EndUserSharePoint.com: How do people learn?

I have been a teacher in one form or another for 30 years. The subject of how people learn has been a personal fascination since the beginning. I found two articles this week that brought back my enthusiasm for discovering ways to learn.


The first is an article in this month’s Wired magazine about Piotr Wozniak, the guy who invented SuperMemo. If you haven’t investigated his theories on learning, you’re in for a treat. A quick rundown is this: in order to learn something and really make it yours, you need to be reminded at specific intervals of "forgetfulness". There is a chart on the second page of the online version that sums it all up.

Styles of Learning 

While conducting SharePoint workshops, I am always conscious of the different learning styles of the participants. Some like to be hand-held during all steps. Some like direction but want to try to flail a little on their own. Others just want the basic courseware and to be left alone so they can figure it out.

The second reading is from Pamela Devenport, an internationally recognized lecturer and master teacher, who has written a workbook for cello teachers: Cellostart - Essential Topics in Cello Pedagogy. Pamela has done a very good analysis of the various types of learning styles:

  1. Visual Learners
  2. Aural Learners
  3. Kinesthetic Learners
  4. Mental/Verbal Learners
  5. Logical/Linear Processors
  6. Global/Inuitive Processors

This is extremely important information. If we are to impart learning to beginning SharePoint users, we need to know our audience. During the "Train-the-Trainer" sessions, it is critical to introduce potential trainers to the various ways of learning.

Food for thought. These were a couple of fun reads.

EndUserSharePoint.com: Is there a bug in the sync between Outlook 2007 and SharePoint?

The question of the day comes from Suzanne:

I’m experiementing with an Outlook 2007 resource that we use for the entire company by creating a SharePoint calendar and synching the 2 together so all users can "view" the calendar. They will still send appointments to the Outlook resource.

I can view appointments on the SharePoint calendar through the end of the year, but I’ve just noticed that not ALL appointments are getting added to the SharePoint calendar and I don’t know why. Is there a bug in the 2-way synch?

Suzanne - This is the first I’ve heard of this issue. Are you sure all of the people adding events are doing it properly? What about permissions issues? Give some more detail on the setup and maybe some of our readers can provide feedback or insight. — Mark

EndUserSharePoint.com: When do I create a new Site Collection vs create a new site?

Bob MixonBob Mixon has posted a thought provoking article on when you might consider creating a new site collection vs when to create a new site. His theory is that there is a "controlled area" for enterprise managed content and a "wild, wild, west" area where the gun slingers can pull out all their magic tricks. It’s worth thinking about when you are starting to structure your environment.

Here’s a quote to get you started:

"There are many advantages to using multiple Site Collections in an organization.  In fact, in most circumstances, I recommend it.  If we are referring to only the internal needs of an organization, at a minimum I will recommend two Site Collections.  One Site Collection for the controlled Intranet and the other for collaboration (what I refer to as the wild, wild west). 

In many situations, I will also recommend spinning Information Technology (IT) into its own Site Collection.  I recommend this because it’s rare that we need to share IT information with the general employee."

Take a few minutes to read the article and save yourself days worth of headache down the road.

— Mark

EndUserSharePoint.com: Boston Marathon

Tony Caviglia and GrandsonsI’m in Boston for the weekend, getting ready to watch my father-in-law run the Boston Marathon. He’s 71 years old and this is about his 70th marathon… go Tony! That said, I’m taking the rest of the week off, showing the family around Boston and lower New Hampshire. I’m falling behind on my email responses to questions, so don’t take it personally when you don’t hear back from me. Life happens.

The Content Types installment is coming along. It looks as if it will be as large as the Lists/Libraries section. There is a lot to cover, but I’m trying to distill it down to the essentials. Look for it in your email box on Wednesday. — Mark

EndUserSharePoint.com: Weekly Newsletter - Site Collection Project Management

This week’s newsletter, Site Collection Project Management, describes how to setup a management area for a site collection. It includes multiple downloads, screenshots and pointers to free software. For those who received the newsletter, please leave your comments, rants and raves in the comments section. To read the article and get the downloads, you can subscribe to the Weekly Newsletter and receive immediate access.

Here is an excerpt for those who have not yet subscribed:

A key question to consider when managing a site collection is how you are going to track the decisions made during the management process. My recommendation is to create a secure site within the site collection that is only available to the site collection administrators.  Use the site for the communication, collaboration and historical archiving of the policies, procedures and decisions made during the management of the site collection.

This article will walk through the process of setting up the Site Collection Project Management site within SharePoint.

Site Collection - High Level Site Map

If you would like to view the article and receive the Mind Map of the entire project, please subscribe to the Weekly Newsletter. Upon confirmation of your subscription, you will receive an email with pointers to the downloads.


EndUserSharePoint.com: Can I integrate SharePoint / Exchange calendars?

The question of the day comes from Todd:

One of our specific needs is to have a centrally managed Delivery Schedule, which contains info on the programs we are teaching, and who will be teaching them. We want to have a centrally managed calendar, so that we can see at a glance all of our program commitments and who is facilitating that program.

Each facilitator should be able to see their own calendar. More importantly, their view should be tightly integrated into Outlook. That is, our facilitator should be able to see all of their delivery commitments directly in Outlook. The scheduler should have visibilty into everyone’s calendar, so they can find facilitators who might be able to go to a particular program.

Chris QuickFrom Chris Quick:

Todd - We are currently using Exchange and SharePoint 2007 in the same environment and the interoperability is incredible between the two (I especially like the capability of managing all of your SharePoint alerts in a single location!)

Could the use of meeting workspaces tied into Exchange calendars be workable for this scenario? There are some new capabilities in Exchange 2007 that facilitate better calendaring and SharePoint awareness, but if they are in two separate installations it may be a trick to get setup.


Mark Miller, EndUserSharePoint.comFrom Mark Miller:

I groan, literally, whenever I hear a request like this… not because it is an unreasonable request, but because it should be something immediately available, OOTB in SharePoint. Any organization of any size requests this ability.

I am interested in hearing from anyone who has a work around solution for this. I don’t mind hearing about third party tools, but I’d prefer to see OOTB solutions using just SharePoint and Exchange.

EndUserSharePoint.com: How do I get a specific file to always be on top of the library list?

The question of the day comes from Denise:

How do I get a specific file to always be on top of the library list?

Denise - This is a very common request. The problem here is that by default the library will display first in - first out. Here is a simple 4 step hack to get you started.

  1. Create a column called Sort By
  2. Insert a value into the Sort By column of the file you want to always be at the top
  3. Do a reverse sort within the default view
  4. Turn off the visibility of the Sort By column within the view

Check out the images below to show the 2 minute fix.

Hope that helps — Mark

Float to Top - Create a Sort By column

Float to Top - Create a Sort By Column

Float to Top - Sort by the Sort By column

Float to Top - Sort by the Sort By column

Float to Top - Final Output

Float to Top - Final Output

EndUserSharePoint.com: How can I create an Employee of the Day slideshow?

The question of the day comes from Gwen:

I would like to get my employee introduction slide deck on the [Quote of the Day] webpart that would say, "Meet the Team".  Each slide has a few pics of people and some introductory text. . then a link saying, "Click here for more" would take people to the library with the slides for each person.  When they clicked on the slide it would open in a larger format.

This Week in PicturesJust a thought… have you tried the "This Week in Pictures" slide show web part? Point the web part at a picture library. It will dynamically display a thumbnail of an image in the library. Clicking on the thumbnail will pull up a slide show of all the images in the library. Anytime you add new images, they are automatically included in the slide show along with any information you have included about the image.

You can not control the output order of the slide show, but this is a quick, handy way to get something up that you won’t have to touch again. I usually put it in the top, right corner of the entrance page.

From Gwen:

OMG - That was too easy.  What I wanted to do was there all along!

Here’s the step-by-step:

  1. Convert each slide to a .jpg image (can be done very easily using PowerPoint 2007)
  2. Create a Picture Library named ‘Meet the Team’
  3. Upload the images to the ‘Meet the Team’ library
  4. Move to the page where you would like the slide show link created
  5. Insert the ‘This Week in Pictures’ web part onto the page
  6. Modify the Shared Web Part
  7. Change Image Library Name from "This Week in Pictures Library" to "Meet the Team"

That’s it… now you have a dynamically generated slideshow.

EndUserSharePoint.com: Translators Needed

Susanne from Germany sent me a request that I thought was interesting:

I really enjoy reading your blog and I think you’re doing a great job for all the end users out there. Even Microsoft appears to forget them sometimes, I think (witness the number of publications directed towards administrators and programmers as opposed to end users). Wish we had a Blog like yours for German-speaking end users, too.

The EndUserSharePoint.com community has a global reach, so translating the Tricks and Traps might actually be worth doing. Into which languages should the installments be translated? Can I get some volunteers?

Mark Miller, EndUserSharePoint.comUse the comment section to give me some feedback to see if this is worth persuing.  If I get enough response, I’ll put together a project, manage it in SharePoint and demo how to use the Translation Library to handle the entire thing.

Thanks for the idea, Susanne.

EndUserSharePoint.com: Is there a limit to the number of connections a web part can have?

The question of the day comes from Andrea:

On web part pages, do you know if there is a limitation on the number of web parts a single webpart can be connected to? Is it different in a MOSS environment than in a WSS environment? I’m asking because I’m running into a 7 webpart connection limitation in my wss site.

Andrea - I have not see any documentation on a limitation, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Let’s see if someone has any definitive answer on this one. For those not familiar with the Connection functionality of web parts, check out the previous post on Use a Web Part to Filter a Display in Another Web Part.