Following on from my previous blog posts, ‘Ten of the best SharePoint School websites’ and ‘Ten of the best SharePoint University websites’, then it’s time to get closer to home with Ten of the best Australian school websites built on SharePoint (or best TAFE websites or best University websites).
The reason I’m focusing on ‘built on SharePoint’ is because most Australian education institutions have SharePoint, and have it integrated into their identity management system and their security model. So extending that same system to run your public-facing website means that you can easily create a website that allows students to access their course materials from home, and staff to be able to use the document storage and workflow, without having to setup yet-another login or user list on yet-another system. Anyway, back to the best school websites list…
I’ve had help from colleagues tracking some of these down, and recommendations from customers and partners. But ultimately I take total responsibility for the completely subjective Top Ten list and their rankings!
So here’s my top ten of the best education websites built on SharePoint in Australia
It’s my take on 10 School/TAFE/University websites, built on SharePoint, that are worth looking at for design ideas and inspiration for functional ideas - or simply because you want to nudge another colleague towards seeing that SharePoint can deliver a beautiful experience for staff, students and prospective students.
Click on any of them to link to the live website
Gordon Institute of TAFE, Victoria
This was easy for me to pick as Australia’s best education website built on SharePoint. I’m sure this website must inspire potential students - it gives off the impression of a vibrant learning community, with a fun attitude to the serious subject of learning. And the design makes it easier to navigate to the key information - and encourages you to explore more.
Victoria Department of Education - FUSE
An amazing interactive experience which puts access to learning materials right at the front of the site. And let’s be honest, it breaks the mould for ‘policy-type’ websites, because it’s putting the ‘fun’ into ‘functional’.
Abbotsleigh School, New South Wales
You can tell from the very first page that this is a school that takes learning seriously - and the strong photography shows how it puts students at the centre of the experience. With many private and Catholic schools, you can see the increased importance of needing to ‘sell’ the school to prospective students and parents, as well as keeping in touch with the parents of existing students.
Trinity Grammar School, New South Wales
Another design-centric site, but with a clear navigation structure that means students & parents can easily find the section that’s relevant for them. (Pipped by Abbotsleigh for #3 position because it didn’t have Search on the home page)
The Learning Place, Queensland
Another government site, which are often some of the trickiest to design and run, because they are trying to meet the needs of so many stakeholders. Although the SharePoint portion of the website sits behind the login screens, there’s an excellent video here that shows what Stage 2 is delivering.
Brisbane Catholic Education, Queensland
Although this doesn’t have the high graphic design of some of the previous sites, the navigation here is clear - with the tabs at the top helping users find their way quickly to the section that is right for them - students & parents; schools & curriculum; employment etc.
Bendigo Tafe, Victoria
Another great TAFE site in Victoria (is there a secret recipe they have there?). I particularly liked the 3D box design, which was very simply to create, and added to, rather than confused, the navigation.
John Paul College, Queensland
A nice looking site that crams a lot of information onto the home page - but without making it too busy. A slow rotation of the main picture adds interest, but without detracting from the content and links.
Hale School, Western Australia
A slightly more traditional design, which puts details on the front page, rather than just short links. As with the others, it’s often the photography that makes the first impression.
Australian School of Business, New South Wales
Okay, this may be 10th out of my list of 10 - but there’s hundreds of sites that didn’t make it to the Top Ten, so it’s still good going. I like the way this page is easy to read, and has all the vital components - news, events and search - right there.
What would have given it a higher rating? Less ‘stock’ images and more good photos from the School of Business itself would have helped me, as a parent, to imagine my daughter going to study there.