Responses in Office Forms

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Yesterday I posted about my first experience of Office Forms and attached a form at the bottom for users to play with to answer my questions.  The form had three questions which were three different types of question types available which include Choice (used multiple choice), Text and Rating and I wanted to share the results so you could see what it looked like.  I spent the day watch the numbers grow and it also changes as more answers came through.  So thank you to the 32 who responded even though many of you may know nothing about the English Premier League and Aston Villa.

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The first question was multiple choice but I also left in an option for you to fill in your own.  People filled in the normal 4 answers but there were 5 other options added.  These 5 were added but not available to others to see.

The results first started as a pie chart but once we had 6 different types of answers it moved to being the bar chart.

Next to each question you can see a two way arrow in the top right.  When selecting this you get a table of answers.  Of course lots of these are anonymous but if the user is logged in, you can see who said this from their Azure AD display name.

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The second question was free text but did not have a requirement around it (where you needed to answer the question).  From the 21 people who did answer, on the home page (the first image of this post) you can see the last 3 responses but again when selecting the arrows you can see all answers.

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The final question was a rating (and thanks to those who rated Aston Villas season as a 2.68 our of 5 as I feel it was a lot worse than that).  By selecting the arrows you can see each users response.

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I mentioned yesterday that you could download a Excel spreadsheet of all the answers.  I still wish there was an option which asked if you would like to send it to your OneDrive for Business but just being able to get it in Excel is great.

In here we can see each of the users responses, time and who they were (with their User Principal Name as well as their Display Name).  The spreadsheet is already formatted with a table and easy to navigate.  The multiple choice question has each of their answers in the single cell while the others have their answers as well.

The spreadsheet is a lot better to see who answered what across the form.  When selecting the arrows in the browser you can’t easily navigate to see what the user gave across all their answer so this spreadsheet does help with that.  Just to take this data and add it to PowerBI now.

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First look at Office Forms for Office 365

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It caught me by surprise when Microsoft announced Office Forms in Office 365 Education as Microsoft have announced that only Education customers would get access to a preview.  With InfoPath forms now in extended support and no new solution from Microsoft, something like Office Forms was hoped to take your company forms to the next level.

Microsoft announced Office Forms would come to Office 365 Education customers first, so I jumped onto the my education test tenant and requested access.  Heard nothing back but found the URL from a recent blog post and decide to take a look and there we go, we have Office Forms.

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So there a few things to note from my first experience with this preview and these are mainly around the Forms you can build.

I’ve logged in with my organisation ID and the solution has its only app launcher style (not the Office 365 one).  At any time if I click on the Office logo/Forms in the top left, it takes me back to the landing page at the top.  Selecting the top three dots in the top right gives me chance to give Feedback, get help, navigate to my Office 365 Account Profile and sign out.

It’s very much has a bit of a Sway look and feel to the site with the rectangle box for each Form.

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When selecting New it very quickly takes you to a new form which I see this mainly as just a quizzing tool.  So for all you budding InfoPath specialist or SharePoint people expecting this to be the replacement, it not (well at least not at the moment).  It’s not asked me to create anything in SharePoint, asked for a relation with a Office 365 Group nor have I found anything that has changed in my Office 365 tenant so I believe this is a stand alone product.

Creating a Quiz

Having selected a new form, I can then start to create my quiz.  I can easily give it a name and a subtitle and then start to add my quiz questions.

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We have three types of questions we can ask which include Choice, Text and Rating.

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Choice really is what we expect with an easily to fill out question and options feature.  By default we have 2 answer options but can easily add more as well as an Other option allowing the user filling out the quiz to give their own answer.

We can also set allow multiple answers and set whether this question has to be answered (Answer Required).  We also have the ability to add a subtitle to the question should we want to give more context.

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A Text question allows you add a question and for the user to have free text for either a short or long length answer.

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With the Ratings question you can ask the user to give something either out of 5 or 10.  They can select their answer either as a number or a star.

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Sharing my Quiz

Once we have finished our quiz we don’t need to worry about saving as it has done this throughout the use of the webapp.  At the top, we can now Preview and Share the form.  We can preview it for both a computer view (your current view) or by selecting Mobile, see what it would look like in this state.

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You can share it as a URL, sending an email, it will provide you with a QR Tag or get a set of embed code.  You can also state at this point if users have to log in access the question and if they are allowed to answer the whole quiz multiple times.

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At the bottom of that fly out, you will see ‘More share settings’.  There are some great features here allowing you to apply a deadline and also for questions to be shuffled when loading allowing you to use this as a great classroom quiz.

Responses

The Responses tab gives you a great visual look at how people have answered with graphs, responses and the average score in a rating.

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There is also a Open in Excel which will download the quiz to your PC – I’m hoping this will be replaced with a Save to OneDrive option soon.

What to see my quiz, take a look at the bottom.

Adding Yammer to your Office 365 education tenancy

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Since it was first announced that Yammer was being made available to Office 365 Education customer for no additional cost, I’ve seen a fair few people and individual waiting for it to be added so they can use the enterprise solution for collaboration for groups, classes and teaching and learning.
Adding-Yammer

Well we’ve had to wait a little long that we had hoped but its now available for you to start using but you first have to provision your Yammer networks under you domain name.

To point out a few things first.

  • Yammer is not yet single sign on to Azure Active Directory so users will be asked to authenticate and they could have a different password between the 2 environments.
  • If you want single sign on to your Local Active Directory.  You can do this but it is a separate ADFS and DirSync install
  • Yammer licenses are added automatically to the user but you have to provision your tenancy first

To do the provisioning of your Yammer Network log into your Office 365 Education tenancy, from the dashboard look for included services

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In this section you will see Active Yammer Enterprise.  Click Yes to start the provisioning wizard

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Click Activate Yammer Enterprise and you’ll be advised that the process could take some time (1 to 30 minutes)

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By default all Office 365 Global Administrators will be made administrators in your Yammer environment.

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Each user now has to be signed up for Yammer.

Office 365 Education Starter Manual: 2013 Edition

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A while back when Office 365 Education was released I wrote a starter manual for the manage of your tenancy, some tips and tricks and best practices for you to implement the product into your school, college or university.

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As Microsoft have now released the new Office 365 with the Office 2013 stack I through it was only right to update the document, add and remove and bring it up to date for 2013.

You can either download it here (Office 365 Education Starter Manual) or view it at  (SlideShare: Office 365 Education Starter Manual).

Warwickshire County Council move their schools to the cloud with Office 365 and BFC Networks

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Warwickshire County Council are moving their schools to the cloud with Office 365.

Who is it for?

The new WeLearn365 service for Warwickshire Schools has recently been launched, providing the county’s schools with a new Education service built on Office 365 Education.

Download the full case study from the Microsoft Case Study website.

UK Council Offers 185 Schools Cloud Environment for Just £1.50 Per Student

What is it?

WeLearn365 provides schools with Microsoft hosted Exchange email and a “thin layer” portal, designed and developed on SharePoint Online from Office365 by BFC Networks.

The portal gives schools “80% of the features of most VLEs, but delivers 80% of what schools actually need”.

The system provides 25GB inbox per teacher and integration of the new Office Web Apps. By making familiar Office applications available from any browser, WeLearn365 will make learning far more accessible from a range of different devices and for families who cannot afford to license a full copy of Office2010 in their homes.

How does it work?

Schools plug-in online content and apps from a variety of sources to be used by teachers and students, both in the classroom and at home. Warwickshire and BFC networks have also developed the system to integrate the schools MIS data from Capita SIMS, which is hosted on a Microsoft SQL server farm at the Warwickshire HQ. By mixing some key “in county” private-cloud services for student data, with best-of-breed Microsoft public-cloud services from Office365, they’ve been able to achieve a very compelling proposition at a significantly lower cost than most traditional VLEs or school portals.

The interface was built with templates in SharePoint Online, enabling schools to quickly customise and personalise their own site with their school colours and logo.

The Warwickshire team and Microsoft partner BFC Networks have turned the generic SharePoint service in Office365 into something friendly and usable for any school.

Where?

All teachers and students across Warwickshire will also have access to a top level WeLearn365 site, enabling collaboration and sharing of best practice across the county.

Upgrading your Office 365 tenancy to Wave 15: Part 5 – Upgrading MyProfile

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Office 365 tenancies are currently being upgraded once it is completed you Exchange, Lync and Admin Portal are in the new 2013 style however your SharePoint environment stays in 2010 mode.

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The following walk through will go through the process of upgrading the MyProfile Site Collection from 2010 to 2013 allowing you users use the newsfeed tab at the top in 2013 allowing them to see a consistent view.

My recommendation would be to upgrade this site collection first as it will be used a lot by users and is a key element of the new navigation of Office 365 with Sites, Newsfeed and SkyDrive.

If you are the site collection administrator you will be shown a red bar at the top of the page allowing you upgrade now or later

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Here is my current profile site collection

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Having clicked Start now you will be taken to a ‘Prepare for takeoff!’ screen allowing you to request a demo upgrade.  This will take a day or two but will allow you as the administrator to see what the experience will look like.

 

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Having clicked the Upgrade this Site Collection it will ask you whether you are sure or not

 

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And then its the waiting game to upgrade.  You can still cancel it but once the upgrade has got a certain point, you won’t be able to cancel it.

 

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When it has finished it will refresh and give you a small report on the upgrade process.

 

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By clicking on the newsfeed tab you will then be taken to the new 2013 looks and feel My Profile/Newsfeed Site Collection

 

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This article is part of a series of articles on the upgrade process for Office 365 to wave 15

Upgrading your Office 365 tenancy to Wave 15: Part 3 – Postponing

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Don’t want your #Office365 to be upgraded to the new 2013 wave yet?  Then you only have 1 chance to postpone it and that is during the first 3 weeks of your 4 week notice of upgrades.

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At the bottom of the email you get about your 4 week notice, you will get P.S. saying you can postpone it.

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To postpone it you need to log into your Office 365 portal site at http://portal.microsoftonline.com with Global Administrator rights where you will be presented with the following at the top of the page.

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Click on Service update options to start the postponement.

You are now presented with a bit of information telling you that you don’t have to worry about anything when the upgrade happens and that there will be no service interruption.

The second part allows you to postpone the upgrade process.  This might be for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on your tenancy.

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Click on Postpone upgrade if you want to and it will tell you that you can only postpone it once.

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This article is part of a series of articles on the upgrade process for Office 365 to wave 15

How many ways can you use SharePoint in Education?

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There are many ways to get SharePoint 2010 in your school, whether you’re using it as part of a package from a supplier, using a hosting company to host your own SharePoint or using your EES license to host your SharePoint internally.

All of the successful SharePoint implementations I have seen are those that have integrated SharePoint into their daily school lives and don’t use it as just another web page that student and teachers use if they want to. There are loads of great examples of how schools use SharePoint in their school and have a 100% adoption rate but how can this be done for your environment?

I often talk to different schools about this very subject and I split the conversation into three different sections, management, learning and social. These three can be tackled by the school one at a time or all at the same time but each of these can help you integrate SharePoint into your school.

Whether you are looking at going with a third party hosting solution or building your own SharePoint, consider the following and ensure you can achieve these with the solution being provided.

Management

Any process in your school, whether it’s the approval of staff external training, hiring of equipment from IT or keeping the staff calendar up to date it, has a process from the request to information staff of the change/approval. SharePoint can help in any of these and any other process that comes to mind. Let’s take a look at how two of these processes can be used within in SharePoint.

Example – A member of staff requested some Maths training.

Navigate to the CPD site on their SharePoint and click on ‘’new request’’ which opens up Microsoft Word. They fill in the request and click ‘’save’’ which saves the document back to the CPD site. In the background, SharePoint is doing its thing and has emailed a copy of CPD Request to your manager for approval. They then open their email and get a link to the document which opens up in Internet Explorer using Office Web Applications and shows them the request you have made. They are happy and so they click ‘’approve’’ in SharePoint which sends off the email the finance department letting them know to send a purchase order to the training provider. During this time, two other emails have also been sent, letting the Timetable Manager know that you will not be in school on that training day and therefore need to arrange cover. The other email is to let you know that your course has been approved and you can attend.

Example – You want to borrow some digital cameras from the ICT Support department.

Navigate to the SharePoint page they have setup. You click on ‘’digital cameras’’ which loads a page that looks similar to your Outlook calendar and you look for you the time you want. You can see that another member of staff has them already booked at that time so you decide to use them the next lesson. You have to fill out an online form that includes the date and time and the room you require them in. When you have submitted the request, an email is sent to the ICT support team who approve the request. The day arrives for you to use the cameras but you are worried you don’t know how to use them. Help is at hand. Go to the same SharePoint page the ICT Support department use to book the cameras, see that they are still booked and there is a help wiki that’s been setup on the cameras which shows you everything you need to know.

Learning

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Pupils are given out worksheets all the time in class which, 9 times out of 10, are generated in Word or printed off the internet. Why give them something that can be lost, screwed up in the bottom of the bag or used as an excuse for not doing their homework?

SharePoint is a great tool for document storage and management. You can store any type of document and even edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in your internet browser without having to have these installed on your computer or smart phone.

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Documents can be tagged allowing you to easily find content with a same relevant name. As the English teacher, you can upload content for your Romeo and Juliet topic and tag all the documents with Romeo and Juliet included. With the right setup, it will automatically tag the documents with English and Shakespeare.

Social

There is always and underlining question where to use social networking in a school. Personally I believe that students use it every day out of school, so we should be doing the same within the school and integrate into their education. SharePoint can help in many ways with an educational stance.

During the learning section of the post we talked about the ability to tag documents. In SharePoint 2010 we can use these tags within the User Profile services.

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A student can subscribe to one of these tags allowing them to see content as it is uploaded. As a student, I am working on Romeo and Juliet in English and I see Romeo and Juliet in a Tag Cloud. This then allows me to see all updates made to this tag, giving me more information on each of my subjects as other use it in the school.

Each user has their own ‘’profile’’, allowing them to upload an image and give some general information about themselves. SharePoint allows us to manage this so don’t be worried if you don’t want photos. One of the features is the ability to say you are an expert in a subject. Link this to your tagging (like Romeo and Juliet) and a student can then use SharePoint Search to find the most relevant documents, the ability to filter and the most relevant member of staff who can help them on that subject.

SharePoint for All

Whatever the learning asset, document or process it can be done in SharePoint, don’t be afraid to ask someone on twitter or on a community forum such as Edugeek or the SharePoint User Group.

SharePoint Branding for Education

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Over the past few months BFC Networks have been working hard to change the way SharePoint looks in the education space.  By default SharePoint is very bland and doesn’t love much in its role to engage users. 

At BETT 2012 BFC Networks were proud to have Microsoft use the design on their stand to demonstrate how SharePoint doesn’t have to look like it doesn’t out of the box but instead it look existing, engaging and relevant to the education sector.

We are announcing today that we are now offering the design to any schools with SharePoint 2010 allowing them to change their environment to look attractive for their school.  The design will be available in the BFC Shop in a few weeks times but orders can now be taken.

If you like the design and want to use it for your SharePoint 2010 please get in touch by emailing info@bfcnetworks.com and we look forward to hearing from you.

Team Site

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Staff Portal Page

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MySite Profile Page

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Click image to see full view of the image.

Server naming scheme for your school

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I’ve spent a bit of time over the years and before writing this blog post about what would be right naming scheme for a small set of servers at your school.

Generally in medium and larger organisation you would have a single server doing a few smaller tasks and some servers just running a single application but this is different in schools with limited budgets as a server is required to do a lot more than just run DHCP or DNS or a single server application.

Looking back at one of my old jobs (when I was a trainee helpdesk administrator) I looked for a medium to large organisation of around 500 staff.  We had about 50 servers ranging from file servers, exchange 5.5 and servers for test, development and live websites.   It was important to help the support team, like me to have a good naming scheme for the servers but  the Network Manager for the organisation at the time had a different idea.

We had 2 FTP servers for external contracts to upload large files (rather than send them via email), the 1st was called Pickle and the 2nd was called Pickle2.  I still can’t think now how pickle and FTP link together but I guess the network manager at the time liked pickles.  The servers was running out of hard disk space so the Network Manager brought another server for FTP and called it Cheese.  So now we had 3 FTP servers called Pickle, Pickle2 and Cheese.  Very random!  I won’t go in Gromit and Gromit2!

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This same Network Manager put in a new file server (which was required) and called it Colossians.  Very quickly our number one helpdesk call was:

“I can’t connect to collosians” or it was “I can’t connect to Colossans”

Having the right naming scheme is important and when the Network Manager left a colleague and I decided we needed to get the naming scheme right and set out a plan.  There were 3 main locations in the organisations, Birmingham UK, Chicago USA and Delhi India.

The first part of the naming scheme would be the country, the second would be its main service and the third part be the number.

The new Exchange boxes were in the UK were called

  • BHX-EXC-01, BHX-EXC-02, BHX-EXC-03, BHX-EXC-04

The Chicago file servers were called

  • CHG-FIL-01, CHG-FIL-02

Your School

Some of these factors won’t matter to you but it is important that you have a good naming scheme for your school servers.  Now you can implement virtual machine and add them to your network very easily and quickly, it is important to have a good naming scheme for the different application and services that are going to run on your servers.  At previous schools I have worked we have had 2 different naming schemes but they made it easy for the IT staff to know what that servers were called and then easier for the teaching staff.

School 1

We started off with the first 2 characters representing the school name which started with H so HS (S for School), then a 2 letter character that represented the server.  Domain controllers were DC, Exchange EX, SharePoint SP, Exam software ES, the list continues and then a number for that server even if there was only going to be 1 server it was going to have a 2 digit number.

  • Domain Controller 1
    • HSDC01
  • Domain Controller 2
    • HSDC02
  • SharePoint 1
    • HSSP01
  • SharePoint 2
    • HSSP02
  • Exam Server 1
    • HSEX01
  • Application Server 1
    • HSAP01
  • Application 2
    • HSAP02

School 2

We kept it similar to this but couldn’t see the point in having the school name at the start so kept it to these

  • Domain Controller 1
    • DC01
  • Domain Controller 2
    • DC02
  • SharePoint 1
    • SP01
  • SharePoint 2
    • SP02
  • Exam Server 1
    • EX01
  • Application Server 1
    • AP01
  • Application 2
    • AP02

Conclusion

How ever fun it is to have funny and strange server names, in reality it can cause issues with teaching staff and your technical team.  Ensure you have a good naming scheme and you keep to it.  Document the application the servers run, put it up on the wall in the server room and your own working area.  The more the documentation the better.

I would love to have all my servers named after Jedi’s but I can’t remember how to spell all of them and when it comes to new staff starting, how are they going to get on!