John Kleeman, founder of Questionmark, is a big SharePoint user, and passionate about the use of SharePoint for assessment in higher education (you can read more about their work here). So I follow his SharePoint and Assessment blog – I wanted to share one of his recent blog posts:
A couple of weeks ago he wrote a blog post about how quick it is to setup SharePoint in Office 365 for education – saying that he'd managed to sign up for a trial, and get it up and running in just 15 minutes from start to finish. Here's his experience:
Starting the trial is very easy. I went to my computer about 16.20pm and filled in a simple form signing up for the UK version of Microsoft’s A3 education plan. You don’t need a credit card and you don’t need to prove educational status to start the trial (though you need this to use it for real).
The account gets set up within a few seconds, but SharePoint needs a few minutes to be provisioned:
But by 16.28 I’m into the SharePoint administrator system and it’s set up 3 site collections for me
And with a bit of exploring I found by 16:35 the team site which looks very familiar to other new SharePoint sites as you can see below. I used the domain name sharepointlearn for my trial, and so my SharePoint site is called sharepointlearn.sharepoint.com and my admin area is called sharepointlearn-admin.sharepoint.com.
From then on, it’s just a question of using SharePoint, not all the features of On Premise SharePoint are present in Office 365 for Education, but most of them are. And it’s all set up for me in no more than 15 minutes. You can probably do it in 10 minutes if you weren’t taking screenshots while doing it…
…Compared to the huge effort to install, maintain, set up search, set up load balancing and manage SharePoint on premise, Office 365 for Education looks very interesting. And that’s just for SharePoint – of course you also get Lync, Exchange and Microsoft Office as well.
With Cloud services, the game rules have changed
The point that John's final paragraph underlines is that the game is changing – as we move services to the Cloud, we're in a completely different game. Conventional IT support can involve spending lots of time and money on maintaining an existing ICT infrastructure, leaving little investment for innovation. And tasks like getting a new server setup can take quite some time (typically, in most large educational institutions, there's a complicated set of paperwork and business justifications and a six week wait for deployment). Whereas with cloud services, a new server can be deployed in half an hour, and departments can get a completely new service setup and running with just a credit card (or, in the case of Office 365 for education, not even that).
John Kleeman on SharePoint and Assessment
John's written a number of other blog posts that will of interest if you're a SharePoint user in education, and how Office 365 for education could be used for assessment:
- SharePoint in Office 365: the Good, the Bad, the Brilliant and the Ugly
- Want to use Office 365 for learning? Four ways to use assessments within Office 365
- How to pass candidate name into an assessment from Office 365’s SharePoint Online