SharePoint Learning Kit for SharePoint 2010

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SharePoint Learning Kit is currently used in many industries but it has mainly been developed to be used in education sector. This E-Learning Tool can bring a different element of learning to pupils giving them access to their marks on work automatically having submitted it to the server.

In this scenario whitepaper we will look at 4 different ways SharePoint Learning Kit can be used ranging from a single site to a whole school to multiple schools.

What is SharePoint Learning Kit?

SharePoint Learning Kit also known as SLK is an E-Learning delivery application that is built to run on top of SharePoint 2007 and 2010. The certified SCORM 2004 product allows content from a SharePoint document library to be assigned, tracked and then marked to a group of learners.

Supporting SCORM 2004, SCORM 1.2 and Class Server content the learning resource can be assigned by the individual to themselves and to a group.image

This SharePoint feature can be used in all version of SharePoint including the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and SharePoint Foundation 2010.

SharePoint Learning Kit is currently at version 1.5 and available in 29 international languages. To download SharePoint Learning Kit navigate to http://slk.codeplex.com and click on the download button.

Assignment List Web Part

With SharePoint Learning Kit there is one web part that is called the Assignment List Web Part which has 2 functions. For the instructor it allows the member of staff to see the number of students that have submitted work. For the Learner it lists all the assignments they have to complete in that SharePoint site.

SLK Learner

When a student logs into the site and has the Assignment List Web Part of their page they are given a list of all the assignments they have to complete with the score they can achieve.

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To start the assignment the learner will select the name of the assignment which will take them to a holding page that will list information such as the description, date of completion and the final score they could achieve. To start the assignment they select Begin Assignment.

SLK Instructor

If a SharePoint User is assigned as a SLK Instructor they have the permission to assign files from a document library to any assigned SLK Learners accounts. Once an assignment has been set, the Assignment List Web Part will list the assignment name and the number of students that have submitted their assignment.

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An instructor can select the assignment name from the Assignment List Web Part and then view the score the student received from the assignment. As this assignment was a SCORM file with questions set out in the assignment the server has automatically given a score to the student. This score can be changed by the instructor and then any comments that have been added are sent back to the learner for them to review.

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E-Learning Actions

Both the instructor and the learner can use the E-Learning Actions button. This feature turns the document in a document library into an assignment allowing you to assign the file to yourself as an individual or a group of learners.

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On the following page the user is asked if they would like to assign the document to themselves. If the user is an SLK instructor they will also see the name of the site that they can assign the resource to.

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Having selected a group you can then select the date the assignment should appear in the student Assignment List, when they have to have the assignment completed by and any other instruction you may want to give them. Towards the bottom of the page you can then select either to assign to the whole group or different individuals. You may want to use this feature to assign different levels of work to students with different abilities in the group.

SharePoint 2010 Site Template ID Numbers

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Here are a list of all the site template ID numbers that you can use in SharePoint 2010.  When creating a new site through Powershell or STSADM you are asked to provide the site template ID for each of the sites.

Site Definition Site Template ID
Team Site STS#0
Blank Site STS#1
Document Workspace STS#2
Blog BLOG#0
Group Work Site SGS#0
Visio Process Repository VISPRUS#0
Basic Meeting Workspace MPS#0
Blank Meeting Workspace MPS#1
Decision Meeting Workspace MPS#2
Social Meeting Workspace MPS#3
Multipage Meeting Workspace MPS#4
Assets Web Database ACCSRV#1
Charitable Contributions Web Database ACCSRV#3
Contacts Web Database ACCSRV#41
Issues Web Database ACCSRV#6
Projects Web Database ACCSRV#5
Document Center BDR#0
Records Center OFFILE#1
Business Intelligence Center BICenterSite#0
My Site Host SPSMSITEHOST#0
Personalization Site SPSMSITE#0
Enterprise Search Center SRCHCEN#0
Basic Search Center SRCHCENTERLITE#0
FAST Search Center SRCHCENTERFAST#0
Enterprise Wiki ENTERWIKI#0
Publishing Portal BLANKINTERNETCONTAINER#0
Publishing Site CMSPUBLISHING#0

Configure SharePoint 2010 Search to crawl file servers

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SharePoint Search can do so much more than just search your SharePoint sites and one of the features with in SharePoint 2007 and 2010 is the ability to search a file share.

Here is how to configure SharePoint to crawl a file server.

In my environment I have 2 servers.  A domain controller that is a file server and also a single SharePoint 2010 server farm.

Configure SharePoint Search

Log into your Central Admin and go to your Search Administration page.

Down the left hand navigation select Content Sources

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Select New Content Source

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Give a name to the content source and select File Shares as a Content Source Type.

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Add the UNC path for the shared documents.

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If you want just that folder to be searched select ‘Only crawl the folder of each start address’.

Select up any crawl schedules you want.

Select OK to save this new Content Source

Configure File and Folder Permissions

The SharePoint Search Crawler will run under a user and this user requires permission to the shared folder.  To ensure you know which user is crawling you can do this on your file server by opening the File Services Snap In and selecting Manage Session from the Action panel.

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You will see which user is connecting to that share.

Add the user to have Read Only permission to that share and folder.

SharePoint 2010 Document Library Views and Styles

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Out of the box with SharePoint 2010 you can have 7 different style/views for you documents

Default View

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Basic Table

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Document Details

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Newsletter

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Newsletter, No Lines

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Shaded

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Preview Pane

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Change your document view and style

Navigate to your document library.

Click on Library and click Modify View

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Navigate down the page until you see Style and expand this group.

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Select the style you want

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SharePoint Search for Education: Part 2 Search Centre

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There are many ways to search in SharePoint but within the product there is one site template that is called the Search Centre.  This site gives you the ability to search anywhere in your environment including other locations that we have configured in the search crawler.

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When designing your SharePoint environment consider having a separate URL for search such as https://search.newwaveacademy.com.  By Implementing Search Centre by its own URL staff and students know a single URL to search for any content in your establishment instead of having to navigate through other SharePoint sites.

People Search

Search Centre will also give you search results for the most relevant user in your environment.  Here’s an example:

A student is working at home and is stuck on their Romeo and Juliet homework.  They log onto the Search Centre and type in Romeo and Juliet.

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In the search results they are given all the documents that are relevant to the search results but in the top right you are given the most relevant member of staff.

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SharePoint Search will crawl MySites to see what users have been uploading in their profile.  A member of staff may have identified themselves as an export in Romeo and Juliet and have set their ‘Ask me about’ to this content and others.  Search has crawled this profile field and will present the user searching for this topic as a possible user to contact about this subject.

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Filtering Search and Metatagging

Down the left hand side when you have searched you are given the ability the filter the search results by location, creator of the document and tags.

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When uploading a document you are given the opportunity to tag the document with keywords.  If I’m uploading an image that is relevant to Romeo and Juliet I may tag it with Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare and Act 1 so when searching I can see other relevant keywords to my search.

Search Centre Features

Within Search Centre we have some additional features, these include:

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  • Email Alerts
  • RSS
  • Search from Explorer

Email Alerts

Use the email alert feature to be emailed when new items have appeared in the search results.  This save you having to search again to see if there any new items.

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RSS

Subscribe to the search results using RSS and see the latest results in your RSS Reader.

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Search from Explorer

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft introduced the ability to search from the start menu.  From here you can search for documents, emails and applications. 

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Once this search connector has been add you can search the search centre from you desktop.

Add a banner to SharePoint 2010

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One of my most popular blogs is Adding a Banner to your SharePoint but is for SharePoint 2007.  Here is how to do it for SharePoint 2010.

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Banner Image

You need to create a banner at the top of the page.  The image by default is replicated so I have created a large wide image which is 2500px by 100px you won’t see the replication.

Banner

Building the CSS

We need to create our own CSS file which will be uploaded with the banner image into the same folder.

On your desktop create a new file and call it newcss.css.  Open the file in notepad and add the below code.  When your site is loaded, SharePoint will also look at this CSSfile but first we must tell SharePoint to look at this file.

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.s4-title {

 

    background:#F9F9F9 url('/SiteAssets/banner.jpg') repeat-x 0px 0px;

 

    margin:0;

 

    min-height:121px;

 

    overflow-x:hidden;

 

    padding:30px 0 0 310px;

 

    word-wrap:break-word;

 

}

 

Reference CSS in V4 Master Page

As mentioned above we need to tell SharePoint to load the new CSS file.

Go to Site Actions and Site Settings.  Under Galleries you will see Master pages.  You will now see a list of different files and search for v4.master.  Open this file in SharePoint Designer

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We are going to add a line of code that will load the new CSS file.  Add the code to line 36 on its own line.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/siteassets/NewCSS.css" type="text/css" media="screen" />

 

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All we need to do now is upload the CSS file and the banner image.

Down the left hand side of your SharePoint page click on ‘All Site Content’ and open the Site Assets library.

Upload the CSS and banner image into this library.

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When you next refresh your page you will be able to see your banner on the page.

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Submitted Banners

Big thanks and congratulations to Paul Martin who submitted his banner to me.

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The default termstore for this site cannot be identified

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While creating a site column which uses metadata you may come across the error  ‘The default termstore for this site cannot be identified’.

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To solve this issue open Central Admin and go to the Manager Service Applications.

In the list search for your Managed Metadata Service.

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Select the Managed Metadata Service Connection and click on Properties which is located in the Ribbon.

For you to use this feature in your site columns you need to have a default location to store column metadata.  Check ‘This service application is the default storage location for column specific term sets.’

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You can now create the custom terms for your column.

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Office 365 and live@edu

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In the past week Microsoft have released news regarding their new BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services) which is their online services available to business which include Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint.

Previously in the year Microsoft released the latest versions of their productivity suites such as Office 2010, Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010.  These services are now being made available on their BPOS system under the new name of Office 365.

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There has been a lot of talk about live@edu and its integration with SharePoint 2010 ( Microsoft’s live@edu to add SharePoint) since November 2009 but it has now been announced and the transition of the current live@edu services to Office 365.

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When live@edu has been transitioned into the new Office 365 what are we going to get?

  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010
  • Microsoft Lync 2010

You can read more on the live@edu website http://www.microsoft.com/liveatedu/learn-about-office-365.aspx

Can you get more than one person to open my subject tracking sheet?

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Having spent many years in schools there has always been a question that has been asked by a member of the teaching staff, ‘Can you get more than one person to open my Excel tracking sheet at the same time?’. 

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Most schools will have Excel spread sheets that have information about pupil estimated grades, predicted grades and other information around their students work.  They will mainly have one for each class in their department and spend a lot of time filling in cells on the pupils marks. 

The Problem

The main issue over the years has been that only one member of staff has been able to modify an Excel spread sheet at a time, locking out the file until they have closed it then allowing another member of staff to add any of their data.

This has resulted in each teacher creating their own tracking sheet per class they teach so they don’t have to worry about others using and locking the file out. 

Speaking to Heads of Department and subject leaders they have always wanted to be able to see how students are doing across their department and opening several to a hundred spread sheets can become very annoying, time consuming and you don’t get a rough idea of how the pupils are really doing.

The Answer to the Problem

Having been asked the same question over the last 10 years and giving the same answer there is now a answer to one of the biggest IT questions in schools!

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In the new release of Office 2010 and Office Web Applications a new feature has been added called ‘co-authoring’ allowing multiple users have access and modify the same Excel file at the same time.

So how does it work?

In previous versions of Microsoft Office when a user is modifying a file it would lock the whole file out to everyone else  but in Office 2010 this has changed.

Taking a tracking sheet as an example.  In Office 2007 and below when a member of staff opened the tracking sheet in Excel they would open the whole file. Locking the file so only one user can open it.  If another member of staff tried they would get an error message. The same as the message at the top of this blog post.

In Office 2010 things have changed.  keeping to our tracking sheet as an example, when a user opens a spread sheet it doesn’t lock the file, it still allows other users to connect.  Even though the first member of staff has opened the fie and modifying cells another member of staff can open the file and edit other cells.

In Excel 2010 instead of locking the whole spread sheet it only locks the individual cell that the member of staff is using, allowing other members of staff to add data in other cells and other sheets within the spread sheet.

Here is a Excel tracking sheet I have for my demo school called New Wave Academy.  The data holds information on all my pupils in the same year group and the subject is ICT for their certificate/diploma course.

The spread sheet has loads of formula based cells and as I fill in more information different cells change to say if the pupil is achieving a Pass, Merit or Distinction.  It also has some conditional formatting allowing me to see the status of grades via a colour scheme.

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I’m now going to upload this Excel spread sheet to my SharePoint 2010 based Learning Platform.

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I can now select the tracking sheet I want to open and from properties list you will see that it says ‘Edit in Browser’.

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When opening the spread sheet in the browser it looks very similar as it did in the full fat client.

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What we can see in the bottom right hand corner of this web page is ‘1 person editing’ and if we click on this we can see that 1 user is editing the file (myself – the System Account).

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I’m now going to get another user to do the same and open this spread sheet in their web browser.

In the bottom right hand corner I now see it says ‘2 people editing’ this file and when I click on it I get a list of all the users connected and editing.

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So I’m now changing the file as well as my friend and the changes they make are replicated to my screen and the same is happening to them.  All the changes are saved straight away and my colour scheme is kept up to date.

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My head of department can now load this spread sheet up and see what is happening in all year groups