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Cloud Computing

Office 365 Education, free or not?

By Christophe Reverd. The 14 March 2016

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The Vitrine technologie-éducation (VTÉ) has invited Joël Quimper, Technological Strategy Consultant for Microsoft Canada’s education network, to discuss the points raised in the Office 365 Education, free or not? Webinar which was held on Thursday February 25. The most salient points raised in the webinar will be answered here.

Video recording (in French) of the VTÉ webinar in collaboration with Microsoft Canada.

To begin, we should distinguish the following:

  • The personal offer (Office 365 University, Office 365 Personnel, Office 365 Family and Student, Office Online, Office Mobile, Office for Mac, etc.), which each person in education may choose to acquire.
  • The institutional offer (Office 365 Education), which educational establishments may opt to offer to their teaching and administrative staff and to students. This is the offer discussed in the webinar. 

The Office 365 Education offer is provided at no additional cost to establishments that have signed the Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) license and services acquisition contract with Microsoft.

Currently, the Microsoft Canada Office 365 Education offer includes:

  • Standard Functions (Office Online, Sharepoint and its derivatives, OneDrive unlimited for each user, email with 50Gb of storage as well as archiving and compliance management, etc.).
  • Additional functions which can be activated as needed by the administrative console manager (Sway, Skype for Business, Yammer, Project Online as well as ProPlus, including the possibility of downloading the Office software suite, for example). Please note that for some of these functions, payment may be required (such as Project Pro).

How to determine whether your establishment is admissible

To find out, click here. This page will allow you to determine whether your establishment has signed an EES agreement with Microsoft Canada and whether the students and employees can benefit from the Microsoft Canada free service function.

Who manages user activations and the Office 365 services?

By default, the Microsoft Canada free service function allows for the activation of Office 365 simply by sending an email. No action is required on the part of your establishment’s IT department. Despite this, several specific cases apply:

  • This list was established by Microsoft Canada on the basis of the domain name generally associated with each of the establishments. It may be possible therefore that the addresses of certain online services (such as the email addresses offered to students) use other domain names and consequently, they may not be recognized. In this case, all the IT department is required to do is to inform Microsoft Canada. In the case that your IT department would prefer to manage Office 365 internally, this can by done via a simple request to the software publisher.
  • It is possible that an establishment’s IT department has already activated its own Office 365 environment to connect with users and groups in the establishment’s online directory and it may therefore prefer to ensure management internally. In this case, activation requests to Microsoft Canada’s free service function will not connect; however, a similar mechanism should be made available to employees and students on the establishment’s Intranet.
  • The Office 365 administrative console manager also has the option to deactivate the establishment’s enrolment with Microsoft Canada without providing a reason.

How many computers may run Office 365?

Currently, when the Office Pro Plus software has been downloaded and activated by your Office 365 administrator, each user may install Office 365 Education on five computers as well as five tablets and five smartphones on the condition that they are running Windows, MacOS, iOS or Android operating systems. Each user can view and manage their installations via their Office 365 account.

Downloading and selecting the version of Office Suite

The Office 365 administrator is the person who selects the version to be downloaded—on the condition that they have a Pro Plus licence. Among the selection options found in the service and user software parameters * of the Office 365 control panel, the type of download can be specified to require users to download the most recent version only (Office 2016) or one complemented by the preceding version (Office 2013). In this same section, the administrator can opt to only allow downloading of Skype for Business for example.

* this link is only available to Office 365 administrators 

How to add functions to Office 365

Adding new subscription based services and modules * is possible from the Office 365 control panel. Terms and conditions are given. Some may be added at no extra cost (Project Online, Azure Rights Management and Power BI for example), while others require payment (including Power BI Pro, Visio Pro and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM modules), according to the licences installed in your version of Office 365 *. Note that from a technical standpoint, there is no difference between the Instructor and Student licenses, the only purpose for this differentiation is to facilitate distinguishing between the two groups of users.

* this link is only available to Office 365 administrators  

What happens to the data when a student or employee leaves?

When a teaching establishment deactivates an Office 365 account, there are several consequences:

  • Regarding the Office Suite software installed on the user’s equipment: 

The user has one month before being required to enter a new address to continue use. If, in the meantime, the user works or studies at another establishment, they will simply be required to enter the email address of their new establishment. If they have left the educational environment, the user will be required to purchase one of the offers listed below to continue using Office 365.

  • Regarding their data (emails, OneDrive contents, Sharepoint data, etc.) 

It is the responsibility of the user to transfer the services to their new account or to save them before they no longer have access to the Office 365 services associated with their former establishment. Microsoft recommends therefore that establishments develop a procedure with a set administrative delay to allow the former users time to find an alternative solution. From the time the establishment deactivates an account, it is preferable to put a Legal Hold on it rather than destroying it. This option freezes the account and allows the user to set up their new environment in case they return to studies or become an employee—within a reasonable time frame.

  • To avoid this situation, users may prefer to acquire one of the individual Office 365 offers; which would make them independent but without the full range of capacities and functions. Otherwise, they could acquire a permanent $11 licence, under certain conditions such as the Home Use Program (HUP).

Which Azure components and services are integrated into Office 365?

The essential components of Azure services are integrated into Office 365. This means Azure Active Directory (AD) which manages all the Office 365 users as well as Azure Rights Management. Registration and access to the Microsoft Azure administrative console is accessible from the Office 365 console; which is free. It is possible therefore to manage security groups and configure unique authentication (Single Sign-On, SSO) using Moodle or even Wordpress at no cost (with a maximum of ten applications). The use of any other Azure service will require additional costs as a function of their use. This is the reason a credit card number is required.

Who hosts the data in Canada?

Microsoft currently hosts the data of Canadian clients in American data processing centres. Microsoft has announced the creation of two Canadian data processing centres (in Québec and Toronto) to locally process data from Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online. These centres are gradually being launched. La Vitrine technologie-éducation will inform its members of the process to be followed to benefit from this as of this summer.

What is the best way to administer Office 365?

Windows PowerShell is the best option to administer Office 365 services. It is included at no cost in the institutional offer. Administrators who would like to learn more can find a complete list of Office 365 functions at.

Can Office 365 be run as an image for locations such as laboratory work posts?

There are two options for running the Office client. Rather than running the traditional .MSI, you can also use the Click to Run version found in “Manually deploy the client software” which is located in the Configure and Manage Devices in the Office 365 dashboard.

Can Skype for Business be used for remote training for groups of 20 to 30 people?

Yes, Microsoft Canada regularly uses it internally with more people though this depends on the available bandwidth. It is also possible to connect Skype for Business with Cisco equipment if a bridge is used. An API also exists to integrate Skype for Business into a specific development. The same post can be used for both the personal version of Skype as well as Skype for Business. The most common problems are caused by improper installation of the software version on a 32 rather than a 64-bit architecture and vice versa. Office 365 administrators can also authorize or prevent communications between these two types of users. There are two ways to activate this function. The first consists of authorizing all requests by default and the second is to only authorize communications between a list of pre-approved domains. Note that Office 365 also allows for the use of Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) protocols which exchanges data between teaching and learning platforms.

Can software in the Office suite manage several Office 365 accounts?

Yes, you can use an Office 365 Family and Office 365 Education account on the same machine at the same time. You simply have to add the related services by selecting “Account” in any software of the Office 365 suite. At least one of the accounts requires a valid license.

Other questions? Do you have any ideas for other webinars?

Let us know in the comments section.

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