Thursday, September 03, 2015

In-Person vs. Live Online SharePoint Training: Which Is Best for You?


PremierPoint Solutions’ Marketing Director Don Beehler recently interviewed SharePoint trainer Robert Schley about what students should consider when evaluating in-person vs. live online training.

Beehler: What are the main differences between in-person and live online SharePoint training in terms of the experience students have?

Schley: With in-person training, there is student/trainer interaction during lunch and breaks, and during those times topics related to a class often come up and are discussed. Another difference is that with live online students, I can’t see their body language very well, so it’s hard to know students if students are really getting what I’m saying or if I need to elaborate or rephrase certain information. I also can’t tell if they are ignoring me or if they are silent because they understand what I’m telling them. In class we banter more and topics just naturally come up, including things they aren’t quite getting. The online students have a more limited opportunity to interact, so they have to be willing to speak up with their questions. Successful live online students are assertive and take responsibility for their training.
 

Beehler: Some students may feel that distance learning is not as good as in-person. What do you say to them?

Schley: I used to feel the same way and did not want to go to a class if it was all online. However, I am now doing graduate work for my master’s degree, and I have to take several of the classes in my program online due to my work schedule. The material is the same whether you take a class live or in-person, so the education itself is equivalent. But I’ve learned that I can’t assume the teacher is going to do all the work for me; I have to take responsibility for my education and make sure I really understand what’s being taught. And really, that’s true regardless of which method students choose for a class.

In some cases, taking a class online has been a better scenario for me because while I’m at the office I can get on work laptop, in my actual work environment, and implement what I just learned. Another interesting thing I’ve found is that being online makes some people more comfortable about talking during a class discussion. When there’s a large in-person class, some students are more hesitant to speak in a public place. I would say that in most cases, online students actually speak more than people who attend a class in person.


Beehler: What should students consider when making a choice?

Schley: The primary consideration is how well you can focus on the class. If you attend in person, you are getting away from office distractions and are in a class environment where you are expected to pay attention and learn. I have seen some online students who took a class in their office environment get pulled away for work issues. If a student mutes himself or herself, I don’t’ know it. I’ve had online students tell me they have been gone to a meeting for the last hour and then ask if they missed anything. In-person students don’t have to be concerned about that happening, which can be a real advantage.


Beehler: Do online students really feel a part of the class?

Schley: Eighty percent of our students are online, so the trend is for online to be the class and in-person is piggy backing. In general, I believe online students definitely feel engaged – except, of course, those who mute their microphones and don’t interact.


Beehler: What comments have you gotten from live online students about the training experience?

Schley: I’ve had many online students who were impressed and said they weren’t expecting the experience they got: being able to interact with the instructor, make comments and interact with other students. Plus, learning online saves everyone money.





Thursday, July 23, 2015

ChangeBot’s PowerShell Activity – Set an AD Group as Site Collection Administrator


This post is the first in a series where we will look at how to accomplish certain tasks utilizing ChangeBot’s PowerShell Activity (available in ChangeBot Premium Edition).  ChangeBot already offers you 50 (70 if you use our ExCM product) activities to accomplish a plethora of site administration and user change request actions. If something you want to accomplish can’t be done via one of those activities, then the PowerShell activity can come to the rescue. 

With the combination of ChangeBot’s already powerful activities and the ability to run a PowerShell script as an activity – there really isn’t much that you can’t automate, audit, and run through a proper approval process, when utilizing ChangeBot. You might even have existing PowerShell scripts you need to occasionally run. Why not put official procedures around the process and let ChangeBot execute the PowerShell scripts via a user request form.

This first example will cover how to add an AD group as the secondary site collection administrator.  This is something you can’t even do in the manual process of creating site collections via Central Administration.  You can however accomplish this via PowerShell – and thus you can set it as part of your site collection provisioning request profile.

Let’s say you have a team of administrators in an AD group called SCAdmins that belongs to the AWBIKES domain.  The PowerShell script to add that group to a site called extranet.awbikes.com would be:

set-spsite -identity http://extranet.awbikes.com -secondaryowneralias "awbikes\scadmins"

You of course want this to happen during the processing of every new site collection so the url will always be different.  You will utilize the “Set Execution Property” activity to create a variable with the full url of the site so that you can use it in the PowerShell script. (note: this step may vary depending on your specific request profile, this example is utilizing the activities and properties present when using the default Site Collection request profile we ship with ChangeBot).
In the Set Execution Property you simply need to combine the WebApplicationURL and SiteUrl properties to create a new variable we will call FULLUrl.

SetProperty

With this in place you can now create the “Execute PowerShell” activity and place your script in the box utilizing the above created variable.  My example script is:

set-spsite -identity $Properties.FUllURL -secondaryowneralias "awbikes\scadmins"

PowerShellActivity
Now when a new site collection is requested it will automatically assign your AD group properly every time.  That’s the power of ChangeBot.

Note: If you need to install the PowerShell Activities add-on see this page in our product documentation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

FTP vs. SharePoint Extranet – Which Is Better?


External file sharing is essential to the operation of any organization. Teams have to collaborate in order to achieve goals and accomplish projects.

When it comes to choosing an external file sharing platform, a number of key questions must be considered:
  • Is it easy for end users to use?
  • Is it practical?
  • Does it keep company data secure?
  • Is this platform the best possible choice?
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) has been around since the early 1970s. Yet, despite its antiquity, FTP continues to be one of the most popular choices for external file sharing for the enterprise. While FTP is very easy for end users to work with, there are serious security risks to be considered.

Do the benefits of using FTP outweigh the risks? Is there a better choice for external file sharing?

These are the questions we explore in our new free PremierPoint Solutions white paper, “Choosing an External File Sharing Approach: FTP vs. SharePoint Extranet.”

White Paper: FTP vs. SharePoint Extranet

Find out if using FTP is exposing your company data to unnecessary risk, and what you can do about it.

Download this informative white paper now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cool Summer SharePoint Training Deal: $995 for any August Class


Here’s a cool deal – a refreshing price on August SharePoint training classes.

Register for any August 2015 PremierPoint Solutions SharePoint training class and use the Promo Code, “AUG995.” You’ll pay just $995 for the class!

That’s right. Any August training class for just $995.*

These classes are regularly priced from $1695 to $1895, so you’ll save anywhere from $700 to $900 off the regular price of the class.

Get in on this great summer deal. Click on one of the classes listed below to register now and save hundreds on our August classes!

SharePoint 2013 Power User Fast Track – Nashville, TN, August 3-5

SharePoint 2013 Power User Fast Track – Live Online, August 3-5

SharePoint 2013 Workflow and InfoPath No-Code Development – Nashville, TN, August 11-14

SharePoint 2013 Workflow and InfoPath No-Code Development – Live Online, August 11-14

Designing SharePoint Enterprise Content Management and Records Management Systems – Nashville, TN, August 18-21

Designing SharePoint Enterprise Content Management and Records Management Systems – Live Online, August 18-21

InfoPath 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 No-Code Workflow Deep Dive – Nashville, TN, August 25-28

InfoPath 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 No-Code Workflow Deep Dive – Live Online, August 25-28

Business Intelligence Training – the Microsoft Self-Service BI Toolset – Nashville, TN, August 31-September 2

Business Intelligence Training – the Microsoft Self-Service BI Toolset – Live Online, August 31-September 2

Learn more about these courses, and how our SharePoint training solves real-world business problems, here.  (Remember, you must use the promo code “AUG995” when you register online to get the special price.)

Register now before this cool deal melts away!


*This special deal is exclusive of all other offers. It may not be combined with any other offer or special pricing.





Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A Delightful Destination for Music, Fun, and SharePoint Training – Nashville


If you’re looking into SharePoint training this summer, you ought to think about making it a Nashville SharePoint “training vacation!”

Nashville, Tennessee, is listed among the 25 top tourist destinations in the USA, and for good reason. It’s a “happening” city with attractions to please people of every age and interest. Whether you’re into
  • Live Music
  • Country Music artists and history
  • Sports
  • Science
  • History
  • Nature
  • The Outdoors
  • Floral Beauty
  • Art
  • Shopping
  • Dining Out (from BBQ to fine dining)
  • The Performing Arts
  • Or any of a myriad of other interests
Nashville has something for you to appreciate, experience, and enjoy.

Tack a few extra days onto the front or back end of your Nashville SharePoint training class from PremierPoint Solutions, and mix expert hands-on training with a heaping helping of summer fun!

The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, professional sports (baseball, football, and hockey), museums, the Nashville Zoo, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, historical sites, and a plethora of parks, malls, stores, restaurants, night spots, and music venues make Nashville a hit with visitors of all ages.

Bring the kids! From Nashville Shores water park to the Adventure Science Center, along with parks and play areas galore, there’s plenty to keep them happy through the whole day.

So while you’re getting your SharePoint training, the family can be exploring Nashville’s fun spots.

Our Nashville classroom is in Brentwood, a beautiful suburb just south of Nashville, and you’ll find most all of the major hotel chains represented there.

Check out the full lineup of SharePoint classes here, and attend the class of your choice in Music City, USA, or Live Online right where you are.

Plan your Nashville SharePoint training vacation now. You won’t be disappointed!

Monday, June 15, 2015

How do you learn SharePoint?


I set out on a mission a few weeks back to discover a
better way to make our materials available to students.  This was prompted by a student in one class remarking that if we're "..going to use digital materials, then you need to go all the way".  I'm probably paraphrasing but that's what keeps ringing in my head! (thanks kate)

Monday, June 01, 2015

PowerShell Direct - Simplified SharePoint Management Shell?


One particular feature of Server 2016 that is announced is PowerShell Direct.  Take a look at this article from the Microsoft Virtualization blog.  The short version is that it will allow the Hyper-V host to PowerShell directly to the guest operating systems. This could lead to some very interesting scenarios.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Nano Server and Hyper-V goodies


Along with the scoop on SharePoint 2016 from yesterday, I
got a load of information on two related technologies. While not directly integrated with SharePoint there is a good chance that as a SharePoint Administrator you work with Hyper-V or servers in general. I got to take a look at the Nano Server and the new Hyper-V goodies that are in the pipe to be released. If you want to play with them now, look up Technical Preview 2 from Microsoft.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

SharePoint 2016 from Ignite!


Wow! That's the first thing I want to say.
I was fortunate enough to attend the SharePoint conference 3 years ago and the difference from then to today is just amazing.  I attended three sessions here at Microsoft Ignite and the next generation is just beautiful.  The TL:DR version is that Microsoft has been forced to use their own products for the last 3 years and are now giving users the corrections for all the headaches they found.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Microsoft Ignite: Day 1 complete and Day 2 started


Day 1 of the Microsoft Ignite conference was incredible.  It was amazing to see and talk to so many people that had the same needs and experiences with SharePoint.  Even more incredible was being able to discuss possible solutions using our software.