Scalable, Cost-Effective SharePoint School Solution
huge amount of information flows through a school, not only
from teachers to students and vice versa but in all directions
between students, administrators and other staff. Controlling
and managing all this information is a daunting task, but
in SharePoint it can be handled well.
During a recent series of remote control workshop sessions
with the SharePoint admin at a chain of US sports schools,
I have made some good progress. Below is a summary of what
we have achieved within a rather low budget.
Base of site collections
For permission reasons, we decided to divide the information
into site collections. We set up one collection for each
school location and also some collections that were shared
among all schools. In each site collection, we created SharePoint
groups for students at the location, for staff and for administrators
who should see everything.
We also created various document libraries, with default
Enterprise Keywords sets. Thus, users will be able to tag
their information simply by uploading it to the proper document
Two site collections, with different editors, are intended
for reading by everyone. The Enterprise collection has announcements
from the company management, policy documents and a graphical
site map. The main content of the Development collection
is a video list and an Exercise Plans library, and I will
share some details about both of them.
and trainers in these schools often create videos to illustrate
a drill, move or technique, and there are literally thousands
of them. Managers had tried to organize the videos into
folders, but the shortcomings of folders soon became obvious
to everyone involved. The same video could be used to illustrate
several different techniques, and having the same video
in many folders is wrong in many ways.
Therefore, instead of using folders, we built a series of
managed metadata fields. The metadata will make it easy
to find exactly the right video for a specific subject.
To make it easier to tag each video, the edit and display
form of the list was customized to embed the video.
Office 365 has a
Video app that would have been useful, but it demands
a more expensive SharePoint license than the one this organization
is subscribing to. Therefore it was decided that the actual
video files should be placed on a 3rd party video host.
The Exercise Plans library contains PowerPoint files, and
a special template is used for new files. This template
allows for several special layouts. One of them shows an
embedded video and its description. Another layout has a
background picture of the sports arena, where the trainer
can draw movements and patterns.
Each location site collection has been given a contact list,
where users can drag and drop their contacts using Outlook.
We have also put some work into a mobile friendly contact
search page in the Enterprise site collection. It allows
users to search for contacts and click-to-call the phone
numbers of the found contact. The search results will be
permission trimmed, so that each person only can see the
contacts shared with him/her.
The school chain had a limited budget but huge needs, so
it was a real challenge to find the right solution.
We went through several iterations and ideas and ended up
with a cost effective, scalable and very useful solution.
I am looking forward to working more with this school to
enhance it further.