Outlook 2010 does with the "IM" and "Call" features within an email.
    • Developing Messaging Solutions for Exchange Online In this session, you'll learn how to integrate Exchange Online mailbox data such as mail, calendar and task items as well as Exchange Online services such as the free-busy service into your applications using an easy to discover and easy to use managed API.

      Additional Resources

    • SharePoint Online Overview In this video, you'll learn about the customization and solution development opportunities for SharePoint Online.
    • Exchange Online Overview In this video, you'll learn about Exchange Online as a service and how you can build messaging solution in the cloud using the Exchange SDKs.
    • Lync Online Overview In this video, you'll learn about Lync Online and a service and how you can build communication solutions using Lync 2010 and the Lync 2010 SDK.
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Educated desktops – Building and maintaining your PC labs

    A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of Andrew Fryer and his colleague Simon May company as we spent most the week on the Microsoft Stand at BETT one of the largest education events in the world. Simon and Andrew, task was to field questions from the attendees which include some of the hardest working IT Professionals in the industry, those supporting the IT in schools, college and Universities.

    As Andrew states in his original blog Agility is essential to cope with the new influx of students every year as well as is the need to deploy every more applications to keep up with the latest standards for the curriculum and the way each subject is taught.

    Some of these examples below are relevant to my previous discussions in regards to System Center 2012, curricula enhancements and training so I am sure you find them of interest in preparation for this years refresh plans.

    The following blog is by Microsoft UK IT Pro Evangelists Andrew Fryer. Originally posted on the UK Technet Blog Insufficient data from Andrew Fryer IT Pro Evangelist

    Teaching the next generation of IT Professionals.

    IT_Academy mva

    There was a lot of coverage in the press last week about teaching coding and development as part of ICT, however I had two separate requests from ICT educators about teaching how to maintain and fix problems on PCs, because that’s what their students had asked for. We discussed setting up virtual machines on Hyper-V and using snapshots to allow a damaged desktop to be fixed and then being reset with the problem for the next lesson. I also think some of the information on clustering and virtual machines on the Microsoft Virtual Academy could be reused in class rooms or certified training via Microsoft IT Academy in the form of MTA.

    Remote Desktop Services & App-V.


    One way to deal with the problem of matching up students and teachers to the applications they need , irrespective of where they are working is to use App-V (application virtualisation) as this deploys a virtual copy of an application to a desktop based on the groups a user belongs to i.e. it won’t show up in programs in control panel and can run side by side alongside earlier versions of the same application which it would normally conflict with.

    Another approach is to use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and it was no surprise at BETT to see all the hardware vendors sporting their latest thin client devices, and personally I like the LG and Samsung offerings where the thin client was just part of the LCD panel. However not every application likes running as a remote desktop and you can end up creating a lot remote desktops for each type of user. The trick here is to use App-V with RDS so that the applications run virtually inside the remote desktop session and a given user only gets the applications they need even though you only have one or two standard desktops in RDS (the guidance on how to do this is here).

    Another good thing about RDS is that it reduces heat in the classroom if thin client devices are used and also reduces the background noise, although the noise from pupils will still be the same! It is possible to implement RDS without also deploying Citrix or Quest technologies on top, however both of these partners’ offerings add ease of use and manageability to what the raw RDS experience delivers.

    Digital Inclusion


    RDS can be setup so that these personalised remote desktops are available to staff & students working at home or other locations and this means they can use their own devices to interact with a school. Of course laptops are expensive and can be difficult to justify on a limited budget, so to level the playing field there is Get On Line @ Home, which provides affordable reconditioned hardware with Windows 7 + Office 2010 with telephone technical support included.

    Thanks to Andrew for producing this post. For a list of upcoming events which the UK TechNet team are delivering see http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/home.aspx and for details of your education account managers to discuss this further see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Welcome to DreamSpark


    DreamSpark-2_bL_t IT_Academy MSDNAA_Overview_Logo

    We are excited with the launch of DreamSpark site and the opportunity for schools, colleges and universities to utilise the benefits of this amazing software offer.

    As we mentioned earlier this month, this will not impact any of the existing MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA) services or IT Academy subscriptions. What is new is that all existing EES licensed schools, college and universities will receive a complementary copy of DreamSpark $99 campus wide license.

    So What has changed?

    •    MSDNAA and DreamSpark have been consolidated into a single program that provides Microsoft products to students and educators across primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions.

    •    We’ve added a new institution-wide subscription that licenses you to distribute our development and design products across your institution’s labs and to all of your students and faculty this is complementary if you have have a valid EES subscription.

    How does this affect your existing subscription?

    •    Developer AA has simply been renamed DreamSpark Premium. You’ll continue to access all the same software titles as you did before.

    •    Designer AA and High School AA have been discontinued and replaced with a new institution-wide offering named DreamSpark. There will be no change for the duration of your subscription.

    •    Upon renewal, you’ll be provided guidance on how to enroll in the new offerings.

    What’s next?

    •    We have prepared Q&A and Usage Guidelines to help take full advantage of the new DreamSpark program, available at www.dreamspark.com/support/default.aspx

    •    Visit www.dreamspark.com to learn even more.

    •    In the meantime, continue to use the benefits you’ve enjoyed with your MSDNAA subscription.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Hosting your Moodle on Windows Azure



    Moodle hosting in the Cloud via Windows Azure

    There are two projects currently available for hosting Moodle on Windows Azure, both on CodePlex (Microsoft's open source project hosting site, which hosts over 200,000 projects currently):

    http://moodle2azure.codeplex.com/ This is a port of Moodle 2.x Course Management System to Azure platform.

    http://moodleazure.codeplex.com/  Enable Moodle 1.9.9 to run on Windows Azure and SQL Azure

    Both of these projects are on CodePlex, there's a community of support on the site for advice as you start to implement and use them there are a number of other moodle associated codeplex projects and a whole forum on the Moodle community website for Windows users

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Beta release of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) SDK for Windows Phone


    Win7PhoneNew AWS_LOGO_CMYK

    Microsoft is pleased to announce the beta release of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) SDK for Windows Phone. Built by Microsoft as an open source project, this SDK provides developers quickly connect and integrate Windows Phone applications with AWS (S3, SimpleDB, and SQS Cloud Services)

    For more details please see “Beta of Amazon Web Services SDK for Windows Phone Released

    Getting started with the AWS SDK for Windows Phone:

    Getting started guide http://windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/articles/getting-started-with-the-beta-of-amazon-web-services-sdk-for-windows-phone

    Getting Started video http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Interoperability/Getting-Started-with-the-AWS-SDK-for-Windows-Phone

    Samples walkthrough videos

    Video walkthrough of the samples provided in the SDK:

    1. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Interoperability/AWS-SDK-for-Windows-Phone-S3-sample-walkthrough
    2. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Interoperability/AWS-SDK-for-Windows-Phone-SQS-sample-walkthrough
    3. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Interoperability/AWS-SDK-for-Windows-Phone-SimpleDB-sample-walkthrough

    WP7 Porting resources and API mapping:


    Leveraging your iPhone development expertise to build Windows Phone applications


    Leveraging your Android development expertise to build Windows Phone applications


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    System Center 2012 - Importance of Private Clouds within the Education



    Last week I had a  number of interesting discussions with Universities in relation to the importance of Private Clouds within the Education and the opportunity which public and private cloud offers institutions IT Services and academics. The opportunities presented are specifically in relation to agility and capability not only from a IT Services perspective but from a curricula adoption perspective, therefore enabling academics and researchers to use modern and appropriate technologies within teaching, learning and research.

    You all have Developers/Researchers/Educators in your institution, who need to complete project which require dedicated resources, to generally enable these projects resources are required. these resources are usually the following as a minimum:-

    • A Domain Controller (user accounts, authorization, security, rights and roles)
    • A Database Server (data storage for the apps be developed, reporting data, inventory, sales, etc)
    • A Mail Server (notifications, collaboration)
    • 1-3 Windows 7 Client machines for testing  20 – 100 Windows 7 in a lab situation

    To implement these generally requires a significant amount of time and resource, additionally there are a number of key milestones, which add delay and additional cost to each of the projects: 

    • Identifying hardware requirements
    • Ordering the hardware
    • Provisioning the hardware
    • Then delivering to the developers.
    • Installing the hardware with necessary software
    • Securing the software and network connectivity
    • Testing the software and hardware

    Therefore the amount of time between the request for resources and delivery of the resources could be weeks or even months. Not to mention that the resources available to undertake this work are limited and that developers are limited on what they can do until the resources arrive. Not very efficient or productive.

    Present Day Private/Public Cloud Opportunity 

    So the same scenario, Developers/Researchers/Educators in your institution have a project that needs dedicated resources

    Same Resources requested for same purpose. Now the IT staff can deliver these resources “on-demand” by selecting capable resources, much of which is virtualized, from a pool or library, and provisioned to those of the needs of the developers. Thus reducing the time between request and delivery to a matter of days or even hours.

    Furthermore, resources can be generalised and stored in a library along with scripts to customise the resources. The library can be securely exposed to requestors through a self-service portal. The requesters can be assigned roles that allow a requestor to search through resources or select a pre built VM environment along with customisation scripts to create the environment they need without direct interaction of the IT staff.

    The key factor being, you can have as much or as little automation as required for your own needs. Deployment and refresh times can be now reduced from months to hours with minimal staff intervention or support.

    The Private/Public Clouds now offer an opportunity to streamline and create agility in IT operations. IT as a Service is now truly available using resources on premise or cloud based hosted resources.. 

    With the current shipping versions of System Center products (and previous), we have always had individual products such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 or System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. Last week there were some big announcements regarding System Center 2012. Microsoft held a great event called Microsoft Private Cloud Day where changes to System Center 2012 were announced. If you missed the live stream, you can watch it on demand.

    As part of the announcements last week we are simplifying this and now and now offering System Center 2012 as a single product suite.

    There are two editions, System Center 2012 Datacenter and System Center 2012 Standard.


    As you can see from the figure above, both Editions include the same components. Both editions are also licensed per two physical processors. The only difference is the number of Virtual Machines supported per license

    • 2 for Standard
    • Unlimited for Datacenter

    If you have a minimal virtualization footprint, the Standard Edition may be just fine (school, department or a smaller faculty for example); if you have a large virtualization footprint (campus) and are looking for high density of VMs, then definitely go with Datacenter edition.

    Private/Public Hybrid Cloud

    Microsoft is leading the pack in building a global scale public cloud platform (Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Office 365) while also enabling customers to build their own private clouds (using Windows Server and System Center). As customers really start taking advantage of cloud computing methodologies, they have the flexibility of choosing the model that best fits their needs or a combination (Hybrid) and know that the two environments can be managed holistically from one management tool System Center 2012.

    Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of our Management and Security Division wrote a blog post that really does a good job of stating Microsoft’s strategy for cloud computing and how we see public and private clouds coming together.

    Additionally the on-demand webcast from last weeks event solidifies the Microsoft Private Cloud story using Windows Servers, Hyper-V virtualization, and the System Center 2012 Suite this was presented by Microsoft’s Server & Tools “Transforming IT with Microsoft Private Cloud” 

    You can start working with Microsoft Private Cloud solutions now.


    Download the Release Candidate of the System Center 2012 Suite

    Additional resources for more information on Private Clouds and System Center 2012

    The Official Microsoft Blog - System Center 2012: Where Public and Private Clouds Meet

    System Center 2012 – Product Site 

    System Center 2012 – Licensing Datasheet (PDF)

    System Center 2012 – Licensing FAQ (PDF)

    Enabling & skilling up your IT Support teams – Microsoft Virtual Academy and Microsoft IT Academy

    Providing appropriate software to students and educators -  EES + DreamSpark

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    From developer to cloud developer



    From developer to cloud developerwindowsAzureLogo

    Microsoft Learning have now introduced a number of specific cloud examinations aimed at both the IT professional and developer.

    One of the new roles identified is the role of cloud developers. As a cloud developer, you’ll need to understand how applications are designed, developed, and deployed for platform as a service (PaaS).

    Cloud Developers will need to focus on innovation and integration, and work more closely with business units to help them increase productivity.

    As a result Microsoft Learning have developed a set of examinations and curricula to help expand students skills to meet this demand.

    Introduction to Microsoft Windows Azure Platform (Learning Snack)Windows Azure Step by Step (Microsoft Press)Course 10263: Developing Windows Communication Foundation Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010Course 10265: Developing Data Access Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010Developing Applications on Windows Azure Platform (with SQL Server 2012) (Jump Start)Course 50466: Windows Azure Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

    Click to see exams and resources associated with this job role.
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to learn more about Visual Studio


    Visual Studio 2010 Events

    Hearing directly from our experts is the best way to get a really good understanding of Visual Studio 2010 and associated tools such as Team Foundation Server.


    The Visual Studio team are running a number of in-person events on Application Lifecycle Management capabilities of Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010.


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