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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

SharePoint Templates for Academic Departments

One of my Top 10 eLearning Predictions for 2010 was “Lots of SharePoint”.  I received the following inquiry in between the time I finished writing my predictions and when it went live:

I found your post, SharePoint Examples, regarding finding others using SP in training organizations.  I have recently been charged to lead a team to assist with the design, look, feel and governance of our existing SP deployment.  I work at a University and one of our first task’s is to work on a template that might meet 80% of an Academic Departments needs.  Things like a policy and procedures, meeting agenda, budget, etc. I’m wondering in your search if you’ve come across others who  may have created a more customized template that better suits the needs of a department vs the out of the box templates that you might be able to share.

This is an example of a kind of request that is going to happen quite a bit.  I actually don’t know where to find templates that might go behind the kinds of use cases that I discuss in Using SharePoint or that is described above.  In fact, I don’t believe these are even called templates, so …

What would you call what this person is looking for?

How would this person find SharePoint templates that they could use / modify for their purposes?

Please help.


Matt Hughes said...

I don't think they are called site teplates at all as he is referring to the document libraries etc that sit beneath the site. I would imagine you can use powershell to create a template for each new site with the right set of document libraries etc. Not sure where to start with this though as our install has been gradual and so has been done entirely through the GUI.

Ali Ast said...

We are slow in this process as well. In my search for ways to use SharePoint in more of a training/education realm I found a product THESIS, which claims to work with SharePoint and provide a template way to save, store, search, share online courses. However, I have not used the product or tested it out but one I am keeping in mind when the time is right.

NCKorpela said...

There are several groups that do SharePoint Templates, including Microsoft. Some are free - I ddi a quick search on Google:
Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 Home
This service pack also includes fixes that have been previously released as separate updates. Application templates for Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 ... - Cached - Similar -
Application Templates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express is a free application delivering search across Windows ... Application templates for Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 ... - Cached - Similar -
More results from »
Free Free Sharepoint Templates Downloads: SharePoint Column ...
Free download of SharePoint Column Permission, size 4.25 Mb. ... SharePoint Document Auto Title provides a SharePoint workflow template named ... - Cached - Similar -
Free sharepoint services templates Download
Free sharepoint services templates Download at - Monitoring ... The Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 Management Pack monitors the health and ... - Cached -
greg hughes - dot net - Wow - 30 new SharePoint Applications ...
Referred by: sharepoint free download templates ( [Referral] cregohack-3.2.2 ( [Referral] ... - Cached - Similar -

Dianne Rees said... has tutorials on using SharePoint 2007 that includes some on creating and modifying site templates.

V Yonkers said...

This request shows me why faculty don't like using the technology they are handed. It sounds as if what this person (or the group) is looking for is a standard format that any student can sign on to and know that the "course" will have the same attributes and "look".

In some ways, this makes it easier for the student to navigate through an "online" portion of the class. However, Share point is very linear and many faculty, especially at the university level, don't want their courses to be "boxed". Templates limit the instructional design that a creator may want to use. As a result, an instructor is forced into a teaching style/design which may not fit their style, course goals, student abilities, etc... I HATE having my teaching forced into a box. I know he mentioned the 80% who do fit into the box, but in this age of "choice" offered by social media and the knowledge society, do we want 80% of the teaching to be forced into a mold?

It seems that we need to have a new way of thinking or a new approach to designing online learning so that it is bottom up, yet user friendly (both faculty and students). As I am not a programmer, I know this is easier said than done. I also realize that those, like this person on the committee, are given a tough task. Rather than looking for templates, I'm wondering if there is a design process that would work better for the ITS department. I know that RPI has a very effect protocol they use when working with faculty so a course is customized, yet there are standard elements so the wheel is not reinvented.

Unknown said...

I have used some of the tempaltes form Microsoft here:

I have had to modify them though for my particular circumstances. I think the first thing to realize though is that an Academic Department has many tasks that may need to be done: supply basic course info and professor info, routine department policies for studnets and professors, budgeting, curriculm planning, oversight of graduate studntents (acceptance process etc.) Some of these activities may actually be done in a cetralized fashion (Ie a common tempalte for a professors bio or the university course calender/schedule) so the deparmtnet just needs to provide a page tha aggregates the correct centralized functions. Each one of these infromaiton. you may want to be a unique site as opposed to a library to make navigation to the site easier. To do this, the department home page needs to have the designation as a "Collection site" to allow sub sites. You would then likely use these other "template" site and place them as global navigation. There is nothing worse than have one site that tries to do everything and has 10 libraries and 15 lists in the left navigation and most people miss the bottom items due to scrolling.
I would aslo suggest having a serious conversation about which kinds of department activities would best be managed as a Site at the faculty level to allow greater visility into some of the activities. This is particularly true if there is a lot of collboration between departments or between levels in the organization.
In short, get someone with Inormation architecture research and investigation skills to find out how the departments really operate in terms of infromation generation and consumption.

Tony Karrer said...

This has been very helpful. Seems like MS calls some of this Templates as well.

NCK - what were your search terms? Or how did you find these? I wasn't very successful.

Virginia - I believe they want something more along the lines of what Bradley mentions - examples that professors can customize. It's always hard to start with a blank page. Of course, I could be wrong about that.

Bradley (and everyone) - do these get shared back out somewhere? Would you share what you've created with this other person?

Unknown said...

There are many Intranets solutions on the market, however if you are looking for a solid SharePoint based Intranet solution,

check out SharePoint Implementeds' product. I think it's the best solution out for the price.They seem to have put a lot of

thought into usability and filling in gaps that you would not know exsist in sharepoint until you start your implementation.

They offer a turnkey solution which provides a custom Home Site, Department Sites and Project Sites, installation,

configuration and training all under $10,000 and even have a source code option.

One thing that I would love to see that they don't have now is a hosted solution

You can get more details at