The following features could be useful in an educational environment.
Libraries are a location on a site which provides users central access to important work documents and files. There are different types of Libraries for different purposes, such as ‘Document library’ for many file types like word documents and spreadsheets. There are libraries for images called ‘Picture library’ which is dedicated for digital images and graphics. Functionality varies between different library types, just as folder functionality varies in Windows Explorer, for example a slideshow option for picture folders or libraries. There are many more library types such as, Process Diagram Libraries, Record Libraries, Report Libraries and Slide Libraries.
Libraries allow the great control over documents for people working on a project together. Everyone can have access to the latest version of documents, with document versioning included, see who last edited the docment and when, and you can even specify specific permissions to documents to protect the most important ones.
Lists offer a collection of data that can be shared with team members and other site users. There are a number of list templates, which provide a good starting point. The way lists are organised can be customised for the specific needs of the business. SharePoint sites often include many lists by default, such as, Links, Announcements and Contacts, that you can use for team collaboration. One type of list that is also very useful is ‘Calendar’, with Calendar it’s easy to show all of your groups events, whether these be meetings, all day events or milestones. This will enable the whole group to see what is happening with a project for example and most importantly when. ‘Tasks’ is another useful List type. You can use it to assign tasks to specific people within the group. It is also possible to create a custom designed list.
Blogs provide a running commentary or news thread of a particular subject, same function as personal online diaries. Blogs are useful to keep upto date with a particular subject and are often a good learning material.
Wiki pages are a useful tool, that enables webpages to be quickly and easily edited by any user.
My Sites & Profiles
My Sites and Profiles integrates the social side to the learning environment. It enables you to connect with other people around you and build your professional network. It is important to remember that just like other social networks, your should consider what information you share with who. This can be controlled by privacy settings, that allow you to specify which people can see each piece of information that you share. You can also apply these settings to documents that you share. The organisation implementing the system, can also restrict what information you may share with others.
Discussion boards are a great way to share ideas and knowledge, or to discuss a particular topic. These can easily be setup by a user and moderated by an administrator. It could be important to ensure that the boards are moderated to look for cases of plagarism, although this is a possiblility there are many processes already in place to identify plagarism.
Mobile Browser Support
The system will also work on the go on mobile phone web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari, giving users even more choice to where they can access thier data. Some phones can even display the documents that are stored on the system.