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

March, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Visual Studio 2011 BETA now available




    As many of you know, alongside the launch of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, we also released the beta for the next version of Visual Studio 11.   So whilst trying out the Windows 8 preview, there is No Better Time to Try Visual Studio 11 Beta, Team Foundation Server 11 Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta are all now available and can be found here.

    The best development experience for Windows 8

    One of the goals for Visual Studio 11 is to help developers build stunning Metro style apps. When you install Visual Studio 11 Beta with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you’ll have an opportunity to try out the new tools, which are designed to help you, each step of the way. You can start off with one of the ready-made Metro style app templates, available in JavaScript, C++, C# or Visual Basic. Next, use Blend for Visual Studio 11 Beta to style and design your application, whether you’re using HTML or XAML. Debug locally, on the simulator, or attached to another device, and use the profiling and code analysis tools to monitor your app’s quality. Finally, once your app is ready and the Store becomes available, you’ll be able to use Visual Studio to package and upload your app to the Windows Store.

    Continuing to ALM maturity

    Visual Studio 11 Beta builds upon a strong legacy and with new collaboration capabilities to empower development teams, improved productivity through the core development experience resulting in delighted end-users with delivering modern, fast and fluid Metro-style, Windows Phone and Web apps. 

    There’s no solution on the market that can provide the depth and breadth of capability as Visual Studio across multiple platforms, and through Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) process maturity.  You can find out more about how your organisation approaches ALM, and then  make real improvements, by taking the ALM Assessment.  ALM as an approach to Development, to testing, and to IT and we hope it adds real value to you as well as open up your minds to talking about how then the relevant tools can support your move to ALM.

    What’s the new? 

    The new Visual Studio experience is built around three core pillars:

    · Delighting end users – end users, or customers, are the core reason any software project begins in the first place.  we know you want fast and fluid Windows experiences and web applications that feel modern and intuitive.  Business users want systems that simplify their day jobs, where the hard work is done for them. Visual Studio 11 Beta delivers these great experiences.

    · Development simplified – the most common, useful daily tasks are simplified with a new integrated development experience.  Focusing on simplification has enabled developers to save time and reduce risks, continuously enabling quality throughout the development process

    · Empowered teams – focusing on people, not processes.   Agile can be experienced throughout Visual Studio 11 Beta; we’ve taken the very best practices from agile and incorporated them throughout.  Every opportunity has been taken to eliminate waste and reuse and recycle code across projects.

    So Why Wait…

    We’re really excited about the release of Visual Studio 11 Beta, we are bringing the best experiences to developers for Windows 8 as well as building on the great work we started with Visual 2010 building towards a mature ALM Solution unparalleled in the market. Visual Studio, supported by DreamSpark, will continue to be the right choice for Academics and students who want to remain productive, efficient and skilled in modern and appropriate tools for employability.

    Download the VS11 Beta preview yourself and visit some of the key resources:-

    Read more details re Visual Studio

    Follow @VisualStudioUK on Twitter

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcut keys combinations



    Last week I  attend a number of events, which involved discussions in relation to using Windows 8 with a Keyboard and mouse. I mentioned the fact that Microsoft had introduced a suite of keyboard shortcuts to help you manage its classic and metro interfaces.

    So here is the list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

    For more details on Windows 8 see.

    Developing Apps for Windows 8

    Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview

    Building Windows 8 Blog

    Windows Store Blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft and Open Source



    More Open Source news from Microsoft today, with the announcement that we are open sourcing ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET Web API, ASP.NET Web Pages v2 (Razor) - all with contributions - under the Apache 2.0 license.

    You can find the source on CodePlex, and all the details on Scott Guthrie's blog.

    “We will also for the first time allow developers outside of Microsoft to submit patches and code contributions that the Microsoft development team will review for potential inclusion in the products,” Guthrie says. “We announced a similar open development approach with the Windows Azure SDK last December, and have found it to be a great way to build an even tighter feedback loop with developers – and ultimately deliver even better products as a result.”

    You can now browse, sync and build the source tree of ASP.NET MVC, Web API, and Razor here.

    In short, as Principal Program Manager Scott Hanselman notes in his blog about all this goodness: Open Source = Increased Investment. ASP.NET is a part of .NET, it will still ship with Visual Studio. It's the same ASP.NET, managed by the same developers with the same support.

    It is also very important to note, as Guthrie points out, that ASP.NET MVC, Web API and Razor will continue to be fully supported Microsoft products that ship both standalone as well as part of Visual Studio (the same as they do today).

    “They will also continue to be staffed by the same Microsoft developers that build them today (in fact, we have more Microsoft developers working on the ASP.NET team now than ever before),” he says. “Our goal with today’s announcement is to increase the feedback loop on the products even more, and allow us to deliver even better products. We are really excited about the improvements this will bring.”

    More details on this announcement @OpenatMicrosoft on Twitter or visit Scott Guthrie’s Blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft TechEd Europe Keynote Speakers



    Today, we’re excited to announce the keynote lineup for this year’s upcoming TechEd Europe event!

    TechEd is Microsoft’s premier technology conference for IT professionals and developers, offering the most comprehensive technical education across Microsoft’s current and soon-to-be-released suite of products, solutions, tools and services. Every year technology professionals gather to immerse themselves in more than 1,000 learning opportunities that cover an unparalleled breadth and depth of Microsoft technologies. TechEd is the best place as an industry professional to focus on technology education and professional development opportunities that are relevant to you and your business, without all the distractions of the office.

    The confirmed keynoters are Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President, Visual Studio and Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Management & Security Division,

    Across all of the keynotes and sessions you can expect to hear the latest about Microsoft technology with tracks covering Windows Client, Windows Azure, Windows Phone, Windows Server, Architecture & Practices, Database & Business Intelligence, Office, Security & Identity, Developer Tools and more. In addition, TechEd presents a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with Microsoft experts, technology partners, and industry peers.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Improvements to Microsoft IT Academy Members Portal



    The redesigned My Academy benefits page will provide a consolidated view of all program benefits and enable you to explore all the great resources and academic discounts available to your institution.

    The new site can be used by both educators and administrators to quickly access and activate your benefits.

    My Academy - Curriculum

    * Assign, manage, and use E-Learning This is perhaps our biggest improvement. You no longer need to request access codes to enter the Instructor Learning Management System (LMS). You can now access the LMS from the My Academy page or directly from the Web without an access code. The system also transmits your IT Academy member ID for you when you enter the LMS. If you already have access to LMS, you will still have access; nothing will change. You will still need to enter your Live ID to gain entry.

    In this section, you will also be able to:

    * Access the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum

    * Explore lesson plans and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam review kits

    * Gain access to the E-Reference Library for Microsoft Press

    * Generate course completion certificates

    * Create your own E-Learning courses

    My Academy - Certification and Profession Development

    * Get your Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Teacher Starter Kit

    * Get your Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Teacher Starter Kit

    * Become a testing center

    * Activate and use your MCT Membership

    * Achieve Teaching with Technology Professional Development

    My Academy - Software

    * Access software from DreamSpark and DreamSpark Premium subscriptions

    * Activate and use your TechNet Professional subscription

    My Academy - Marketing Resources

    * Find posters, flyers, and other marketing resources to help you increase enrolment and promote your IT Academy

    * Access career roadmap posters and tools to help your students efficiently and effectively accomplish their goals.

    My Academy - News and Special Offers

    * Find current and archived IT Academy member newsletters

    * Take advantage of academic discounts on Microsoft Press books, Microsoft Official Academic Courseware (MOAC), and Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC)

    My Academy - Support

    * Find program support from Regional Service Centers and access frequently asked questions and answers

    * Connect with a Microsoft Academy Service Partner (MASP) to get more out of your IT Academy member benefits

    NOTE: To view member benefits and member site navigation in your local language, use the “Translate this page” tool located in the top right corner of the member site.

    Visit the My Academy page soon to try out the new features or if your interested in becoming an IT Academy see more details here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research solutions


    Research solutions from Microsoft, targeted at research departments in higher education institutions, the aim is to help you rapidly establish a platform for secure, collaborative research using, smart tools for analysis, development and professional authoring - all underpinned by scalable High Performance and cloud computing. For example, Microsoft Research has worked with several partners and a few higher education customers to develop a portfolio of complimentary virtual research kits now accessible on Codeplex. The free kits are Sharepoint extensions which allow customers to set up research web portals to house research projects including organization tools, integrated workflows, document management, real-time communications and easy team collaboration.

    With the onset of Azure and its open platform of applications and new SharePoint extensions for researchers, Microsoft now has a very robust set of products to simplify the management of research and reduce the costs of performing research in higher education institutions.

    From parsing big data to providing analytics to archiving and publishing findings, Microsoft and our partners have the technology to support research management engagements of all sizes.


    The portfolio of Sharepoint extensions for Research Management are listed on

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Student Competition Win a Nokia Handset



    We know you love the way Windows Phone puts People First.

    Do you want to win one? Course you do!

    The Microsoft UK Student team have put together a competition for those people who like writing Apps for mobile devices. With our latest programme, only available to students aged 16 or over in the UK, we want to encourage you to write lots of Apps and submit them via AppHub into the Marketplace.
    For EVERY app you write, during the periods of the competition, (see the detailed terms and conditions here) you'll have a chance to win one of 100 Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phones. We also want to reward those who write top quality Apps so we are complimenting the random prize draw with a judged competition, the top prize being a trip to our offices to spend a day honing your skills and your Apps with our deep technical experts.


    Putting it simply

    1. Register once here.
    2. The Student Team monitor your app submission in Marketplace.
    3. 3 random prize draws (up to 30 x Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phones per draw).
    4. 1 Top App Competition (up to 10 x Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phones AND a trip to the Microsoft Technology Centre in Reading to talk with our technical experts and see the latest cool stuff).

    The more Apps you publish during the competition, the more chance you have of winning! 1 app = 1 entry into the relevant period draw, 2 apps = 2 entries etc, all Apps go into the Top App Competition.

    Any questions you can email us on or post on the student Facebook wall.

    To enter the competition you simply need to register with your LiveID, Apphub Publisher name, preferred contact email address and mobile phone number and that's it. Obviously you then need to publish Apps to have a chance of winning. 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft UK TechDays Azure BootCamp 11th and 18th May


    Today, we have announced our fourth and final edition of the FREE to attend Windows Phone Camp & Windows Azure Bootcamp delivered by UK Tech.Days.

    The events are fantastic experience for you and your students who wish to get up to speed with Windows Phone & Azure development. Delivered by a line up of Microsoft evangelists, these camps have been inspiring UK developers, students and academics to get started with both Windows Phone & Windows Azure.

    I got an opportunity to meet similar people who think and understand like me & got to know a lot about Microsoft & it's mobile application development in depth.’

    ‘Having the technology (Windows Azure) explained by people who know it in depth. Difficult concepts explained with concrete examples!’

    This will be the last edition of the camps so if your interested and want to get some introductory hands on experience, this is the perfect opportunity to help you get started. Remember that spaces are very limited as we usually sell out a couple of weeks in advance. So, act now to avoid missing out. 

    Windows Azure Bootcamp Registration & Information

    Friday, 11 May 2012, London

    Friday 18 May 2012, Liverpool

    In addition to an event in London at LBi, the team are also visiting Liverpool for the first time.

    Overview of the Azure BootCamp

    At the Bootcamp, our Windows Azure & Cloud Computing evangelists will take you from knowing nothing about the cloud to actually writing some code, deployed on to a cloud service and make a simple application available on the public internet.

    You will get all the information you need to get up to speed. So if your new to the Cloud this is a perfect oppurtunity.

    Click here to register for the London Bootcamp, Friday 11 May 2012

    Click here to register for the Liverpool Bootcamp, Friday 18 May 2012

    Spaces are very limited to please register today to avoid disappointment.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft UK TechDays Windows Phone BootCamp 12th and 19th May


    I am pleased to inform you that the dates for the May edition of the FREE to attend Windows Phone Camp & Windows Azure Bootcamp delivered by UK Tech.Days are now available.

    In addition to an event in London at LBi, the team are also visiting Liverpool for the first time.

    This will be the last edition of the camps so if your interested and want to get some introductory hands on experience, this is the perfect opportunity to help you get started. Remember that spaces are very limited as we usually sell out a couple of weeks in advance. So, act now to avoid missing out.

    Windows Phone UK TechDays BootCamp

    Windows Phone Camp Registration & Information

    Saturday, 12 May 2012, London

    Saturday, 19 May 2012, Liverpool

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Moodle to Microsoft Live@edu plugin



    Last week, Moodle Rooms announced that the updated plug in will be available to the Moodle community beginning February 23rd.

    I just wanted to highlight the great work done by Moodle Rooms in developing this plug in and providing it to the Moodle community as it offers the following functionality

    - Log into courses using their Windows Live ID and display select Live Services on a Moodle site.

    - View and compose emails and calendar events within a Moodle site using Outlook® Live

    - Access Windows Live Messenger chat and Bing™ search engine within a course.

    This will offer huge advantages to those institutions with Moodle and Live@edu user base and will enhance the Moodle teaching and learning experience.


    This is a great example of interoperability between Microsoft and open source solutions, something Microsoft strongly supports and will continue to support in the future.

    Additional resources and links

    - Download -

    · Sites: Liveatedu site announces availability of new plug in for moodle

    · Blogs: Openness blog and Education Insights

    · Twitter: @OpenAtMicrosoft

    · Video on the Openness site and Live@edu

    - More details on UK Live@edu Blog

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