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SharePoint 2013 & Education Services

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Nowadays it’s rare to come across a school that doesn’t have at least one class with a virtual learning environment (VLE). VLEs allow schools to share assignments, class schedules, reading materials, and even offer quizzes and tests via the internet or the school’s intranet.

Unfortunately, most schools don’t have a structured approach to VLEs, and it’s not uncommon for two teachers in the same school to use an entirely different tool. This can create confusion for students and parents who are trying to keep their homework straight and who aren’t always sure where they should be looking for information about any specific class.

Some of the biggest names in this industry are Moodle, Blackboard, and WebCT. Unfortunately, Moodle is an open-source option, which means there is no official support system. Users who face problems with it have to use forums and sometimes build complex in-house solutions. Similarly, Blackboard and WebCT are often too expensive to maintain.

It is for this reason that many educational organizations actually turn to Microsoft’s business solution: SharePoint, as a platform for constructing VLEs. While Microsoft does not currently offer an out-of-the-box VLE, SharePoint is a system perfectly designed for sharing documents and tracking system behavior.

It’s highly customizable infrastructure makes it possible to integrate VLEs directly with school administrative functions, like accounting and resource planning. All of this makes it a more attractive option for a wide number of schools and colleges.

The current SharePoint solution for VLEs is called CodePlex. Unfortunately, it is also an open-source solution, so while educators can get support for SharePoint, they can’t get direct support for the tweaks made in CodePlex. This makes it more attractive than Moodle, as well as more cost-effective and adaptive that the other options, but still not ideal.

Microsoft appears to have realized this, however. SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 are expected to offer solutions specifically intended for use by educators, and the support that comes with it. The details are still vague at this point, but educators are looking forward to the change.

Source: Microsoft Goes Back to School and Gets Smart: SharePoint 2013 & Education Services

By SharePoint Blog Editors, www.sharepoint-blog.com

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2 questions

  1. That was really needful in accounting and resource planning and wide number of school and collages. Thanks for sharing. I’ll surely be looking for more.

    [Reply]

  2. Moodle is an open-source choice, which indicates there is no formal assistance program. Customers who experience issues with it have to use boards and sometimes develop complicated in-house alternatives.

    [Reply]

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