The City of Leicester College is looking to move much of its Team storage and collaboration spaces to SharePoint. We have already moved our email system to Office 365, and started to develop some useful online learning resources in some subject areas. Some staff are already making use of OneDrive as their primary storage area, and are using this to share work with each other and their students.
Two years ago, thc College used some innovation funding to help develop this further and to create useful learning resources for the Mathematics Faculty. We are now ready for the next phase of development, which is to move our entire staff team away from using local network drives to store and share their work, and to make OneDrive and SharePoint Sites the primary repository for all our work.
There are many advantages to this approach for us as a college over the present situation, but mostly:
• One place for all our resources – no need to duplicate work to a separate VLE.
• Resources available anywhere on any device.
• Move to cloud computing lessens our reliance on onsite servers and technicians, prior to end of current ICT Support Contract.
• Streamlined workflows and better communication between staff teams and with students.
However, it is a massive undertaking and will require thoughtful implementation and plenty of training and development for staff. We have already begun to plan out the project and have a detailed timeline and costings for the first two phases. We have engaged a developer to help us think through this transition and to provide useful tools, support and training.
The project has been broken down into 4 main phases, the first two of which have already been developed in some detail:
Phase 1 – Design and branding, Information Architecture, Portal
An alternative to the current MY-SCHOOL portal interface will be developed, supporting an extended single sign-on model to college applications where such an interaction can be supported.
Phase 2 – MIS integration and homework system
This phase provides for a first level of integration with the Management Information System (MIS) to automatically create staff and student timetables within each user’s Outlook calendar, and the automated creation of class security groups for use with Apps such as Teacher/Student Dashboard to support a full homework and assignment workflow. The MIS-365 integration will be delivered through the installation and configuration of the SalamaderSoft AD integration middleware.
Teacher Dashboard Plus will be installed and configured to all teaching staff to assign, manage and track homework.
Phase 3 – Content migration
Migrate existing teaching resources from local storage into Office365/SharePoint
Phase 4 – Parent Portal
Develop a portal for parents to keep track of their child’s progress on homework tasks, coursework etc.
We are looking to move our admin and support teams over to SharePoint early in the project to pilot workflows, shared documents and to start populating it with key organisational information. Much of the initial training will be aimed at supporting this transition, and hence the key DigiLit strands we are looking to develop within these staff teams are:
• Creating and Sharing
• Communication, Collaboration & Participation
However, with a project with such a scope as this, all six strands will be touched on and we will need to ensure staff are adequately prepared to meet the challenges.
The way files are handled within SharePoint is very different from a more traditional hierarchical structure on a network drive, and Entry level staff in particular may struggle with the changes to working practices around shared documents. We need to ensure that staff fully understand this new paradigm as well as the basic skills of creating and sharing files with others.