With the release of Office 365, little is still know about its partner, Office 365 for Education. This variation of Office 365 is set to be the successor to Live@edu, but there are five points that should be noted.
- Live@edu users will not be automatically upgraded.
- Very little will change if you do upgrade.
- Just because Office 365 offers Sharepoint Online and Lync does not mean you will get it.
- Blackberry users may finally get an Exchange reprieve.
- Get familiar. You’ll likely be using it in industry.
This article can be found in full at: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-office-365-for-education/11267?tag=search-results-rivers
Single Sign On is a really useful tool to save users having multiple usernames and passwords and enables them to use their corporate login details for other services. Single Sign On is not available with the Small Business version of Office 365, but is available with Enterprise versions. Single Sign On has many benefits, including, policy control, access control, reduced support calls, security and support for strong authentication.
To use single sign on you must:
- Have active directory deployed and running Windows Server 2003, 2008 or 2008 R2.
- Install all required updates for Office 365 from Microsoft.
- Use the Microsoft Online Services Module for Windows Powershell to establish a trust with Office 365.
- Plan for and deploy AD FS 2.0 on Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2.
The full article for preparing Office 365 and Single Sign On can be found here: http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/Office365-enterprises/ff652540.aspx
Another more in depth article can be found here: http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-enterprises/ff652539.aspx
The big advantage of Office 365 for Education is the low cost. To have all the services that Office 365 can offer, running and maintaining on-premise systems is far more expensive. Office 365 can offer students free Exchange Email and free SharePoint Online, which includes Office Web Apps. There will be a per user per month charge for staff for some functionality.
One great advantage, that again can save money, is that price plans can be mixed and matched to meet the needs of the workforce. So for example some members of staff may not need the SharePoint functionality, so they could be assigned a lower price plan, which could be free depending on services required. (UK Price plans still to be confirmed for Office 365 for Education).
Office 365 can also offer students Lync Online, again for free. This enables easy collaboration on assignments and instant team meetings as well as instant messaging, voice and even video chat with the click of a button. You can also see who is online, just like many other IM providers.
All of these features can be combined with the Office Desktop software for a small charge (per user per month) for both students and staff who wish to combine the services to give a more complete package.