19 March 2015

Bilateral Cooperation Gives New SharePoint Learning Management System

Study Manager for SharePoint logotypeAfter six months of development and testing we have now released our new SharePoint Solution for online training: Study Manager. The Swedish sponsor is happy with the result, and I hope more organizations will find Study Manager useful.

Teacher controlled self-studies
It all begun last summer, when teachers from two small Swedish towns with a shared IT department approached me with a request for a learning platform in Office 365. The teachers wanted to give their "Swedish for immigrants" students a possibility to study online at their own pace.

There is already study material online, for example our own Swedish grammar, but you cannot control or modify it. These teachers wanted to use their own exercises and tasks, that suited their students best, and they wanted statistics on the progress of each student.

SharePoint iconMake SharePoint a learning platform
The two towns, Tierp and Älvkarleby, use SharePoint for sharing and cooperation, so if we could find a way to take advantage of the inbuilt SharePoint features and only add what was needed for the learning system, we would be able to give a smart and comparably cheap solution.

After some research we found that this was possible. We could develop a standard SharePoint Solution that would work for any subject, and this product would give the Swedish teachers exactly what they wanted. Therefore I suggested a sponsorship of a standard product instead of a custom solution.

Close sponsor – developer cooperation
When I presented my idea the teachers were delighted, and they took active part during the whole development process. Normally we don't include the sponsor in the development process. SharePoint icon We have already agreed on how the finished product will work, so we wait with any modifications until we have a Beta version that the sponsor can test and comment.

In this case the teachers wanted to add their study material to Study Manager as soon as possible, so we gave them parts of the solution very early. After that we made their Study Manager installation more and more complex, and in the process the teachers tested the solution and gave us valuable input. I especially want to thank Medina Becirovicemkic and Kristina Järvback-Hillbom for their suggestions.

Easy to use
You don't have to be a SharePoint expert to administer Study Manager. I wanted to make Study Manager easy to use for any teacher, so that the SharePoint administrator needs to be included as little as possible. Teachers add study material, study groups and students and can also customize the site collection homepage and the virtual classrooms that Study Manager creates for each study group.

Therefore the Study Manager manual includes general SharePoint information and not only instructions on how to use our product. I hope it will be helpful, and teachers who are used to working with SharePoint can simply skip those parts.

Try Study Manager and create a SharePoint learning center! download iconYou are welcome to try Study Manager for 30 days without any costs or obligations. Install Study Manager in a new SharePoint site collection that will become a center for learning, cooperation and discussion of a subject.

You can either add your own material directly or use the example data to evaluate  Study Manager for SharePoint. There is plenty of documentation on the website, but please contact us if you have questions. We are looking forward to hearing your comments about Study Manager! Community icon
The development of Study Manager has been an interesting journey together with skilled and dedicated people in Sweden and India. A warm thank you to the team members and to the teachers and IT team in Tierp and Älvkarleby who put their confidence in us!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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