SharePoint 2013, Lync Courseware Review

I often get asked for suggestions for courseware. Not all training providers have their own material for all products.

So here are a couple of quick reviews of courseware for a couple of increasingly popular topics.

My aim is to find some resources to recommend, so that I can use my time to prepare additional  materials and exercises to cover custom topics and not preparing the core courseware.

Background

  • I recently purchased the e-book editions of both books from Watsonia Publishing
  • I have read the workbooks but at time of writing have not used them in a course
  • I am not getting a commission for these reviews

SharePoint 2013

  • INF1432
  • ISBN: 978-1-925121-31-5
  • Watsonia Publishing
  • For SharePoint Readers, Authors and Site Managers 978-1-925121-46-9

This material would require trainer to prepare a demo site (and ideally save a template) and permission groups, etc. ahead of time.

My usual approach is to make a typical student site with worked examples of lists and libraries as a starting point, make a template including content, and then make X copies of the site, one for each student.

Initial Thoughts

  • good overview at start
  • has basic set up notes and some sample files to use for uploading etc (student files are an “exe”, which my firewall was not keen on – why are downloads still executable files?
  • screen captures are current at time of this review for on premise SharePoint. For SharePoint online, there are some differences in the upper part of the screen. A handout could cover the differences.
  • Could be used for SharePoint 2013 on premise or online (as part of Office 365)
  • where it is a bit awkward  (as is most SharePoint courseware) is spreading list and library topics over three chapters. I tend to explore lists in detail and then libraries, my purpose here is to expose people to lists and common SharePoint functionality. When we move from lists to libraries, they have gained two things (a) a general understanding of the interface and how consistent it is and (b) most people have found at least one list they can use, so they have broadened their view of SharePoint from just libraries…
  • the previous point is a long standing beef of mine that courseware and courses should follow how people will use the features or product.

Re-arranging the workbook, I’d see a course using this book like this:

Day One

Theme – using and exploring SharePoint (moving to creating later in the day)

  • Getting to Know SharePoint
  • Navigating a SharePoint Site
  • Documents Lists and Libraries
  • OneDrive for Business
    • Syncing would be a key topic here
    • Sharing
  • Social Networking
    • particularly newsfeed, hash tags, following documents and people
  • Introduction to Lists (my heading, featuring content from:)
    • Working With Files and Items
    • Working With Calendars
    • Creating Lists and Libraries
    • exploring a range of lists, (contacts, calendar, issue tracking) exploring
      • datasheet view
      • connecting to Outlook, Excel
      • Alerts, Recycle Bin
  • Introduction to Libraries (my heading, featuring content from:)
    • Working With Files and Items
    • Creating Lists and Libraries
    • focusing on
      • Uploading, adding new documents
      • Editing documents
      • Checkout
      • Version control
  • Creating Views

Day Two

Theme is creating resources, features, in SharePoint

  • Searching in SharePoint
    • I’d do this on day 2, to be sure content added on day 1 has been indexed and can be found
  • Custom Lists and Libraries
    • content from Document Management (varying levels of content from here depending on client need)
    • creating custom lists (eg to replace registers in spreadsheets – in book in in “Creating Lists and Libraries” but could use an additional handout)
    • adding metadata to a library ( in “Creating Lists and Libraries”)
    • creating views using the metadata (in “Creating Views”)
  • Working With Workflows
  • Managing Security
  • Creating a Site
    • a blend of Preparing Your Training Site/ Working With Personal Sites/Creating Team Sites
    • I’d leave this for day 2, after permissions and groups, as “creating a site”
    • includes navigation, look and feel options
  • Authoring Web Part Pages
    • doing this later than in the book, after people have created lists, libraries and views and can bring it all together for their end users in one place
  • Other Collaboration Sites
  • SharePoint resources online (my heading, not in the book)

Topics I’d leave out

  • Custom Workflows – this is SharePoint Designer, and for good reason, most users wont get anywhere near SharePoint Designer – custom workflows could be covered as a later advanced session using an app from the store.
  • Working With Search – this is more advanced search config, might be a topic for an advanced session.

To find the workbook, search for Watsonia Publishing and INF1432

In Summary

I could see this as viable courseware for two day course for contributors, owners and managers, with some additional handouts and some tweaking of sequence.

Other SharePoint resources I’d recommend

I’d recommend teams on a course get one each of the following

The Apress book

The first book is not courseware, but it is an excellent post course reference. It gives in detail the steps you need for any process a site user, contributor or owner will need.

SharePoint 2013 User’s Guide: Learning Microsoft’s Business Collaboration Platform, Fourth Edition

  • By: Tony Smith
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Pub. Date: June 12, 2013
  • Print ISBN-10: 1-4302-4833-5
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-1-4302-4833-0
  • Pages in Print Edition: 536

The Microsoft Press Book

I recommend this second book as a tool to use with your own end users, post course. While I often call this the “SharePoint Picture Book”, I mean this in the sense it is easy to follow for end users. Its actually pretty comprehensive in its range of topics.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Plain & Simple

  • By: Johnathan Lightfoot, Michelle Lopez, and Scott Metker
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press
  • Pub. Date: May 15, 2013
  • Print ISBN-10: 0-7356-6700-4
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0-7356-6700-6
  • Web ISBN-10: 0-7356-7214-8
  • Web ISBN-13: 978-0-7356-7214-7
  • Pages in Print Edition: 440

Microsoft Lync Online

  • Watsonia Publishing
  • INF1422
  • ISBN: 978-1-925121-35-3

Lync, especially as part of Office 365 is a moving target.  At time of writing the screen captures matched the current product. Lync is about to become Skype for Business, which may require an update of the courseware.

The sequence of topics from Creating contacts to Presenting is in a logical order, and covers all of the skills people will need for using Lync for IM, ad hoc discussions and meetings. The skills covered in meetings and presenting could also be used for delivering small group on line training.

The topics covered are:

  • Lync Contacts
  • Instant Messaging
  • Working With Calls
  • Meetings (includes Recording)
  • Presenting
  • The Lync Mobile App
  • Lync Options

I think for most groups a 3-4 hour session would give plenty of hands on and practice.

To find the workbook, search for Watsonia Publishing and INF1422

 

Office 365 – SharePoint App Error message on Installing

If you are

  • Getting this error: “Sorry, there was something wrong with the download. Try adding it again.”
  • in Australia

Then this article is the “fix” for you.

I ran into this problem while preparing my new public facing Office 365 site last week. Some apps installed OK and then it just happened. Uninstalling and re-installing wont fix it.

In summary the solution is:

  1. Temporarily remove the “defective” app
  2. Go back to the SharePoint Store – in the top right set the language to English (United States)
  3. Then when you are adding an app – when you get to the Trust Screen stage – Click Language Options and Choose English (United States)

Good Luck

Steven