February, 2014 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

February, 2014


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Xamarin + Visual Studio developing apps for iOS, Windows and Android


    A number of UK Universities are now moving to teach true Mobile development courses teaching mobile development for iOS, Android and Windows.

    With http://www.DreamSpark.com all institution get FREE copies of Visual Studio for all Students and teaching labs. 

    http://www.Xamarin.com provides Visual Studio add-ins so that you can develop your iOS, Android and Windows apps all in a single solution so this means your primary IDE for all environments can be Visual Studio and write your apps entirely in C#, sharing the same code on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. This allows students to reuse their favourite .NET libraries, and still easily incorporate platform-specific libraries and frameworks when they want to.

    Building for a Mac using Windows and Visual Studio

    http://xamarin.com/visual-studio Xamarin extensions support building, deploying, and debugging on simulator or device.

    Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio allows native iOS applications to be developed and tested on Windows computers, with a networked Mac providing the build and deployment services. Xamarin provides new Visual Studio features that enable iOS development, including iOS device Toolbar, File > New Project for iOS apps, and iOS Project Property pages.

    You will however need one Mac within your teaching labs to undertake the build and deployment.

    For some institutions this is a prohibiting factor. A perfect solution to teaching a cross platform course. http://www.MacinCloud.com is cloud based solution with a dedicated Academic Plan.

    MacinCloud allows current students, teachers and school staff from government accredited, high schools, colleges, universities and other accredited educational institutions to enjoy discounts from MacinCloud service offerings for non-commercial, academic use.

    They offer the following pricing models for Academic Users Only

    3-Hour Daily $16per month Up to 3 Hours per day 1GB Hard Drive Space iOS SDK and Tools for iPhone/iPad App Development and Mac App Development

    5-Hour Daily $20per month for Academic Users Only Up to 5 Hours per day 1GB Hard Drive Space iOS SDK and Tools for iPhone/iPad App Development
    Mac App Development included

    8-Hour Daily $30per month for Academic Users Only Up to 8 Hours per day 1GB Hard Drive Space iOS SDK and Tools for iPhone/iPad App Development
    Mac App Development included

    No Time Limit $35per month for Academic Users Only No Time Limit per day 1GB Hard Drive Space iOS SDK and Tools for iPhone/iPad App Development Mac App Development included

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Computer Science Women Students, Join us on 13 March in London from 6-9pm for the exclusive, first-ever Codess University event



    Computer Science Women Students, join us on 13 March in London from 6-9pm for the exclusive, first-ever Codess University event, where you will have the chance to check out the latest Microsoft technologies by Xbox UK, Skype, Microsoft Research, Bing and Yammer.  There will also be a panel of experienced engineers and we’ll discuss your future career.  There will be many opportunities for networking and of course, cool swag for everyone!

    Please contact codessu@microsoft.com for more details and an invitation to register.

    When: Thursday, 13 March 2014 from 18:00 to 21:00 (GMT)

    Transportation: Coaches will be provided from multiple locations throughout the London area, as well as from Cambridge and Oxford.

    For more information, check out these links:

    Website: http://www.codess.net/

    LinkedIn: Codess

    Facebook: CodessWomen

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What does DreamSpark –> UK Education


    In less than 10 years, students have made approximately 48 million downloads of our developer tools – fuelling massive learning and innovation from students.

    Microsoft has invested in thousands of Young developers and entrepreneurs with Microsoft BizSpark. The support which BizSpark has provided has provided these new companies with huge opportunity to shape the technology industry’s future.

    Today’s young developers are tomorrow’s innovators and business leaders so we care and offer a range of services and support to help them succeed in the future. According to UNESCO, there are 146 million Higher Education students worldwide. Microsoft research shows that 46% of students worldwide (i.e. 67 million) are “student technologists” meaning they have done some amount of development in the last 12 months. Since its introduction in 2003, students in 165 countries have utilised Microsoft DreamSpark, generating approximately 48 million downloads of our developer tools.

    We know students are passionate about technology and the  number of student developers participating in the Imagine Cup has grown from a few thousand the first year (2003) to more than 350,000 in 2011 and our research shows that more than half of student developers are non-STEM disciplines so DreamSpark is an essential tool for all institutions.


    Microsoft is supporting student technologists by creating technology platforms that are easy to develop for, and funding programs that encourage students to put their ideas into action in ways that give them professional experience and financial opportunity. Student technologists are becoming an increasingly important developer base for Microsoft’s platforms especially because of their rapid adoption of new technologies. We are investing in young developers because it gives them a leg up, while also helping us foster innovation on our platforms.

    Microsoft is giving a progression of support to students by offering free access to software through DreamSpark for technology development, opportunities to refine and present their technology through Imagine Cup, and then supporting their efforts to launch their ideas into businesses through BizSpark and the Imagine Cup Grants program.

    If your interested in taking part in our research

    Please provide your feedback

    Microsoft is making a long term investment in student developers and is committed to helping them become successful technology entrepreneurs.

    So what is Microsoft DreamSpark

    Direct offering http://www.dreamspark.com (DreamSpark – for Students): Provides students the ability to directly download all of Microsoft’s development and design tools for free

    Subscription offering (DreamSpark – for Institutions): Provides institutions to purchase an inexpensive subscription licensing them to give all of their students and educators development and design tools for free

    What are the benefits

    Economical Investment: Stay on the leading edge of technology with institution wide and department specific memberships

    Reduced licensing cost and complexity: Deploy Microsoft’s products across labs, and give to students and educators all with a single subscription

    Enhanced Teaching and learning capabilities: Engaged Students, Empowered Educators

    What are the Subscription options

    “DreamSpark”: Institutional wide offering – matches the direct offering available to students.

    “DreamSpark Premium”: STEM-D departmental only offering. Contains all Microsoft products, minus Office Suite. Only available for qualified STEM departments

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup UK National final is to be held at UCL, in London on the 29th April 2014.



    Every year, Imagine Cup teams compete in countries around the world in events known as National Finals.

    So are you interested in competing for the 2014 Imagine Cup.

    The major competition categories for 2014 are Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. You’ll find additional information on this page in the months ahead, so be sure you visit www.imaginecup.com.

    Register here to enter your team in one of the above categories. You can find more detailed instructions on our Get Started page – how to create your account, register your team, sign up for the contests and more.

    Before 21st March 2014 Teams register their members and an optional mentor at www.imaginecup.com. Teams submit entry/ies as per the rules defined on www.imaginecup.com for each competition.

    Teams will be automatically entered to compete in online UK Competition Qualifier which will be judged by a panel of Microsoft staff, industry experts and academics.

    Also, UK’s top teams will be travelling to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington for the Imagine Cup World Finals, to compete for the coveted Imagine Cup trophy and $50,000 grand prize! Last year, Exeter University  Team Colinked and their product Soundsynk an interactive music app. Team Colinked with Soundsynk advanced to the Finals of the Competition, where they won the world wide final and $50,000. After the Imagine Cup the team accepted a place at the Microsoft Venture UK Accelerator.


    1st April 2014 Microsoft announces the 12 teams that have qualified for the Finals of the UK Competition.

    29th April 2014 A panel of academics and industry experts judge the UK Competition Finals at a live event at UCL in London.

    30th April 2014 Microsoft Publicly announces the winners (First, Second and Third places) of the UK Competition Finals


    Each category will require teams to submit:

    • Video Presentation of your project to a panel of judges on camera to deliver the presentation as if to a live panel of judges for the National Finals. This presentation should explain your project and your team: Who is your team is; what your project does; who your project is for; and how you will bring your project to market. Your video must be no longer than 10 minutes and it may not have any edits or added visual effects. You may not move the camera during your presentation. In all respects it should replicate the experience of a judge sitting and viewing your live presentation.
    • Software that is usable by the judges in a hands-on evaluation.
    • Software Instructions document explaining how the use your software
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Discover how Excel can help you with your research, including new Power BI features for data science and dynamic visualization



    Date/Time: Wed Feb 26, 2014, 8:00 AM, USA Pacific

    Duration: 1 Hour Online FREE Course

    Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used tools for researchers to manage, analyse and visualize their data. Learn about new data discovery and analysis features in Excel with the collaboration capabilities in the new Power BI for Office 365 online service, and how it can be used with Windows Azure. Find out more on the Excel Power BIWindows Azure for Research and Windows Azure for Education websites.

    Areas covered in the session:

    • How to use Excel Power BI for science and research
    • Using Excel Power Query to browse, refine and analyse research data
    • How to use Excel as a gateway to Windows Azure
    • Designing research data analysis services using PowerView
    • Visualising 4D data in Excel using PowerMap


    Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research
    Jeff Zhang, Microsoft

    Register at https://www.eventbuilder.com/microsoft/event_registration.asp?z=z9m4o3&eventid=o63j131h

    Read more…

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft is bringing Unity developers yet another opportunity to achieve creative success



    Microsoft is supporting the creation and launch of the best made-with-Unity games and apps on Windows Phone/Windows Store.

    The new offer helps to clear the way for talented and committed Unity developers to reach millions of new players and users.

    How to qualify:

    1. Any Unity developer using Unity 4 to develop their games and apps can apply.
    2. Applicants are required to have experience with shipping games and apps on mobile platforms.
    3. The content that is submitted for review needs to stand out: it needs to be innovative, interesting, and different from the other games and apps in its genre.
    4. Some benefits may not be available in some countries, check the Terms and Conditions.

    If you apply and submit existing content:

    If you have existing games published on other mobile platforms (iOS, Android), make sure you list your top titles in the application. Existing games need to have received a minimum 3 star rating, with a significant number of downloads.

    If you apply without published content:

    Microsoft encourages Unity developers with a great mobile project in the pipeline to apply. Each developer application will be evaluated on its own merits, and your project may even qualify for the AppCampus offer. Note however that evaluation of new projects will take more time.

    The incentive offer provides two levels of benefits:

    Windows Store

    • Free Dev Center account for Windows and Windows Phone stores
    • Free Microsoft Windows 8 Pro License
    • 1 Developer device (phone or tablet)
    • Priority review for store promotion

    Windows Store

    • Level 1 benefits + the following
    • 1,000,000 impressions ad package on Adduplex
    • 1 more Developer device (phone or tablet)
    • Feature placement on the Windows made with Unity Gallery
    • Access to technical assistance

    Apply now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Training and Certification Guide


    We have just released a new Training & Certification Guide app into the Windows 8 store


    The app is a great tool for student, educators and professionals for evaluating which technical courses and certifications should be completed to gain Microsoft Professional Certifications.

    Screen shot 1

    Available here:


    The Training and Certification Guide features an interactive chart of our technical certifications mapped by courseware and exam. Clicking on the ‘subway map’ takes a user to more information on the different portfolios—details about the training, certifications, etc. Clicking further will then take users to /learning. A breakdown of keyword guidance is also included to map keywords to our certifications.

    The app also includes a ‘view as PDF’ option should users need to print pages.

    Wishing you a happy professional certification journey.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Educators and Students we want your feedback on DreamSpark



    Are you an Educator, Head of IT or IT Administrator

    This review of DreamSpark Premium will assist Microsoft in understanding your institutional use of applications, while also assessing the effectiveness and impact it is having on developing student skills and attainment. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting coursework and test results of your students. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have witnessed so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.

    Just click here (http://dreamspark-edu.questionpro.com) to complete the online questionnaire.


    Are you at school, college or University?

    Help Microsoft understand and support your use of DreamSpark

    We need to know that you value DreamSpark to be able to win the battle to continue to deliver it for free – help us help the next generation of students.

    We are inviting students to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting your skills development, learning outcomes and career potential. We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use to you, how often you use them and how effective they have been in supporting your skills development. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting your coursework and test results. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have had so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.

    Win a XBOX ONE


    We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous. Just to give you a little more of an incentive to help us gather this data we are offering one lucky student an Xbox One. Just click here (http://dreamspark2014.questionpro.com) to complete the online questionnaire.

    Public customer service email: DreamSparkSupport-EM@eu.subservices.com

    All EMEA Service Center details: https://www.dreamspark.com/Support/RSC.aspx#Europe

    For further information on Microsoft DreamSpark, please visit our website:


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Accelerate the speed of scientific discovery with Windows Azure



    Windows Azure provides researchers, educators, and students with the power and scalability of cloud computing for collaboration, computation, and data-intensive processing.

    Windows Azure is an open and flexible global cloud platform that supports languages, tools, and frameworks, such as Linux, Python, Java, Hadoop, and the Microsoft .NET Framework.

    Watch our webinar series and learn how cloud computing can help researchers resolve the issue of big data and focus on accelerating breakthroughs and insights. Learn more…

    If your interested in teaching Windows Azure in your undergraduate course see www.windowsazure.com/education


    We are pleased to announce that we have published three new technical papers to help researchers quickly start working with Windows Azure.

    The latest papers provide instructions on working with Windows Azure Cloud Services

    1. Scaling a Windows Azure Cloud Service

    2.  Installing the Windows Azure BLAST Example

    3.Building Scalable Services in Windows Azure with Python.

    These papers are appropriate for those who have received Windows Azure for Research training, awardees of the RFP program, or researchers who are simply  curious about Windows Azure; however, they do assume some prior technical computer programming skills. Read more…

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Latest recipients of Windows Azure for Research Awards announced



    Microsoft Research’s Windows Azure for Research program, which features a continuing series of Windows Azure cloud training events and a program of Windows Azure research grants, has been going strong since its launch in September 2013

    Selecting the winning proposals was extremely difficult, as we can fund only a fraction of the submissions. Nonetheless, we persevered and winnowed the proposals down to the grant recipients listed, by lead author and project title.

    You can review abstracts for these proposals at Windows Azure for Research.

    The Grant approved for the United Kingdom are

    •Blesson Varghese, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom - Real-time Catastrophe Risk Management on Windows Azure   
    •Julio Hernandez-Castro, David Barnes, University of Kent, United Kingdom - ChessWitan: Mining chess data to distinguish human from computer play
    •Nadarajen Veerapen, University of Stirling, United Kingdom - Automated Bug Fixing
    •Vassilis Glenis, Newcastle University, United Kingdom - Modelling Flood Risk in Urban Areas   

    Read the full blog here …

    Learn more

    · Windows Azure for Research website

    · Windows Azure for Education

    · Windows Azure for Research Award winners (blog)

    · Windows Azure for Research Training

    · Windows Azure for Research Proposal FAQ

    · Cloud Research Projects

    · Windows Azure

    · Windows Azure for Research LinkedIn community

    ·  Windows Azure for Research on Twitter (use #azureresearch)

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