08 June, 2011 · 3 minutes to read
How to Organise Class Sites for SharePoint Learning Kit – The Basics
In this series of posts I'm going to describe my opinion on the best ways to organise your class sites for SharePoint Learning Kit (SLK). This will generally be from a secondary school perspective, but most of the ideas can be applied to primaries and other organisations as well. Originally it was going to be one post, but it rapidly became obvious that it was going to get pretty big, so I've split it into several posts. I last wrote about this topic 3 years ago before I had a blog so it's about time for an update. You can find my original articles at How to organise class sites in Microsoft Learning Gateway and How to Handle Rollover with SharePoint Learning Kit The posts are:
A typical secondary school will have between 500 and 2000 students and a similar number of teaching groups/classes. So you definitely need a plan about how to organise your sites for SLK, unless of course you only have a couple of users trialling it. You will need to consider how you are creating the sites, how you will maintain them, what happens at year end and how they fit within your overall hierarchy. An additional consideration over any technical ones, is the fact that it needs to be as easy for your teachers to use as possible. The more work they have to do setting up, the less likely it will be used effectively. Plus if you are rolling it out across the school, it's something that they will be using every day, so needs to be as frictionless as possible.
It is important to understand the assignment process before deciding on the structure. As this is how the teachers are going to interact with SLK, it's about making this as simple as possible. To start the process of assigning a piece of work the teacher has 2 options:
Once the teacher has decided what to assign, they are presented with the actions page which displays list of sites to assign to – the user web list. This contains all the sites they have assigned to before and an option to add sites to the list.
The teacher selects a site from the list, adding it to the list if necessary, and then progresses to the assignment properties page, where they choose metadata about the assignment and who they are going to assign the work to.
The list of instructors/teachers and learners/students is governed by the SharePoint permissions on the site being assigned to. When you configure SLK, you choose 2 permission levels which will indicate if a user is a teacher and/or a student. By default these are called 'SLK Instructor' and 'SLK Learner', but during configuration you can name these to whatever you want. At this point it's obvious that you need to choose the site which contains the students you want to assign to.
You can use SharePoint and Active Directory groups to give the permissions to as well as individual users. SLK will then enumerate all the members with a couple of exceptions – Authenticated Users and Domain Users cannot be used.
The structure of your class sites and permissions for SLK needs planning in advance, both for administrative and ease of use reasons. In my next post I will discuss using a single site to assign work to.
Managing Director / Founder
Richard started SalamanderSoft in 2007 after a successful career as a software developer. Wanting to start his own company and with experience in integrating school systems he set out to build the best integration system for schools and to exceed customer expectations. He starting out on his own, doing all the coding, support and sales until finally the growing number of customers meant he needed to start growing the team. He is still heavily involved in coding the core Integration Suite product in addition to running the company and being the first point of contact for prospective customers.