Microsoft announced Office 365 for Education this week, and I decided to find out how easy it was to get started with Office 365 for Education. (See my earlier review SharePoint in Office 365- the Good, the Bad, the Brilliant and the Ugly for more on Office 365 SharePoint in general.)
Starting the trial is very easy. I went to my computer about 16.20pm and filled in a simple form signing up for the UK version of Microsoft’s A3 education plan. You don’t need a credit card and you don’t need to prove educational status to start the trial (though you need this to use it for real).
The account gets set up within a few seconds, but SharePoint needs a few minutes to be provisioned:
But by 16.28 I’m into the SharePoint administrator system and it’s set up 3 site collections for me
And with a bit of exploring I found by 16:35 the team site which looks very familiar to other new SharePoint sites as you can see below. I used the domain name sharepointlearn for my trial, and so my SharePoint site is called sharepointlearn.sharepoint.com and my admin area is called sharepointlearn-admin.sharepoint.com.
From then on, it’s just a question of using SharePoint, not all the features of On Premise SharePoint are present in Office 365 for Education, but most of them are. And it’s all set up for me in no more than 15 minutes. You can probably do it in 10 minutes if you weren’t taking screenshots while doing it …
It looks as though SharePoint within Office 365 for Education is similar to that in other editions of Office 365. See my earlier articles for some technical how-tos for including assessments within SharePoint in Office 365:
- Call assessments from Office 365, authenticating via Active Directory
- Want to use Office 365 for learning? Four ways to use assessments within Office 365
- How to pass candidate name into an assessment from Office 365’s SharePoint Online
Compared to the huge effort to install, maintain, set up search, set up load balancing and manage SharePoint on premise, Office 365 for Education looks very interesting. And that’s just for SharePoint – of course you also get Lync, Exchange and Microsoft Office as well.
There are things you can do on premise that you can’t do in Office 365 (e.g. make a fully functional SharePoint public website), but the ease of setup and management makes SharePoint if Office 365 look very interesting for Education.