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Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

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Categories:MOSS; WSS; 2007; 2010; OpEd; General Knowledge

Mark Miller, Founder and Editor, EndUserSharePoint.comI received a question from Keith this afternoon and it kind of threw me. Here's the question and I'll follow with my response:

"I've added your RSS newsfeed to our intra-company website. We are fairly new to Sharepoint (we have MOSS 2007), and I'm trying to use every possible way to teach and facilitate basic skills both for publishing to a portal, and for departments and teams to maintain their own collaboration site (we haven't opened up "My Site" portals yet). Do you have, or can you recommend, newsfeeds that focus on more basic skills than what you offer? For example: setting up version control, setting alerts, uploading documents, how to move docs from one doc lib to another, granting permissions, etc. Thanks!!"

What I'm displaying in bold is what tripped me up. I thought that was what EndUserSharePoint.com was all about. Have we gotten so far off track that we are no longer considered the primary resource for basic, SharePoint End Users? That's disturbing.

Keith, there are over 1,400 articles on the site, 10,000 comments, an EUSP Newsletter that goes out to 13,000 people, a free Stump the Panel Forum where content experts answer questions all day long, workshops every week... all focused on Information Workers, Site Managers and Site Collections Managers. We do not publish content related to SharePoint programming, development or server administration. I'm not sure what else I can do.

The problem with supplying day-in-and-day-out content for basic level SharePoint Information Workers is that the content you can supply is limited. There are only so many times you can show people how to upload a document to a library. This site started out at that level. So did John Anderson at SharePointBlank, and Get the Point at Microsoft. Veronique at Veronique's SharePoint

I don't know of any site that consistently supplies new content on the basic fundamentals of using SharePoint. It's just been covered in too many places.

That said, there are two resources you might consider purchasing to help support your Information Worksers.

Rob Bogue - A Shepherd's Guide to SharePoint 2007
Steve Smith - Combined Knowledge End User Adoption

Bringing these two resources in house will give your users the internal support system they need at the basic level. Once they understand the concepts of using SharePoint as delivered by Rob and Steve, I think they'll find that those who have a real interest in learning about SharePoint will find websites like EndUserSharePoint.com more useful.

I hope you find that helpful.
Mark

Comments

Laura

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Hi Keith,
Here's another great resource from Microsoft. Some visual, tutorial-style training on basic document library concepts:
http://office.microsoft.com/training/training.aspx?AssetID=RC102345091033

On the left side of the screen, expand the "why document libraries" section, to see a full list of little tutorials to watch

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Laura
Jay

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

There's also the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Training Portal Edition that's free from Microsoft. Some of it goes beyond what you need but some of what's there might be useful.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=673dc932-626a-4e59-9dca-16d685600a51&displaylang=en

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Jay
Xene

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Keith's question is an issue I face daily. While admittedly basic end-user tasks are a large hurdle, those are easiest to deal with. I build a list, I send the end-users instructions on how to use it, bit by bit we are making headway, but it takes a long time, especially if your end-user has no interest.

The challenge that I face more often than basic skills is 'Sharepoint theory.' Just today I have emailed 5 different people to get a list, one that is maintained by our sister cooporation (who also has Sharepoint). The first list was sent to me as a Word document. Since this list updates often, this was unsatisactory as a workable solution, so I started probing to find the list's originator. I was sent from person to person in the sister organization until I got this reply "I have an idea for this. We have an Excel sheet in our shared drive. How about we contact our IT department and maybe we can link the portal to our shared drive somehow so you can see the list?"

What more need I say? Some days it is all uphill!

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Xene
Laura

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Very good point, Xene,
It's all about efficiency. I'll plan on putting together a short screencast on my standard discussion on that exact concept. So cool that every time I explain it, I can see light bulbs going on and wheels turning. ;-)

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Laura
Veronique Palmer

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Hi guys,

Mark, thanks for the mention. Keith, my website is aimed at beginners with a little content for server admins but that is also just the basics. The purpose of my site is to supply beginners with very simple how-to's, tips, tricks and best practices - all on out of box features. I am more than happy to add any content that will assist you, feel free to either add your requests here or email me directly. My idea was to provide the basics to make them confident enough to take on the EUSP content. And after that the world is their oyster.

http://www.letscollaborate.co.za

Kind Regards,
V...

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Veronique Palmer
Jay

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

I've been faced with this issue a couple of times. What I normally do is create a "Training & Support" site and populate the site with 1-2 page "how-to" documents (pdf's) that are broken out into end user and content administrator levels, a FAQ list (customized discussion list), a location for end users to submit support requests and questions for the FAQ, and lists for administrative functions (new site creations, user additions etc...).

When we have time we go back and add a video library of VERY short videos on how to complete one specific action (upload a single document for example). We use Camtasia for this.

I have found that it is very impoprtant to keep any How-to documents or videos short and focused on a specific topic or the end user will say to heck with it and either call or email me.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Jay
Dave Pyett

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Jay,

Have you checked out the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS)? This is an excellent platform for these type of videos. Can bit a bit of a struggle to get it set up but once done, really gives your users a great experience when looking at the videos.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Dave Pyett
Steve Smith

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

This is indeed one of the biggest issues with SharePoint deployments after the go live date. Most users do not need formal training at this point they need the ability to find the answer to the task they are trying to do at that time. They will not remember the answer often when they need to do it again 2 months later.

We have found success with our User Adoption product because it gathers all known learning methods into one central point of reference and the user can choose which one they use such as 'quick step how to' which also has a help on top popup so they can follow the quick steps whilst being in the application, deep dive excercise, video, CBT all around that one task. We now have over 400 item level tasks in our product and it continues to grow. For SharePoint 2010 we predict this will be at least 600 modules just to start !!

IT should not be spending lots of time on this area the users need to be able to support themselves here and if content needs to be added to the system then content experts (power users) should be the ones doing it leaving IT to do the jobs that are important to the back end such as database management and disastor recovery testing etc.

I would be happy to demo our product using a live meeting session, just ping me.

Steve

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Steve Smith
Christophe

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Mark, is a blog the best support for this kind of need? Right, the content exists, but this was published long ago and is now buried below a thousand other articles, many of them deep enough to scare beginners away.
Maybe a wiki would be better adapted? Like what Jeremy is doing for developers. And the best part is that beginners themselves could participate and help each other!

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Christophe
EndUserSharePoint

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Christophe,

I don't think it has to do with being a blog or a wiki. He is asking for an RSS feed for sources. If the content is not being continually being updated, the RSS feed won't have anything to show. Keith hasn't asked for a way to support his users, he's asked for a continuous stream of new information at the basic level. I don't think it exists.

Mark

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
eric

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

All the basic things were covered when Sharepoint 2007 and WSS3 were released. Now you are starting to see that trend continue with blog articles from all sources showing how to do various things in Sharepoint 2010.

Word of advice, turn ON My Sites. What better place for users to start getting to know how to do things without having that fear of screwing up their team site somehow. When they are working in their My Site, they are essentially working in their own sandbox. If they corrupt it, delete the site collection and let them provision a new one.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by eric
Jay

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Dave,

When I was at my former employer (a corporate environment) I had asked the developer group to look at the PKS and had I stayed we probably would have implemented it at some point. In the current environment I support doing any kind of audio/video is going to be much more difficult for a couple of reasons;

1. Security configurations are constantly updated and almost always disable or break Flash so using any kind of Flash based solution (Camtasia again) is not really an option.

2. Almost all audio/video streaming of any kind is blocked by policy.

3. Silverlight seems to work in most cases here but I haven't had a lot of time to look at it and being the "non-dev" that I am there will be a learning curve there that I may not be able to take on right now.

Initially I'll have to stick with docs and FAQ's. Hopefully down the raod in 6 months I'll be able to revisit the issue and see what I can do about enhancing the training effort.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Jay
Dave Pyett

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Agreed with Mark - don't think a constant stream of new beginner content exists. Whilst we are all sick and tired of seeing how to upload a document etc etc, SharePoint is still growing world-wide and is therefore bringing in new users on a daily basis. This shows a clear market for beginner content.

Surfacing that content however is becoming harder and harder. WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 are a few years old now and there's so much information out there, it can be hard to point newcomers to relevant content.

Mark, It would be great to make EndUserSharePoint.com THE place to go for all new SharePoint end users so maybe a new section in the topic list jsut for this type of content would be appropriate?

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Dave Pyett
Christophe

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

ok Mark, point taken. And I'd say, just like Eric, that "basic level" and "new information" only go together for new releases.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Christophe
EndUserSharePoint

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Dave, Let me think about that one. I can have Natasha tag the articles for difficulty level and then have a search page dedicated to only that content. That might work. I have also reserved the doman name EndUserSharePoint2010.com, so everything we are learning about content exposure will be implemented on that site. I'm even thinking about using Drupal because Christophe keeps bugging me about having so much content within a blog, and wants to see it in a CMS. The other alternative is to move the new site into a SharePoint 2010 site on fpWeb.net. I'm looking at all the alternatives and will decide soon because the content flow is starting to be a bit much to filter through. Mark

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Marc D Anderson

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Great comments so far. There are so many variables in all of this!

Many of us (myself included) tend to focus on how to implement a "known thing" in SharePoint. The "What is SharePoint and why do I care?" layer is always a hard one. If you don't know what you want, then there's no way to know where to start looking. It always reminds me of that old "How can I look up a word in the dictionary if I don't know how to spell it?" question. Yes, I'm a consultant, but this is where we consultants can actually add some real value. We know how to use SharePoint and what has worked or not in real practice. When you're just getting started, there's no real way to gain that experience without taking the same wrong steps we all have way behind us.

I think that all the market segmentation that Microsoft does is pretty bogus and I try to just ignore it. I don't think that distinguishing between end users, power users, IT pros, etc. makes a lot of sense in the real world. I've known "end user" who can code rings around me, and I've seen MVPs making points that make me wonder if they get the reason for the technology at all. Every single person out there is different: they learn differently, they try to accomplish different things, they are motivated differently. That said, the need for information is a constant.

I try my damndest in the stuff that I write to offer up something for everyone in each article. No, I can't succeed at that every time. But if most articles make some people go "Hmm. I hadn't thought about it that way.", then I've done my part.

In some ways, there's *too* much information now. Back in the SharePoint 2003 and early 2007 days, there was NOTHING useful. We all had to make it up as we went. Now there are too many trees in the forest: more Web sites than we can count, blogs, articles, training, etc. The trick is for each person to find the channels that work for them.

M.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Marc D Anderson
EndUserSharePoint

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

> And I’d say, just like Eric, that “basic level” and “new information” only go together for new releases.

That's an interesting perspective. If we think of it in those terms, there is a definite a time window involved where the basic level "How To" content is available as a recurring stream. It's at the beginning of the distribution curve during the beta and release of the new product.

Once the general user community has consumed that information, they start looking for more powerful solutions. That's what has happened at EndUserSharePoint.com. The content Keith is looking for is definitely here, it's just at the beginning of the archives.

Mark

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Jeff

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

I personally have a desktop icon for http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/FX101211721033.aspx because I use it so much. It's more than just a bookmark .. it's THE bookmark to have.

When end user ask basic questions I like to cite the article so that (1) they have detailed instruction and (2) they can explore and learn on their own.

A simple search on this site yields a How To article for nearly every feature the product offers. And because it's from the vendor, Microsoft, you know it's more accurate than a rambling email from me. =]

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Jeff
Dux Raymond Sy

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

What I found effective for end-user adoption is making the learning experience contextual (i.e. how to reserve a conference room) vs functional (i.e. creating a new calendar item that kicks in a workflow).

Here's a SharePoint 101 video series that was recorded from SharePoint Saturday Baltimore that your end users will appreciate: http://bit.ly/sp_101

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Dux Raymond Sy
Ruven Gotz

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

There are a number of axes here that need to be thought about - and they apply to different audiences (or at least, audiences at different point in their SP careers).

Basic vs Advanced (as in: I'm kind of new to SP, don't hit me with jscript right now)
Core vs Peripheral (as in: Core functions that I use every day vs. cool tips that are helpful but non-essential)
Fresh vs Old (as in: I am a SP junkie, I've read everything and I want MORE!)

Mark, your site has TONS of useful information. The solution is easy to say, but hard to execute: Create a navigational system that organizes content along these axes (the last one is easy - RSS will give those who are interested the freshest material every day).

The trick for the vast majority of users is "just-in-time learning": Help me solve the problem that I am having right now. If the site makes it easy to find the information that I need, then it becomes an invaluable resource.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Ruven Gotz
Keith

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

I'm so overwhelmed by the positive feedback that I don't know where to start! "Thank you" just doesn't cover it here.

Mark, I'm an in-house software developer who was tagged to be SP Admin about a year ago (in addition to my other duties), so I'm always scrambling. I've had no training, I just Google everything, experiment, and try to learn a little XSLT when I can. Your site was new to me yesterday (I may have seen it a few times while Googling, but just not familiar with your mission) as I was searching specifically for a Sharepoint user site that offered an RSS feed that would be appropriate for our employees' needs for basic skills. Your site looked to be the closest I could find, but the RSS feed topics were things like, JQuery and Data View Web Part. These interested ME greatly, but my users call me about the basic things and I was just looking for something that I thought would provide content relevant to their needs. I NEVER intended my question as a criticism, and I hope you did not tae it as such. Your response, and the response of your community here, is the most amazing display of honest concern and professional courtesy that I have ever experienced on the Internet!

I especially like your idea, Mark, of categorizing articles for Beginner, Intermediate, etc. That way, an RSS feed could be created that filtered for Beginners. And maybe it could be a carousel-style thing. If you have 240 Beginner-level how-to articles, they can be recycled as long as they remain relevant.

Every one of the comments so far are right on target. You guys all feel my pain, I can tell. And RSS feeds are not the end-all solution, so I am going to take many of the ideas you offered and apply them (Laura, Jay, Xene, Veonique, Dave, Steve, and the rest!). With all of these ideas, it is be well worth my time to create more than just a web part on my IT departmental portal with RSS feeds; but, instead do as some of you suggested and create a site that offers multiple sources and is geared to give my users a very quick reference that will, 90% of the time, give them a quick and simple answer to their question.

We can say that users are fickle, impatient, not willing to take the time, or whatever, but we are the same way in areas that are not our primary focus and they really just want to be productive. You guys all get that and I thank you for your help!!

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Keith
EndUserSharePoint

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

> Your response, and the response of your community here, is the most amazing display of honest concern and professional courtesy that I have ever experienced on the Internet! Keith, Thanks for the followup. I think you'll find the SharePoint Community in general is like no other technology community. The public support system that has grown around SharePoint is phenomenal. Those of us with decades of experience in technology, are watching in awe as this community continues to grow. I hope the comments here are helpful in your explorations. I look forward to your participation now that you've found us. Regards, Mark

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Rob Kronick

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

I especially like the comment Marc made; "Every single person out there is different: they learn differently, they try to accomplish different things, they are motivated differently". I've always looked at SharePoint in the same way as I look at Microsoft WORD: Just like every information worker in an organization constantly creates content,and therefore, can make good use of WORD, every information worker constantly deals with informatiion and can make good use of SharePoint. And for both of these products, I think it's true that the more you know about the product, the more benefit you will tend to harvest from it. Most folks don't use much more than 10% of WORD, and similary, most folks probably won't use much more than 10% of SharePoint (the "out-of-the-box" stuff Veronica refers to in her comment). But there will always be some folks who will want to go beyond the 10%. I guess we tend to call them Power Users.

Anyway, I believe every organization should make training available at every level of SharePoint, and let the users choose how much they want to learn. This presupposes that the organization has at least invested enough in helping their people understand what SharePoint can do.

I know this is geting long, so I'll just close off my alluding to Marc's comment; "they are motivated differently". This is very important for SharePoint User Adoption. Lofty benefits like ease of information access, improved business insight, moving from a user-controlled to a shared electronic environment, and end user productivity, may raise the eyebrows of executives in the ivory tower at the 10,000-foot level of the organization, but they will elicit hardly a yawn from the information workers ‘on the ground’. The value of the lofty benefits notwithstanding, if executives want to realize them, they have to understand how important the role of the information workers is in achieving them. And provide them the training to do so. As far as I'm concerned, executives neglect the training aspect at their peril. If executives still aren't interested, then at least they can step aside and let the information workers find real world uses for SharePoint to make their working lives easier. And there are lots of those.

Apologies if I rambled. I'm very passionate about SharePoint Enduser Adoption.

Sincerely,
Rob Kronick

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Rob Kronick
Dave Pyett

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

All I can say Keith is welcome to the SharePoint community - It's awesome!

PS> Are you on twitter?

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Dave Pyett
John Anderson

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Hey, gang -

Excellent discussion. Mark, many thanks for the plug, though I'm guilty of not blogging for SharePoint Blank on anything close to a regular basis of late (I'm still fitting it in when I can, and plan to ramp up full-stop again in conjunction with the release of 2010, but I'm afraid as RSS readers go, it's going to continue as an occasional feature for the time being).

The larger point that's been raised here, and with which I agree with wholeheartedly, is the issue of organizing blog content in a manner that makes it most convenient for y/our users. Bamboo Nation runs on Community Server which, unfortunately, doesn't come with blog categories out-of-the-box. That alone could go a long way in many cases, but in the case of EUSP, as has been noted, your content library is SO extensive (and ranging from an intended audience of first-time end users to power end users) that devising a manner of easily signaling to users where the buckets of content at their skill level reside would be the ideal solution.

Of course, there's always the search feature, both on a given site as well as via search engines proper, and I would be willing to bet that most beginning end users looking for help are just going to plug in sharepoint + [their area of need] into their browser of choice, and go from there. I'd also be willing to bet that doing so will land them on one of the end user-focused sites, hopefully with not only an answer to their question but also the beginning of a beautiful relationship with/in the SharePoint end user community. ; )

Cheers,
John

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by John Anderson
Jeremy Thake

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Lots of great comments here.

@Ruveng nails it though:
- Basic vs Advanced (as in: I’m kind of new to SP, don’t hit me with jscript right now)
- Core vs Peripheral (as in: Core functions that I use every day vs. cool tips that are helpful but non-essential)
- Fresh vs Old (as in: I am a SP junkie, I’ve read everything and I want MORE!)

and I think @meetdux has a great approach too:
- contextual (i.e. how to reserve a conference room)
vs
- functional (i.e. creating a new calendar item that kicks in a workflow)

obviously in a "Developer" world that I live in SharePointDevWiki.com is more functional based driven around the API etc. But for End Users it really needs to be contextual/scenario based stuff. Think @PaulCulmsee's series on Annual Leave Form (yes us Aussies watch each others backs ;-) )

I think the best way forward for @EUSP would be to keep doing what its doign article wise via blog posts, but have RSS feeds that allow people to pick based on categories or everything together.
In the dev world I tried this, but people are information whores and just want everything ;-) I think withthe amount of content you are pumping out at @EUSP you need to have these separate feeds.
I also think you need a "Are you new to this site?" with a page introducing the site, its purpose and some popular pages. Something I'm doing as part of my upcoming migration over at SharePointDevWiki.com. You'll also pick up authors doing this.

As I've discused before, chronological doesn't always work when you awnt to find things later so categories most definately help. The wiki approach is useful but I'm finding people just aren't familiar with them and just want to click "new post".

As I mentioned to Arno at SPoint.me, be great to see this move to SharePoint 2010...as this is just a blog, there should be no reason it's not used....? but I think this is for another conversation ;-)

And by the way Mark, I'm no wimp ;-) (context: Mark asked me to comment on here at 23:30 last night...and I told him I was calling it a night and get the "wimp" call out!)

Posted 06-Mar-2010 by Jeremy Thake
Christophe

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Welcome to the community Keith!

Your idea of a carousel is also something I've been thinking about. Just like for sitcoms or cooking, we could have a channel that serves oldies but goodies. It's a technique I've already seen on sites that target beginners.

ok, now I start picturing Dessie serving his calculated columns on the formula cooking channel...

Posted 06-Mar-2010 by Christophe
Michael Gannotti

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Funny how things work out timing wise. I just had a similar conversation yesterday. First, as you have indicated Mark, an RSS feed for this type of focus training is probably not appropriate as there are only so many times you can re-state basics. However as many folks have pointed out there are some great resources that serve as self hosted repositories. I heartily recommend the Productivity Hub by Microsoft. It is free, covers the basics, receives regular content updates, and can be extended with your own orgs custom needs. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=277fefca-d62f-41bc-943d-79002254cfee

Posted 06-Mar-2010 by Michael Gannotti
Lynley

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

I have to heartily agree with Dux and others about the importance of context. I've found that it's not that my most of my end-users are lazy or want everything delivered to them on a silver platter....they just don't know enough about SharePoint and its capabilities to know what to look for in the myriad of resources available to them through Google. Our solution has been to set up a SharePoint Community of Practice (we call it the ShareSpace) where we collect up FAQs and provide links to EUSP, Get the 'Point, etc.. We also write blog articles that address the needs within the business (i.e. "I don't want anyone making changes to this document" vs. "SharePoint permission levels") We summarize the "why" and give examples of how they might use this feature or function, but then we link to the procedural articles from Microsoft, EUSP, etc. and any related content that might be useful. This prevents us from spending hours recreating that basic content, but it also allows us to sift through all that content to provide the most useful links to our users. It also gives us an easy way to refer people to the answers they need with a single link or two.

Our ShareSpace also hosts a discussion board where users can post questions to other users (and to us, the administrators). Though we tend to do most of the moderating, we've seen some participation from power users, too. More often than not, these discussion board questions actually prompt us to write more comprehensive blog articles, so we have a pretty steady stream of ideas for articles.

Keith, I had the same experience you did when we first set out to start actually educating our users (when they had previously been thrown into the deep end and were just expected to swim!), so I know exactly what you mean about the seeming lack of beginner content. It's there, but you just have to dig for it. You may want to consider filtering out the more advanced end-user content for your users and maybe creating a simple links list that would allow you to direct them to the most useful basic content. It wouldn't be as automatic as an RSS feed, but you wouldn't have to recreate the wheel.

I'd be happy to talk about our solution if you're interested in doing something like this. Feel free to drop me an email anytime!

Lynley
lynleyloftin@yahoo.com

Posted 07-Mar-2010 by Lynley
Keith

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

> I think you’ll find the SharePoint Community in general is like no other technology community.

Mark, each day brings more evidence proving the truth of your comment. Instead of being in a desert looking for a drop of water, I'm now in a huge grocery store deciding which brands I prefer. Sites, blogs, videos, site collections (Productivity Hub), RSS feeds, articles, links, and more are available. Now, to tailor these resources into something that fits my pragmatic and busy user community...

> First, as you have indicated Mark, an RSS feed for this type of focus training is probably not appropriate as there are only so many times you can re-state basics.

I perceive that Mark is intensely interested in this discussion to get suggestions on how to tailor, or evolve, EUSP. Since I still feel that a beginner-level RSS feed is a great idea, well, here are my thoughts... The point is true in reference to one person, or if this were the only resource I planned to offer, but what about a dynamic and diverse group of users? I re-state the basics daily when answering questions within my own company. Worldwide, the same RSS article could appear quarterly and never lack for a large audience who is seeing it for the first time. Though I want to provide what one of you called "just-in-time" answers to SP questions, a beginner-level RSS feed web part will catch their eye when they are at my "Sharepoint Learning Center" page and they will see an article for something else that they have wanted to know how to do but never had, or took, the time to learn. For this reason I would still love to see an RSS feed geared to the beginner level, even if it is repetitive.

Posted 08-Mar-2010 by Keith
Ruven Gotz

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Mark, to follow-up on Kieth's comment, you could create a collection of RSS feeds for different audiences that republish older posts.

This would leverage the huge base of content already on the site, plus give someone new to this site that flow of "new" stuff every week (or every day, or whatever frequency they choose) that some people seem to be asking for.

A site full of info is great for research, but overwhelming for someone who wants to learn in a more regulated way. Get the info out to them with a sprinkler, not a fire-hose.

- Ruven

Posted 08-Mar-2010 by Ruven Gotz
EndUserSharePoint

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Ruven, I am liking that idea more and more. It's going to take a little legwork on my end to have Natasha get everything setup, but it looks as if it is what people are expecting with this much content. After setting up everything, I'll build a free, content editor web part and make it available to the public to place on their SharePoint sites. The only glitch will be for those running an https connection because they will get a security warning in IE everytime a page loads with that web part on it. Information Workers Power Users Site Collection Admin We'll see how this plays out. Mark

Posted 08-Mar-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Dessie Lunsford

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

[Cristophe wrote]
"ok, now I start picturing Dessie serving his calculated columns on the formula cooking channel…"

Something along the lines of..."Cooking with Calculated Columns on a Budget", or "3-Minute Formulas", or "You Can Calculate"...just so many title possibilities...LOL

One of the things I deal with almost daily in my organization is new users to the world of SharePoint and how to get them up to speed. As a developer/designer/trainer/"solution creator" for all things SharePoint at my work, I normally just sit down with them on a one-to-one basis for a couple hours taking them on the tour of what SharePoint is. We cover as much as possible without "SP-Overload" (not always possible, but we try), and I always make it a poitn for them to bring in some material that they'd like to be able to migrate/manage to a site so we have something literal to find a solution for. Once we're done, I let them digest what they've learned and then come back with additional questions. I normally send them a variety of links for additional resources (EUSP being at the top of the list), but as the main (only) contact for any and all things SharePoint, they always come back to me with specific problems and questions about how to solve a particular scenario...which I encourage ( I do enjoy that part of my work).

This all works fine in the short-term, because for my users (and anybody really), its nice to have a real person they can talk to...someone that will answer their questions and help them to discover what can be done within the system.
In the long-term however, self-service is the key. Not because I dont want them to come back to me for answers, but because I want, and encourage them, to actively seek and discover how to do things on their own...either through intuitively discovering how to do things in a system that (hopefully) they're becoming used to, or by searching online at various resources.

We've tried numerous times throughout the years at creating our own internal "Wiki" to serve as the knowledge base for everything that all of our users have learned how to do in SharePoint (let them write the content), but each effort has resulted in nothing more than an initial ramp-up of interest...then eventual lack of use (which is unfortunate given some of the internal solutions many of my users have come up with).

With all this being said, I'd like to be able to send my users to a place where they could find all the information they need...something that was easy to use, easy to search, and intuitive on how to find the answers they need. As I said, EUSP is at the top of the list of resources I send them a link to, but its not uncommon for me to hear back how they have to sift through (what appeared to them as) a bunch of stuff for advanced users ("script" stuff, "Data View Webpart" [what the heck is that?, they've asked], site management, permissions)..."Where's the stuff for 'End Users'?"..."Most of the stuff on the site seems like its for administrators, tekkies, or programmers" (yes, even though technically "We" [Mark and each of the contributors to the site] dont write or cover anything on the "Developer" side of the house on the site...there is a very fine line between "Coding" and "Scripting" that not everyone is familiar with).

I like the idea's that are being discussed in these comments. With the sheer amount of information found within this site, we need a better way to surface all of it...old and new. Tagging by difficulty level with a separate page/area to search each would be a great start, differentiating areas of interest via the "Channel" idea also sounds interesting, "contextual" vs. "functional"...all of these approaches do have merit. Personally though, I'd like to see something more community-driven that provides answers and "How-To's" to meet the needs of anyone regardless of their experience level or searching "prowess".

Not sure exactly how to accomplish this, but I can certainly picture it:

- "Wiki-like" in nature, with searching and links (direct and cross-linked) to each and every article posted.
- "Add to Knowledge-Base" option for threads posted on the STP forums for solutions to given problems (all levels covered there....from basic to advanced).
- Dynamically updated "Top 20" most popular or frequently accessed topics/questions for each category of articles (searchable FAQ).
- Separate RSS feeds for each category of articles, level of user (maybe even new categories for different types of solutions that are somehow related with feeds to those as well).
- "User" Created/Edited content area - separate from STP, but feeds into the Wiki with content submitted and edited by the EUSP audience (this would be the place where users can create content they feel would benefit everyone - could be "Account-based" where they'd have to apply to be able to add/edit content, but would be a great way for anyone to be able to "Give back" on what they've learned.

These are just examples of what I envision in my little "SharePoint Utopia of Knowledge"...and I realize thet there'd be some "logistic" things to work out in order to create something like this, but I think it'd be worth it in the end.

Great discussion so far everyone...I 'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.

- Dessie

Posted 08-Mar-2010 by Dessie Lunsford
Brian

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Our Microsoft SharePoint end-user documentation team blog is at http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/GetThePoint/default.aspx. Admittedly, we run into the same issue of trying not to blog about uploading a document for the umpteenth time. The feed is http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/GetThePoint/_layouts/listfeed.aspx?List={8D9E2A99-F288-47C2-916B-2F32864F7B82}

One of the better ways to get end-users up to speed is the “Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Training Portal Edition”, installs on SharePoint, and the “Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Training Standalone Edition”, installs on local computers.

• Portal, http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=673DC932-626A-4E59-9DCA-16D685600A51&displaylang=en

• Standalone, http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=7BB3A2A3-6A9F-49F4-84E8-FF3FB71046DF&displaylang=en

There is also great free SharePoint Server 2007 training at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training/CR102146081033.aspx. There are extensive series on using document libraries, calendars, workflows, and Excel services.

The SharePoint Server 2007 Help is at, http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/FX101211721033.aspx. You can use it as is or provide the most relevant content to your end-users.

I hope this Helps. It also has me thinking about how best to provide our content for SharePoint 2010.

Thanks,

Brian

Posted 08-Mar-2010 by Brian
Joel Oleson

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Awesome comment stream. I see a lot of things being discussed here very openly. Lots of good solution recommendations.

My favorites:
1. categories - make it easy to find and navigate and subscibe at various depth levels
2. tag or wiki based navigation
3. What's New Webpart consumable by corps

great discussion

Posted 09-Mar-2010 by Joel Oleson
Christophe

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

For the record, a while ago I used Yahoo Pipes to build a mashup of SharePoint blogs targeting end users:
http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=YgNdKIbr3RGU67bLzM6PRA&_render=rss

We could imagine a similar mashup targeted at beginners, including:
- a subset of EndUserSharePoint.com
-SharePoint Blank
- Get the Point
- etc.

Posted 10-Mar-2010 by Christophe
Rob Kronick

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Hi again. My comment is for Dessie. I would really, really like to hear "some of the internal solutions many of my users have come up with." Would you mind sharing this with us. Either that, or please be free to email me at rob.kronick@ontario.ca. I'd just love to hear about them.

Rob.

Posted 10-Mar-2010 by Rob Kronick
Ethan

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Thanks for the pointers and directions Mark!

I have a question, a long while ago (year plus) I believe you published an article on spiffing up homepages using a Sharepoint Blog and an RSS reader to reformat the blog on a homepage as a recent news type piece of content. I haven't been able to find the article for the life of me, any pointers?

Posted 05-Apr-2010 by Ethan
EndUserSharePoint

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

I think that was by Lee Reed. Select 'Topics -> Authors' and click Lee's name. It will show you all the articles he's published. Hope that helps. -- Mark

Posted 06-Apr-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Nancy

Basic, Beginner Level Content for SharePoint Users

Thanks to everyone who commented, since I have probably turned to each one of you for help at least once.

I have to jump in and echo anyoneone who stressed the importance of the "why" in any article, training or demo- showing someone "how" to do something never works unless they can relate those steps to a concrete reason or need.

How to implement versioning? Piece of cake. WHY might you want/need versioning? OMG, that could take an hour. Not to mention the tangents it will lead that unknowing business user off into.

Posted 06-Apr-2010 by Nancy
Mohan

Learn Sharepoint for beginners

Nice way to learn SharePoint 2010 Basics by Videos. Please follow the link. http://aspnet-ajax-aspnetmvc.blogspot.in/2013/11/learn-sharepont-2010-basics.html

Posted 18-Nov-2013 by Mohan

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