TCOLC SharePoint – Branding

A first look at the new sharepoint portal being developed at The City of Leicester College – just the styling for now, not the content or features. The approach has been to follow the brand look-and-feel (from our public website) in terms of colours, characteristics, heading/title typography etc. – but without compromising SharePoint’s functions and features.

The design development site’s navigation elements (top bar) are currently dummies apart from ‘TEST PAGE’ and ‘TEST PAGE 2’ that show options for individual page layouts and colour treatments. The ‘Subjects’ link is to show the drop-down menu style. The homepage will carry the required portal ‘widgets’ and links – the full width picture has been added to show the option for full width ‘title’ images.

TCOLC Sharepoint branding - featuring full width image
TCOLC Sharepoint branding – featuring full width image

 

TCOLC Sharepoint branding - Dark on Light
TCOLC Sharepoint branding – Dark on Light

 

TCOLC Sharepoint Branding - Light on Dark
TCOLC Sharepoint Branding – Light on Dark
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Using Office 365 Video

I created this video for a recent “Teach Meet” at my College. I had intended to present on Office 365 Video, but then couldn’t make the event due to another commitment. Instead, I recorded my presentation using Microsoft Office Mix, a free extension to PowerPoint, and uploaded it to Office 365 Video. I was then able to give my presentation virtually without actually being in the room. Awesome!

Office 365 Video is set to become an essential part of the VLE we are building at The City of Leicester College within Office 365 SharePoint. This video explains Office 365 Video and suggests how we can use it within school, within our classrooms, and independently .

The City of Leicester College are creating channels to store copyright content to share with our students, and also as a repository of our own created material. Students can also upload their own creations to Office 365 video directly from their iPads, using the “Office 365 Video for iPhone” App.

The City of Leicester College – Office365/SharePoint Project

 

Communication, Collaboration & Participation

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

A set of style sheets (css) and associated resources will be developed to allow for the presentation of the SharePoint sites using the college’s ‘brand’ values and preferred look-and-feel.  A set of content presentation options utilising Client Side Rendering (CSR) JavaScript techniques will be developed to allow for the re-rendering of standard SharePoint Web Parts.  Site and library templates will be created as a part of the definition along with a navigational model. Access and content opportunity permissions (read, write, edit) to defined areas will be advised as a part of this stage. PowerShell scripts developed to automatically deploy multiple sites from template definitions.

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.

 

Digital Literacy

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.