IWMW10: Sharepoint

James Lappin and Pete Gilbert talking about Sharepoint.

90% of UK HEIs using Sharepoint for something – but very wide variety of use – this talk going to explore this.

Pete says ‘Sharepoint is a like an Elephant’ – telling story of ‘The Blind Men and the Elephant‘ – in the story 6 blind men all touch an elephant and try to describe it – but each one only gets a small part of the story because the elephant is so big, and they can only touch it in one place.

Sharepoint is like this – so big, and so many bits, experience with it can vary hugely.

The most popular use of Sharepoint in HE is the collaborative functions – document sharing etc. Tends to be used on the adminstrative side, and also some in research projects – but not so much in teaching and learning. Ambitious project in Oxford to roll out Sharepoint for all research groups.

Lots of ‘big implementation’ type of projects with Sharepoint. E.g. “use Sharepoint as student portal”. Sometimes Sharepoint is used – because it’s there – you’ve got the licenses, and the IT department start to use it to do something and slowly grows.

Why does Sharepoint have such high penetration in HE? Microsoft added in client licenses for Sharepoint into other software that is licensed in the Campus license agreeement – so just there.

“I don’t think your community loves Sharepoint” (says James) – but also says you can’t ignore it, because it is there – at somepoint someone will ask ‘can Sharepoint do that’?

Sharepoint is better at somethings than others – so Pete now going to relate how he has used it. Started to see use of Sharepoint for ‘quick and dirty’ websites where teams could collaborate, they had control over permissions etc.

Started small, but then found people were directed to Sharepoint team when core web team couldn’t provide solution. Pete says it has enabled him and his team to develop for the web quickly (even if quick and dirty).

But if you are going to work with Sharepoint, you have to buy into the Sharepoint way of doing things – steep learning curve.

I have to admit my personal experience of using Sharepoint as an end-user is the UI was just horrible – I’m not sure if that is down to implementation I experienced or something else – but it really put me off. I suspect there is some stuff there that it can do good stuff – but I don’t think it is really a good web facing product.

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