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News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Live@edu Implementation Guide


    imageBen Nunney, who writes the UK Live@edu blog, has just finished updating the Live@edu Implementation Guide. It covers a wide range of advice and guidance that is helpful as you plan to move your email services to the free Live@edu service, based in our cloud datacentres in Dublin. (This link will tell you more about what Live@edu is)

    The guide is specifically written for IT managers and others who are responsible for the university IT infrastructure. Some of the guidance that you’ll find include:

    • How to structure your email domains
    • Options for configuring your student IDs
    • Switching your domains from your in-house servers to ours
    • Managing domains where staff are on an in-house mail service whilst students are in the cloud
    • Configuring Single Sign On
    • Automating the synchronisation of your user accounts
    • Setting up mail transport rules eg for banned words, mail filtering, domain restrictions etc
    • Branding your mail service

    If you’re planning a deployment, or your curious to see just how much control you still retain when you move to an outsourced mail service, then Ben’s guide is incredibly helpful.

    imageDownload the Live@edu Implementation Guide


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    BBC iPlayer in Education


    As part of the on-going enhancements to the Xbox Live experience on Xbox 360, the BBC's iPlayer video-on-demand service is now available to all users in the UK.


    The iPlayer service is a great way to catch-up on missed episodes of Doctor Who and the Apprentice (the new series starts this evening!), but what about its use within teaching and learning?

    The iPlayer offers free access to a wealth of educational content, such as documentaries and current affairs programmes, all of which are made available on-demand via the service. The service also includes access to a plethora of radio content. With features such as the ability to 'Star' favourite shows and have them saved automatically, the service offers a flexible and easy way to access content and discover new material that may be relevant to a specific course or subject.

    Jeremy Paxman's new series, Empire, for example, would be a great piece of content for sociologists, human geographers and historians alike, and can be easily consumed when and where the students chooses via the app, particularly if they have a smartphone device.


    The beauty of the Xbox 360 application, though, is that it combines the ability to access content via the iPlayer service within a device that students love, and is a good example of the power of the consumerisation of IT in education.

    Integrating the iPlayer experience within the Xbox 360 allows learners to access learning materials via the TV's in their living rooms or bedrooms, which ultimately enhances the overall impact and appeal of the content.

    Furthermore, with the Xbox 360 iPlayer service being compatible with the Kinect, which allows for the app to be controlled via gesture or voice, great learning material is now only a swipe away.

    As part of our focus on the consumerisation of IT in education, we will be watching the use of the iPlayer, and similar apps, closely.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Office 2010 for students – via the Ultimate Steal



    Each year we run a special offer (called The Ultimate Steal) on Microsoft Office, only for Higher & Further education students and staff who have a email address. It allows them to buy the software directly from Microsoft, and make a big saving on the equivalent retail price. As we get closer to the release of Office 2010, the number of students buying the software has flattened out (and who can blame them - why buy the 2007 version when Office 2010 is just around the corner?).

    In previous years universities have told their students about the deal, via their email or internal IT support website, but this year less have, because students can download the Office 2010 beta for free, and then wait for the full release.

    But there are two good reasons why it’s right to remind your students now about the Ultimate Steal offer, before the release of Office 2010 in June…

    No-cost upgrade to Office 2010

    Since 5th March, any student or member of staff buying Office 2007 through the Ultimate Steal has been entitled to get a no-cost upgrade to Office 2010 when it is released (as a digital download).

    A price increase coming

    It’s just been confirmed that when Office 2010 is launched, the price of the student offer with the new version will be increasing by around £10 (although it will still be significantly cheaper than normal retail prices)


    So here’s the summary:

    • The best price for students to get Office 2007 Ultimate Edition is £38.95 with the Ultimate Steal deal – saving 90% off the estimated retail price for the Ultimate edition
    • It now includes a no-cost upgrade to Office 2010
    • If students/staff wait to buy until the release of Office 2010, they’ll end up paying 25% more

    So there’s a brief window from now until June when students and staff can get the best of both worlds – Office 2010 at the lower Office 2007 price.


    ps You can also pick up Windows 7 with a student discount from The Ultimate Steal site too


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft Scotland 2010 Higher Education Briefing


    Bookings are now open for our Scotland Higher Education Briefing day, on 9th June in Edinburgh.


    Microsoft will be holding our Scottish 2010 Higher Education Briefing on 9th June 2010 at our Edinburgh offices . The agenda for the event runs from 10:00 to 4:45 with breaks to catch up with colleagues from other universities.

    As well as getting the latest news on Microsoft’s product roadmap, there will be the opportunity to hear from one of our Scottish universities and to hear how they are responding to the economic pressures that all universities are feeling. Of course, this current academic year is full of launches of new Microsoft products, and we’ll be able to use the day to bring all of this into context – explaining the value and relative importance of some of the key new product launches.

    9:30 - Registration and coffee
    10:00 - Welcome and introduction
    10:00 – Looking ahead a decade: The future vision of work
    10:40 – Office 2010
    11:05 – Break
    11:20 – SharePoint 2010
    12:05 – Lunch
    12:50 – Live @ edu
    13:30 – Working with Open Source
    13:45 – Customer Case Study
    14:15 - System Center Overview
    14:45 - Conclusion
    15:00 - Close

    Steven Grier, the Microsoft Education Business Manager for Scotland, will lead the day, introducing experts from Microsoft and bringing case studies from our customers.

    We’ll be holding the briefing at our offices in Edinburgh, and there will be plenty of Microsoft colleagues available for discussions.

    You can book your place by emailing Samantha Mills

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Teched Europe 2012 Registration now open



    Come to TechEd Europe, unplug from your day job, & dive into the thousands of learning & networking opportunities

    In addition to over 400 sessions with Microsoft and industry speakers, TechEd offers you face-to-face connections with thousands of your peers who share your challenges. TechEd is the forum to gain the expertise and insights that will help you get the most from your IT investments.
    TechEd offers 4 days to:

    • LEARN in-depth about the latest technology trends and how you can leverage these effectively in your business
    • DISCOVER the future of Microsoft’s products, technologies, solutions and services directly from Microsoft’s leaders with news, announcements, and demos
    • NETWORK with Microsoft and industry thought leaders, and fellow delegates that share your technology interests and business challenges
    • PLAN the features and architecture to support your business goals and product roadmap

    Need Even More? Attend a Pre-Conference Seminar

    By arriving a day early on Monday, 25 June and registering for the special Pre-Conference Seminars you will get in-depth training and insights on the Microsoft technologies and products that power your business. Select from 10 different topics taught by John Craddock, Kate Gregory, Steve Fox, Mikael Nystrom, Kent Agerlund, Alberto Ferrari, Richard Hundhausen, and more!

    Register NOW for TechEd Europe (limited number of academic tickets available for students and educators)

    Register Now or visit and learn more

    Originally posted on the Microsoft UK Faculty Connection Blog.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    The Microsoft Education Desktop (Webcast)


    What does the modern education desktop from Microsoft look like today? This webcast talks about how Windows 7, Office 2010 and Learning Suite, to name a few, come together to provide more engaging learning experiences for learners, while also saving costs.

    Furthermore, if you are responsible for managing the desktops within your institution, this webcast shares some insight into MDOP with adds significant value and removes cost from the process of managing the desktop environment.

    Finally, while not specifically a licensing orientated session, an overview will also be given on the CAL Suites.

    If you have any questions about the Modern Education Desktop from Microsoft, please leave your questions in the comments below.

    Thanks for taking the time to view the webcast and if you have any ideas for future topics, we would love to hear them. Again, leave your thoughts in the comments below.


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    SharePoint 2010 – An Overview for Education


    Watch this recording presented by Dave Coleman, SharePoint MVP, as he gives an overview of SharePoint 2010. During this recording, Dave explores how SharePoint can address key needs within education institutions and by making use of existing licensing agreements, SharePoint can also help to remove cost from your organisation.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Security quiz – gloves off!


    There are lots of stories going around the UKHE circuit about security at the moment, particularly email security.  One area that’s really tough to get right as the danger from social engineering (here’s a hint to the quiz).

    So, have a look at this and let me know how you get on.  I’m looking for the fastest responses to getting all of these right and it looks like you can win a full copy of Windows 7 as part of the process.

    This quiz is also a great way to show how Silverlight can be used in a teaching/learning context that brings real user engagement with the content and assesses capability on the way.

    I would love to hear your feedback on both the Security quiz and the medium to deploy it.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Download the Office 2010 Beta and get a head start



    The Office 2010 Beta is available for free download from the Microsoft website, and it’s something that you could install on some of your campus computers to see what’s in it, and how it helps your staff and students.

    Remember how sometimes you felt smug when you were running Windows 7 Beta at least 6 months before everybody else on campus? Well, you can feel it once again!

    Why trial the new Office system?

    In the past, when we released new software, you had to wait to see what it will do, and whether it is the right thing for your campus. But now, with our new approach of releasing very public Beta versions, you can actually download an early versions months before release, and try it out with some of your staff and students, as well as trying it out from a technical installation perspective. With Office 2010, there’s a bunch of new features which are going to be especially useful for education, such as:

    Save to SharePoint allows students and staff to use shared sites or their personal site more easily. The overwhelming majority of universities are using SharePoint and looking for new ways to grow it’s use. This removes all the hassle of having to save to your local disk, and then leave and upload the file to SharePoint.

    • Let’s face it, anything that makes it easier for staff to use your SharePoint is a good thing, and encourages active sharing of information.

    Save to SkyDrive is one step further by connecting your users to their 25GB of free storage on the SkyDrive site. And because SkyDrive allows you to have private folders, shared folders and public folders, each user can easily control what’s visible to others, and available via any Internet connected computer. This is also the way to activate the Office Web Applications – once you’ve saved something on your SkyDrive it can be opened in the web version of Office 2010.

    • This is really important for staff, because they can save an assignment, and know that all students can have access to it, whether or not they have Office on their own laptop. Mind you, anecdotally, it appears that students are just as or more likely to have a current version of Office on their laptop than the version on campus machines/

    Create PDF Document is something I have used quite a bit since discovering it – I can now take my Word document and turn it into something which is perceived to be more ‘professionally published’ because it’s a PDF. And it’s dead easy to use.

    • Although it’s probably not something used every day for assignments, it’s great for staff when they’re publishing anything for external or internal readers.

    PowerPoint has a new “Broadcast Slide Show” option, which takes your presentation and presents it live on a web page – with all the fancy animations and everything else. So now, if you’re delivering a lecture to more than just the students in the room, then everybody can be looking at the same thing, in high resolution and in real time, without needing any extra fancy software. All you do is share a weblink, and you’re ready to teach the world!

    PowerPoint’s new video features will genuinely make staff smile, because it just makes working with video easier, so that lecturers can include video in their teaching more easily. You can now trim the parts of the video to display – selecting when to start and stop the video automatically. It’s a doddle, just using the ‘Trim Video’ option, and dragging the markers to the start and end position. This is brilliant if you’ve got a long video in your library (eg a TV programme) that you want to only show 2 minutes from. Videos are now embedded in your presentation by default, meaning that your one PowerPoint file has all the bits it needs to run, rather than having to remember to copy all the video files.   And finally, you can now easily insert a video from websites like YouTube and TeacherTube just by clicking ‘Insert>Video>Video from Web Site’ and pasting in the embed code from the video.

    • I read in the Times today that schools are considering spending up to £10,000 a year on a filtering system for YouTube that stops the comments and related films showing up on the page. I guess this is a cheaper alternative! Because you embed the YouTube video you want in your PowerPoint, and nothing else. Job done – no comments, no related films. Fixed.

    There’s plenty more (if, like me, you live in your Outlook Inbox, there’s tons there that will make you happy too!). But the easiest way to discover what it can do is to download it, install it and give it a whirl. That way, you can work out whether it is something you want to build into your summer deployment plans (especially if you have a Campus Agreement, and you’re covered for new releases – it can help you to plan your free deployment!)


    I wouldn’t advise you to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I’ve been running the early versions of Office 2010 since last September, and this beta version since November. It’s given me the confidence that it works, and I know I wouldn’t go back now.

    PS If you’re going to do install it, can I highly recommend installing the Ribbon Hero too – and giving it to one of your least-innovative lecturers (the one that’s glued to their Office 2003 Menu, and doesn’t like the new Office Ribbon menus). Ask them to try it for a fortnight with Ribbon Hero, and see if they’ll go back!


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Slides from the Microsoft Higher Education Briefing 2010


    We held our annual briefing for UK Higher Education institutions today. We had an interesting mix of presentations, including universities sharing their experiences, plenty of technology sessions, and a great session from Dave Coplin on the shape of the future workplace - and it's implications for your IT systems.

    if you were unable to get here, or if you did and you want some of the slides, then you can download any of them below. The individual presentations are here, or you can open the folder to download them all from SkyDrive.

    Some of the attendees added their comments during the day on Twitter - you can see what they said here

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