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April, 2007 - FE blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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April, 2007

  • FE blog

    London FE Regional Support Centre's SharePoint day

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    The London RSC have just published the notes from their London Windows Admins group meeting in mid-March, when they spent the day talking about SharePoint. There are some interesting points in the notes from the day, as those who had implemented SharePoint talked about their experiences, and very importantly, talked about why  they had chosen to do things.

     What struck me were two quotes from the notes:

    "Successful implementations make it look easy and ultimately worthwhile – the user simply logs in, from anywhere on any device, and can access their folders and shared folders, upload to the VLE, see email, get into the library system and cleverly, see their students’ attendance for the week- all from the same homepage "

    And a dire warning at the end, about who's role it was to implement:

    "Who does it – IT or ILT? Typically starts with IT. Programmer support often from the MIS admin side.  BUT – quickly becomes obvious this is a whole college project and success criteria is the uptake among all kinds of admin, support and teaching staff, and learners.  Silo development at your peril."

    Read all about it here

     

  • FE blog

    SharePoint Learning Kit on SharePoint

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    Yesterday I wrote about using Moodle on SharePoint, and today I feel the need to share another option for running a Virtual Learning Environment on SharePoint.

    This is the SharePoint Learning Kit, which is a SCORM 2004-conformant e-learning delivery and tracking application (that sounds good doesn't it!). It works on Microsoft Office SharePoint server (the one you buy...), or Windows SharePoint services (the one that's free...).  Basically, it's a kit for you to build your own VLE, and like Moodle it's free...

    The blurb says that it supports SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and Class Server content and allows assignment, tracking and grading of both e-learning and non-e-learning content

    You can download it from the Codeplex website too

  • FE blog

    Moodle on SharePoint

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    A recent survey, by Becta, showed that around 40% of colleges are using Moodle for their virtual learning environment (VLE).

    If you are one of those who use it, are you aware that there are a bunch of webparts available that integrate it into SharePoint? What's the point of that, you may ask? Well, for the same reason that lots of other VLE providers are building web parts for SharePoint. It means that you can choose a single portal architecture (ie SharePoint) and integrate your different systems into it - email, student management systems, VLE etc. And if at some point you want to change one of those systems, you can do that by changing your webparts, not your whole portal.

    You can find the Moodle webparts on Codeplex, a 'community source' initiative.

  • FE blog

    Save £23,000 or Save the Earth...take your pick

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    PC Pro have been doing some research on the ways that Windows Vista can save power.....come again...save power?

    Yup

    It appears that computers are left on all the time with nobody using them (hmm, let me think about the IT Suite, or some of those odd computers in the back of teaching rooms). So, if you managed them better, you'd start saving power - and either save money or the planet, depending on your views (of course, you do both).

    And how does it do this? Well, I'm glad you asked...

    Windows Vista has a "sleep" mode, which is automatically activated if you don't use your PC for an hour, or you activate it yourself by hitting your power switch. What that does is move your PC into an ultra-low power state, where only the RAM is powered, everything else is closed down (processor, disks, screen etc). Which means that when you want to switch it back on, it comes back in two seconds (yes, really).

    Based on a typical user using that better will save £23 to £46 a PC a year, just by switching the operating system. Now, in a typical FE college in England, which according to the Becta survey has 1,000 PCs, that is at least £23,000 a year in electricity, or over 750 tonnes of carbon emissions. Just by changing some sofware.

    Want the evidence? Here's the PC Pro Labs Survey

    • Factoid 1: Your PC uses varying amounts of power depending on what it is doing - the power supply rating is the maximum it can produce. So a 350 watt PC doesn't use 350 watts all the time - if ever. 3D rendering uses twice as much power as using Word. Running the screensaver uses more power than doing nothing! A 250 watt desktop used around twice the power of a 65 watt laptop.
    • Factoid 2: I've been using Sleep mode on my laptop for months. I put it in Sleep whenever I've finished taking notes in a meeting, and then bring it back on whenever I want to make more notes, because it is so quick to restart. I was doing it to save battery power (giving me a whole day's use from a single charge), but now I know I've been saving money/the earth too
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