SharePoint Web Parts for Online Reporting to Parents
Filed under: Online Reporting, SharePoint, Twynham School
While I was at BETT in early January I was chatting to Alex Pearce from Great Barr School. He has a great blog and so I asked him for tips on my recent venture into writing a blog. He rightly pointed out that I really didn’t speak enough about SharePoint in Education which is my blog title! He is of course right and I do tend to get side tracked by technology in general but I hope to put his constructive criticism right during February. To start this I thought it would be good to share some of our work on creating Web Parts in SharePoint. In case you don’t know what a Web Part is and are new to SharePoint have a look at this handy guide in Wikipedia but in essence it is Microsoft’s version of a widget.
Twynham School started creating Web Parts all the way back in September 2007 soon after we had set up SharePoint 2007. Dave Coleman was (and is) a wise man and knew that this was the best way to help us develop our School Gateway and overcome data integration issues. He felt the challenge was really to make SharePoint the one-stop shop for staff and students to access everything they would need online. As a result we started work on pulling staff and students timetable data out of our MIS (Managment Information System) and into SharePoint. This was a mammoth undertaking for our two SQL/SharePoint developers Chris McKinley and Darren White but within half a term we had our first Web Part- The ‘My Timetable’ Web Part which can be seen below.
The view above is a timetable for s student in year 11. The Timetable Web part appears on both the staff and student gateways and is driven by active directory. As a result it recognises the user logged in and pulls their timetable. We have made a number of refinments in the year since this Web part was made. Students and teachers can now hover over any class and it will highlight the other linked classes. You can also view the timetable in single day and one week/two week cycle. This Web part has been the first of many which we have made in 2008 and I will run through some of the others ones during this week. If you would like to look at all the work we have done take a look at our showcase site