September, 2011 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

September, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Bootcamp - Powered by UK Tech.Days Fun, Free & Open to all!



    Want to get up to speed quickly with Windows Azure?

    The Windows Azure Bootcamp will take you from knowing nothing about the cloud to actually having written some code, deployed it to the cloud service and made a simple application available on the public Internet. We’ll even give you a special free pass to help you get started.

    Back in May we ran some Windows Azure Bootcamps that we got some good feedback on (thanks to those who attended), so this time the camps will run for a whole day and we’ve got a camp held in Manchester as well as London.

    During the Bootcamp there'll be experienced people available to guide you through each exercise. Once you have the basics in place, you'll be up and running. To get your applications running, you'll need an Azure subscription, so we can provide you with a special free pass that will entitle you to four compute instances, 3 GB of storage, Two* 1GB Web Edition databases. You can carry on using this subscription until it expires, after you've left the training course. You don't need a credit card to activate this free pass.

    When you walk away from the Bootcamp, you can either de-activate the Azure application before you leave, or leave it running so that when you get home you can continue with your Windows Azure coding adventures. In any case you'll walk away with the code you've written on your laptop and an ability to modify it, test it locally on your laptop and deploy it to your free Windows Azure subscription any time you choose!

    If you're a developer who uses a laptop, you'll almost certainly have most of these development components already installed. Please pay particular attention to the SQL Server setup - you'll need to use the same account during the labs as the account that was used to install whichever version of SQL Server you decide on from the pre-requisites list.

    • A wireless-enabled laptop with either Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • Visual Web Developer Express or Visual Studio 2010 installed along with the Windows Azure SDK and Tools version 1.4 (including the SDK pre-requisites):
    • NET Framework 3.5 SP1
    • IIS 7.0 (with ASP.NET, WCF HTTP Activation, Static Content, IIS Management Console and optionally CGI)
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 or Microsoft SQL Server Express 2008 R2 or Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005 (please use the same user account to install this as you will use in the labs on the Bootcamp)
    • SQL Server Management Studio
    • Bring the power supply, you will be using the laptop all day.
    • A basic knowledge of programming concepts and familiarity with Visual Studio
    • A basic knowledge of web-programming and how Internet applications work
    • An understanding of the Microsoft web-stack (Windows Server, IIS, basic security etc.)

    Register for a bootcamp to get your complimentary Windows Azure Pass – we’ll send you all the necessary instructions following registration.

    Important Tip: Please ensure that you have completed all of the prerequisites (including getting your Windows Azure Pass) so you can maximize your time at the bootcamp to run through the practical labs and exercises provided.

    Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Azure Bootcamp today!

    Got a question? You might find the answer below…

    How much do I need to know about Windows Azure to attend this bootcamp?

    You don’t need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Azure to attend this bootcamp. The purpose of the event is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Azure.

    Who can attend the bootcamps?

    Academics, Students, developers, technologists, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about Windows Azure.

    How much does it cost to attend this bootcamp?

    Your luck's in - it's FREE.

    What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of the bootcamp?

    There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the bootcamp, listed above. Please make sure you are prepared so you can make the most of your day at the bootcamp.

    What if I have registered already and cannot make it on the day?

    Please let us know as soon as you can if you can’t make the camp as there’ll be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed. Thanks!

    Register at the event of your choice below. Go on. You know you want to.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    2011 Microsoft IT Academy UK Summit




    We would like to invite you to the 2011 Microsoft IT Academy UK Summit

    We shall be hosting this year’s event at the Microsoft UK headquarters at Thames Valley Park Campus on Wednesday 19th October from 9.00am.  Registration is now open and you can book your place here ››

    Speakers from Microsoft, industry and the academic community will be covering a full range of topics to set you up for the new academic year and to help you get the most from your IT Academy memberships.  Sessions and discussions will include;

    · How will the shift towards Cloud technologies change the skills that the IT Industry will demand?

    · Updates on new IT Academy benefits including free certification vouchers

    · Discover new technology releases and how they can help you, including Windows Phone and Kinect

    There will also be opportunities for networking with other academies, Microsoft employees and our education partners. Spaces are limited to 200 so make sure you book your place soon. 

    We all look forward to seeing you soon.

    Register Here >>

    Useful Resources

    Microsoft IT Academy Website

    The new MTA exams

    Free Student Software at Dreamspark

    Latest Windows Phone News

    Microsoft UK Education Website

    UK Innovative Teachers Blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft ITL Research – Helping develop an understanding of innovative teaching and learning practices



    Due to my role, I have interactions with Universities across the length and breadth of the UK. I have the great fortune of seeing best practices and some truly transforming faculties, departments and schools. From my visits I get to hear and learn from educators and  I’m always inspired and amazed with the activity which is being undertaken. However innovation in education is a global issue and something we all must work to solve and identifying innovative teaching practices and the impact that they can have on student outcomes is a great place to start.

    There is now a real need to transform education to align with the realities of life and work in the 21st Century. This is not just about the effective use of technology but about developing the future generation to be deeply engaged in the learning process and taking the initiative to learn and to continue to have the desire, passion and want to learn throughout their career.

    As part of Microsoft’s commitment to education transformation, Microsoft have initiated the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project

    The purpose of ITL is to contribute information and policy insights on where and how effective education transformation is taking place around the world. ITL Research is a multiyear global research program designed to investigate the factors that promote the transformation of teaching practices and the impact those changes have on students’ learning outcomes across a broad range of country contexts.

    Microsoft is working with global and local education leaders such as UNESCO and local Ministries of Education and will be sharing data and results openly with all research partners and with the broader academic education community.

    The goal of ITL is to recognise the importance of innovative teaching practices, inspire others to commitment to scaling innovation and creating a foundation for holistic education transformation. Another exciting component of this project is the opportunity for individual schools and leaders to take part.  Microsoft’s Partners in Learning School Research is a self-assessment survey research system that helps educators and school leaders understand and measure innovative teaching practices that develop the skills students need for life and work in the 21st Century.

    The online tool is an incredibly powerful tool that will give individual leaders an opportunity to measure and identify innovative teaching practices and compare and measure against the global survey results.

    The process is also very easy to administer…

    1. A school signs up on this website.
    2. A administrator from the school sends out the survey to all educators and leaders.
    3. Each educator and leader takes a 15 to 20 minute online survey about innovative teaching practices.
    4. Once the surveys have been completed, a research report based on the responses is sent to the administrator within 24 hours, who can then share it.
    5. The report shows measures of innovative teaching practices and examples of innovative teaching practices.
    6. The surveys can be repeated each year to track and measure progress.

    Visit to learn more about this project and how your school can take part.

    Also you can watch the video below which provides an overview.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone - “Mango” Jump Start Videos Just Released!



    Microsoft Learning hosted another new and exclusive Jump Start virtual training event featuring renowned MVPs Rob Miles, University of Hull & Andy Wigley AppMundi over 1,270 people joined the two-day event (Aug. 23-24, 2011).

    The two days of Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start was extremely popular and we are thrilled to announce the availability of HD-quality video recordings for FREE on Channel 9! There is over 14 hours of course content covering all aspects of Windows Phone development Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight, Expression, data storage, networks, user interface, XNA and the Marketplace.

    Format of training

    Team teaching with every module having engaging discussion, packed full of best practices and real-world demonstrations and examples.

    Where do I go for this great training?

    · Entire course on Channel 9: “Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start


    Links directly to specific modules:

    Mango Jump Start (01): Building Windows Phone Apps with Visual Studio 2010

    Mango Jump Start (02): Silverlight on Windows Phone—Introduction

    Mango Jump Start (03): Silverlight on Windows Phone—Advanced

    Mango Jump Start (04): Using Expression to Build Windows Phone Interfaces

    Mango Jump Start (05): Windows Phone Fast Application Switching

    Mango Jump Start (06): Windows Phone Multi-tasking & Background Tasks

    Mango Jump Start (07): Using Windows Phone Resources (Bing Maps, Camera, etc.)

    Mango Jump Start (08a): Application Data Storage on Windows Phone | Part 1

    Mango Jump Start (08b): Application Data Storage on Windows Phone | Part 2

    Mango Jump Start (09): Using Networks with Windows Phone

    Mango Jump Start (10): Tiles & Notifications on Windows Phone

    Mango Jump Start (11a): XNA for Windows Phone | Part 1

    Mango Jump Start (11b): XNA for Windows Phone | Part 2

    Mango Jump Start (12): Selling a Windows Phone Application

    Where can people learn more?

    After this Jump Start, please check out the Microsoft Learning Windows Phone training options to better understand mobile certifications and where to find instructor-led classes to help you and your students gain accredited certification into Windows Mobile application development.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows HPC with burst to Windows Azure - Code Samples now available




    Windows® HPC Server 2008 R2 SP1 enables administrators to increase the power of the on-premises cluster by adding computational resources in Windows Azure.

    With the Windows Azure “burst” scenario, various types of HPC applications can be deployed to Windows Azure nodes and run on these nodes in the same way they run in on-premises nodes.

    Were please to announced the availability of a selection of code samples which can be download for free, the samples include:

    • Parametric sweeps
      • CPU spinner
      • Image rendering on Renderman files (console client)
      • Image rendering on Renderman files (Windows Phone 7 client) - New!
      • BLAST - New!
    • SOA
      • Square Service
      • Asian Options service
      • Word-association service - New!
    • MPI
      • Pi (π) Calculator - New!
      • Tachyon ray-tracing - New!
    • Excel
      • Asian Options UDF

    The download also includes the AzureBlobCopy utility that is mentioned in the paper. This utility helps you copy files to and from Azure Storage, Azure Nodes, and on-premises computers.

    Note: Code samples that were added in the September 2011 update are denoted as "New!". MPI samples are supported on Azure Nodes that are deployed on a Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 cluster that has Service Pack 2 installed.

    There are also technical articles which provide technical overview of developing HPC applications that are supported for the Windows Azure burst scenario. The article addresses the application models that are supported, and the data issues that arise when working with Windows Azure and on-premises nodes, such as the proper location for the data, the storage types in Windows Azure, various techniques to upload data to Windows Azure storage, and how to access data from the computational nodes in the cluster (on-premises and Windows Azure). Finally, this article describes how to deploy HPC applications to Windows Azure nodes and how to run these HPC applications from client applications, as well as from the Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP1 job submission interfaces.

    Download the files

    The links in this section correspond to files available for this download. Download the files from below or visit

    File Name Size 60.0 MB Download 130.0 MB Download
    WindowsHPCBurstToAzureApps.docx 379 KB Download
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