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Friday, December 05, 2008

SharePoint Examples

I'm trying to help someone inside training at a large organization bridge what I talk about around eLearning 2.0 to their implementation of SharePoint. I'd like to find good examples of what other people have done with SharePoint in their organization. Can you help me find those examples or connect me with people in training organizations who are making use of SharePoint?

If you'd prefer - feel free to connect with me via email: akarrer@techempower.com

We are in the process of getting learning professionals to discuss the use of SharePoint for Learning. Please see SharePoint for Learning Professionals and connect with me around it.

15 comments:

Chris @ eQuixotic said...

Hey Tony,

For the past year, I've been spearheading the implementation of SharePoint for our course development work. Initially this was optional for our project managers, but it has proven so effective that it has now become our mandated course development project management platform.

Each course we develop has its own SharePoint site, with the project manager designated as that site's Administrator. The project SMEs are added as Contributors, and in-business customers who review and approve the material are added as Readers.

We have a site template we use for each course site featuring the page layout that has been the most effective for us. Each site also includes a link to a SharePoint tutorial I created using Articulate Presenter - SMEs are required to view this tutorial when the project begins.

I'm trying to drive our project managers to rely on SharePoint for all course-related interaction, i.e. using the Discussions feature on the SharePoint site rather than using email. This way all the information related to the course development project remains neatly contained in one place, which makes it easy for later review/auditing or course revisions. With so many people retiring from the federal government, it's important that we keep this data in a sharable format, and email just doesn't cut it.

We've certainly felt some growing pains (and continue to do so), but I don't think any of our project managers would willingly go back to the "old way" of doing things.

On a higher level, our corporate folks are trying to decide if they should consolidate their course development within their current development tool of choice (ForceTen, ugh), which now features resource management functionality, or use SharePoint. Personally, I think relying on something as proprietary as ForceTen would be a mistake - our authoring tools change with the tides, and locking everything up with a single vendor's tool would be a mistake. Not that SharePoint isn't proprietary, but it's much more universal, and Microsoft Office isn't going anywhere anytime soon (for good or for bad).

Now, if Microsoft could just make SharePoint more robust and reliable...(granted, we are using SharePoint 2003 - I don't know how much improved SharePoint 2007 is).

Erica Toelle said...

The Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS) was born from an eLearning scenario - the need for on demand video training for Microsoft's globally distributed sales force. It is available as a free download here: http://www.codeplex.com/pks

Business Solution overview: http://is.gd/fES

Feature overview: http://is.gd/anse

Please let me know if you have any questions. I work for 3Sharp (http://3sharp.com), the primary developer of PKS and we have implemented this solution for many companies.

Michael Palko said...

Tony,
Looking forward to speaking with you directly, but wanted to give you a summary of how I'm using SharePoint.

I work on a training team dedicated to educating internal staff (Sales, Services, etc). At the eLearning Guild's DevLearn 08 conference I attended a session that talked about how only 20% of what we need to know for our jobs is learned in a formal classroom setting. The other 80% comes from watercooler conversations, instant messages and impromptu hallway meetings. If others are not included in those, then there is a tremendous amount of information people are missing out on, despite the fact that it is going on under their noses. That conference just validated the work I had just begun.

My site includes members from Sales, Services (including Help Desk), Product Management and of course Training. I see it as a sort of cross pollination of teams; getting people who might not typically converse involved in information sharing that everyone benefits from. We use announcements, upcoming calendar events, discussion boards and podcasts...just added a feature that allows folks to send pictures from their mobile device too.

In the future, I see those of us in learning organizations becoming less of content developers and more "conversation managers."

It's an exciting time. Best of luck!

Anne Adrian said...

Tony,

I could tell you how we have started with Sharepoint. From "inside the organization", MS Sharepoint is offering us some benefits that we can't get from any one product.

I am far from an expert, but this is what I know:

Sharepoint is an platform, not an application. Sharepoint options, opportunities, and features depend on how the organization developments and designs its use.

Sharepoint is best utilized and designed "as you go". It is recommended that some basic structure is given, and then the users decide how it can best utilized. The structure, social components, and workflow are then decided--based on how users can benefit.

One thought I had during the eLearning conference was if you are working with an organization where a particular user is not happy with Sharepoint, it may not be a MS Sharepoint issue, but an issue with how Sharepoint is designed or constrained.

In our organization, the workflow, collaboration, and flexibility possibilities are giving us opportunities for "ground level" professionals to connect, develop, and share in a way that no one particular product has allowed.

I will be glad to discuss what I know with you.

From a learning standpoint, the collaboration and sharing capabilities are enormous; particularly, as we think how employees can teach and share with each other. But...it depends on a lot of factors as to how effective its use and capabilities are.

FWIW, MS Sharepoint can be used very effectively, but more open social media applications should also be used.

Ben Watson (Microsoft) said...

Microsoft offers a free SharePoint Learning Kit (SLK) under a Shared Source license and has also released for free the same internal tool used by Microsoft for creating E-Learning courses called LCDS (Learning Content Development System).

SharePoint Learning Kit (SLK)
The SharePoint Learning Kit
is a SCORM 2004 certified e-learning delivery and tracking application built as a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 solution. It works with either Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and has the following core features:
- Supports SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and Class Server content, allowing users to store and manage this content in SharePoint document libraries.
- Supports learner-centric and instructor-led (assigned) workflows.
- Allows assignment, tracking and grading of both e-learning and non-e-learning content.

Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS)
The Learning Content Development System is a free tool that enables the Microsoft Learning community to create high-quality, interactive, online courses. The LCDS allows anyone in the Microsoft Learning community to publish e-learning courses by completing the easy-to-use LCDS forms that seamlessly generate highly customized content, interactive activities, quizzes, games, assessments, animations, demos, and other multimedia.

Sincerely,
Ben

Ben Watson
Director, Microsoft Learning
LinkedIn profile

Clark said...

Tony, I blogged briefly about SharePoint just the other day, not near as eloquently as these great examples from others, but look at Kevin Jones' comment.

Michael Ritter said...

My university is in the process of testing SharePoint. My understanding is that it heavily relies on IE to build and design sites within it. It may not "play nice" with other browsers for development. Does anyone else have information regarding this?

Andy Smith said...

Michael Ritter, I develop Sharepoint content for my company. IE is our corporate-standard browser. I know some people, however, still use Firefox, so I periodically check our sites on Firefox. The worst I've noticed is some unsightly (but not critical) display problems. I haven't run into any functionality problems.

Michelle said...

Tony, it's probably worth mentioning that ASTD uses Sharepoint. At least, they've rolled out Sharepoint to local chapters, including ours, and I can only assume they're using it on a larger scale. I'd personally love to know what went into their decision to purchase and implement Sharepoint on such a large scale.
I've been fairly unimpressed with their training on how to use Sharepoint, so I'm convinced there's a better way to instruct it. I've done mostly self-educating.
And someone asked about browsers? Our GCASTD site only works 100% in IE, which makes my testing a little difficult. Developing in Sharepoint is only possible in IE, as Firefox seems to blow it up, and that also makes it rather difficult for me on my Mac.
On the up side, it's standardizing a lot of the local ASTD chapters, and I think that's fantastic. Sharepoint does some things really well.

Joe Deegan said...

Good ol' Sharepoint! I've definitely had my wins and losses. I work for a retail sales organization with spread out stores. We implemented Sharepoint 03 about 4 years ago and are getting ready to upgrade to 07 now. I was tasked with the role of content manager and trainer and it's no small task. One of the major lessons I learned is that you can't just train people how to use it and expect them to use it. At the beginning it is important to point out opportunities where it can be used and to help people use it successfully.
We mainly use it as a document storage and project collaboration tool. It has been great for pushing out communication to our distributed work force. A big benefit for us is that it cut down on the amount of emails being sent and nearly eliminated attachments. Inboxes are smaller now but it took a lot of work to get to this point.
However, Sharepoint 03 does have it's quirks and there is definitely room for improvement. When accessing a Sharepoint site through browsers other than IE everything looks okay and most everything works for the end user but not for the administrator. As a Firefox user, the biggest frustration for me has been managing user security profiles in a Firefox browser. I have also found some of the page editing function do not exist in a Firefox browser.
I'm looking forward to our upcoming implementation of Sharepoint O7 and surely will be blogging about my experience.

Anna @ RWTH said...

Hello Tony,

I have another interesting SharePoint example for you and readers of your blog. RWTH Aachen University, which is one of the largest universities of technology in Germany and one of the most renowned technical universities in Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RWTH_Aachen), has developed a learning and teaching portal called L²P, which is based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. It is integrated with the campus management system and the identity management of RWTH Aachen University. Main reasons for choosing MOSS were the need for professional technology with respect to operation, performance, and data security as well as the support of integration facilities (e.g., web services and single sign-on), modern and sustainable programming languages like C# and ASP.NET, and a mature and familiar user interface.

Using L²P was designed to be simple: Lecturers at RWTH Aachen University enter their courses in the electronic course catalog and book rooms and lecture halls within the university-wide campus management system. They are then able to create virtual course rooms by one click.

L²P-course rooms are made available through the central, university-wide e-learning portal. All virtual course rooms are structured alike and provide the same functions (e.g., announcement functions, discussion forums and wiki-pages). Functions, which will not be used, can be disabled by the manager of the virtual course room so that they are inoperative and visually hidden. Thus, course rooms are customizable but adaptability is limited in favor of a clear homogeneous structure of all course rooms. Virtual course rooms look very similar to improve clarity, to reduce administrative workload of lecturers and to enable usage practice and thereby faster access for all users.

While working with a virtual course room, lecturers upload course materials including slides, scripts, video recordings and compile catalogs of literature. They can set up lists of hyperlinks to relevant websites, write announcements, or create surveys and electronic tests to check the learning progress of their students. Supported by integrated workflows, they can request digitalization of literature that will be examined on the basis of German copy-right and in case of approval be carried out by staff of the universities library. Course rooms also support several ways for communication and collaboration between students, tutors, and teachers. Similarly, students can access all relevant information and materials of their courses at one website via the web.

The described platform has been well-adopted among lecturers and students of RWTH Aachen University since it was introduced university-wide in the beginning of summer term 2007. A rough estimation indicates that to date nearly all courses at RWTH Aachen are accompanied by a course room of the e-learning portal L²P (currently 1,500 virtual course rooms per semester).

Sincerely,
Anna

Anna Dyckhoff,
CiL, RWTH Aachen

Anonymous said...

one more example of SharePoint Learning management system is Learning management system for SharePoint

Vladimir said...

While googling found a case study of implementing SharePointLMS into College:

http://www.lerneffekt.de/fileadmin/material/sharepointlms/Case_Study_SharePointLMS_English.pdf

dmillard said...

I just read your post on the SharePoint in training and thought I would add in. I worked in Dubai for several years at a college. We did not have access to, or understanding of, an LMS at the time. I managed to work with SharePoint 2003 to create a relatively collaborative environment where teachers and students could share files and information. It really enabled a collaborative environment that also, interestingly enough, enhanced quality assurance because for once the teachers knew what others were doing and people could now look in on their classrooms/materials. Suddenly sharing and collaboration became the norm and not the exception. We used a tabbed meeting space with each course on its own tab but everyone, teachers, students and management, had access to all tabs. Students were now looking for extra work in other teachers folders and asking their teachers to explain this. There was a shared calendar where everyone could see all the assessments and plan theirs to make sure that students weren't overloaded. The students raved about it.

The features that I always wanted, like wikis and a better RSS mechanism, were enabled in MOSS 2007 but I left the college there before it was implemented. I do have examples of it on my site if you are interested in seeing, just let me know. Sadly, I do not have access to the site anymore.

Anonymous said...

@dmillard .. can i have some detailed information for mysite implementation