Microsoft Class Server is a product that is co-developed between Microsoft and HP. The product originated in Australia (Nicknamed the Ausy Portal) ) where it was deployed with SharePoint as an education tool for K12 schools.
For those not familiar with Class Server, lets cover some of its functiuonality before diving into MySite integration. Class Server is built on top of SharePoint Technologies 2003 version platform and provides a datastore (SQL Server 2000 database) and series of WebParts that enable teachers and students to work together online. Using an administration tool, Administrators create classes, assign teachers and students. Teachers can then use the "Teachers Tools" to create WSS sites for classrooms and assignments for students for distribution and grading. Class Server in conjunction with tools such as Blackboard, WebCT or Centra creates a rich online learning environment.
Class Server was designed to run on WSS using a site to represent a School and a site collection (sub sites) to represent classrooms. The WebParts are designed to work in this sort of configuration. When you add SharePoint Portal Server to the mix, you’d expect to use MySite if your were a teacher or student. In order to achieve this sort of functionality, the WebParts must have their properties configured so they operate as expected within MySite.
For example, the Schools WebPart will provide a list of schools and a URL to the WSS site that represents the school. The Classes WebPart will provide a list of the students classes based on the selected School (did I mention these are connected WebParts?) and the Assignments list provides a list of assignments based on the Classroom you select.
Sound good? Yes, but each Webpart has URLs that link you to classrooms if your executing them from WSS. If your in MySite, the links dont work! What’s the fix? The Classroom and assignments list Webparts must have their paths modified to point specifically to the School WSS site (e.g. http://myserver/school/). As an alternative, I’ve setup the webparts so that students can access their classes and assignments from their MySite by simply connecting the classes WebPart with Assigments WebPart.
- Understanding these subtle tweaks I typically setup the users as follows:
- Students MySite (My eLocker)- calendar, email, Schools, Classrooms, Assignments, Links for Me, My Links, Document Library and Image Library.
- Teachers MySite – calendar, email, Student Alerts, Schools, Classrooms, Assignments, Links for Me, My Links, Document Library, Class Server Teacher and Image Library.
- Parents MySite – calendar, email, Student Alerts, Schools, Classrooms, Assignments, Links for Me, My Links, Document Library and Image Library.
Fore the most part, it’s a standard installation with the addition of my K12 Information Architecture and Student Alerts Web Part. If you have feedback I’d like to hear from you.