Live@edu and DreamSpark – give your students free professional tools from Microsoft

As I like to post… Live@edu is not just about providing your students with access to free collaborative tools and an email service… there are all sorts of goodies out there that Microsoft offers that are too compelling to ignore 🙂  One such offer is our DreamSpark program.  If you’re a current university or high school student, you can download professional Microsoft developer, designer, and gaming software through DreamSpark at no charge. 

So where does Live@edu come into the picture?  Through Live@edu, and at its most fundamental level, an institution administrator can create managed student identities (Windows LiveIDs) in a common namespace simply by creating Outlook Live MailBoxes, or Outlook Live MailUsers with LiveIDs.  The domain associated with the LiveID namespace can be enrolled with the DreamSpark program so that all a student has to do to access the DreamSpark benefit is log in with their institution supplied LiveID, and verify their school.

Some institutions that I talk to think that they have to sign up for the full Outlook Live email offer to get managed LiveIDs… that is not necessarily the case, and we certainly do not want customers to think that they have to take our email service, especially if they:

  • don’t want a student email service at this time.
  • have an existing email service for students that is not Outlook Live.
  • run a simple forwarding service for students to relay mail to personal email services (like Hotmail).

In these cases, you can enroll in the Live@edu program for Outlook Live, select the Outlook Live service, and then simply use a CNAME Record to Prove Domain OwnershipUsing an MX Record to direct mail to your Outlook Live domain can be ignored.  You still have a managed LiveID domain in your possession, however, so as stated above, either create Outlook Live MailBoxes (which can be disabled if needed), or Outlook Live MailUsers with LiveIDs.  Give the credentials to the students, and they will be ready to go!

I have recently been working with a customer of mine on accessing the DreamSpark benefits.  Here are the directions we came up with…

Enrolling for DreamSpark

Verifying that your institution is already enrolled in DreamSpark

  • Navigate to the DreamSpark homepage: https://www.dreamspark.com/Default.aspx
  • Click the Sign In button at the top right of the page.
  • Sign in with a Live@edu managed LiveID (e.g. jimjones@smail.contososchool.info).
  • If prompted, provide additional account information such as secret question/answer, alternative email address, country, state, Zip. All users will be prompted if this is the first time they have used their LiveID user account.
  • Click on the Get Verified link (step 2) at the left side of the screen.

  • Select your continent (e.g. North and Central America)
  • Select your country (e.g. United States)
  • Select your state (e.g. Washington)
  • Select your city (e.g. Lakewood)
  • Verify your institution’s listing in the Select your school/ organization box.

If your institution is already approved by Microsoft for the DreamSpark program, you will see it listed in the Select your school/ organization box. This should mean that any student that logs in with a LiveID that is associated with what Microsoft has on record should be able to access DreamSpark with no issue. If however your domain is not enrolled with us, or if the student email domain is not the same as the internet domain we have on file, you will need to contact Microsoft to inform us about the domains you need.

For example, in the case of Pierce College (http://www.school.edu/), the student email domain is @studentmascot.net; the domains are different. In this case, the customer may need to enroll studentmascot.net with Microsoft.

Creating a DreamSpark enrollment for your institution

Every 2 weeks (at the time of writing) a synchronization happens between our Live@edu service and the DreamSpark service to whitelist all of the new domains that have been created.   So depending on when you enroll a new domain with us, you may have to wait a while before DreamSpark becomes available for your students.

If you suspect that there are issues, please log a support call with Microsoft through http://eduadmin.live.com/.  

Accessing the DreamSpark benefit as a student user

  • Navigate to the DreamSpark homepage: https://www.dreamspark.com/Default.aspx
  • Click the Sign In button at the top right of the page.
  • Sign in with a Live@edu managed LiveID (e.g. jimjones@smail.contososchool.info).
  • If prompted, provide additional account information such as secret question/answer, alternative email address, country, state, Zip. All users will be prompted if this is the first time they have used their LiveID user account.
  • Click on the Get Verified link (step 2) at the left side of the screen.

  • Select your continent (e.g. North and Central America)
  • Select your country (e.g. United States)
  • Select your state (e.g. Washington)
  • Select your city (e.g. Lakewood)
  • Select your institution’s listing in the Select your school/ organization box.
  • Click the Continue button.
  • At the Congratulations page click the View All Products To Download button.
  • Click the button for the product you wish to download.
  • Enjoy!

During subsequent sessions, simply log in with the Live@edu LiveID and go directly to the Download link at the left hand side of the welcome page.

Happy DreamSparking!

Jonny

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