Before the public beta of SharePoint 2013, I and others, speculated about the introduction of an entirely new component in SharePoint called SharePoint Education. In fact, I wrote two blog posts about what I found on SharePoint Education in the protocol documentation, which, frankly, wasn’t all that much.
So, when the first public beta of SharePoint 2013 hit the virtual shelves, several people rushed to find the new features, but found little if anything. Severely disappointed, some of these people asked whether I could investigate to find out what happened and where SharePoint Education is.
So, I’m here to tell you where to find it, how to install and set it up, and also, to disappoint you even further. You see, in the public beta, SharePoint Education seems very much like an incomplete feature. Microsoft has written close to nothing in public about it, and there’s no documentation on how to install or how to set it up, nor descriptions of features. Even when you get it installed, as I’ll show you how, you won’t find much to inspire motivation. At present, it is a bit dull, in fact.
I’m sure that will all change in good time before RTM, but I wanted to warn you before you start on this process.
Oh, and one more thing.
Warning: These instructions are based on SharePoint Server 2013 Beta 2, so information is bound to have changed. If you read this after the RTM release, feel free to disregard anything said in here, because it probably won’t make much sense.
So, let’s get down to installation.
In this guide, I’ll help you get SharePoint Education set up. Frankly, I haven’t spent much time exploring it, so I won’t show you any of the features at all. They’re there, I just haven’t explored them. As such, this guide ends after completion of the provisioning process, but I highly encourage you to explore on your own and feel free to share any findings you make in the comments below.
You’ll be messing about with your environment so I recommend having a clean VM. By clean, I mean you’ll want to start with as empty a SharePoint configuration that you can get, including having no web applications beyond Central Administration. There are some peculiarities in how the installation requires your web application to be set up, so if you’ve already configured a web application, you might as well remove it and start from scratch.
The features added are available as part of SharePoint Server 2013 only, so you need that. At this point, nothing is known about licensing of any sort, so it is unclear whether SharePoint Education will be part of the Server license or available only with an add-on, but at least the bits are present.
Oh, and before embarking, you should be comfortable with PowerShell and you should be able to set up and configure the User Profile Service, including setting up the MySite host. Google it if you don’t know how.
You should start by creating a completely new web application. Use the default configuration if you want, or set it up as you please.
The PowerShell command you need to run to set up SharePoint Education is:
PS C:\Users\Administrator> Install-SPEduSites -WebApplication [your web app] -OwnerAlias [your owner user name]
You need to replace [your web app] with, well, your web application, including http://, and [your owner user name] with a user name that will be the owner of the various sites created for you during the installation. In my case, I’m using http://splab.sp.local:2000/ as the web application and SP\administrator as the site owner.
If you run said command, without doing any of the steps of the installation, you get rather unusually very useful information from the error messages. The error messages, one of which is shown below, tell you exactly what you’re missing before the installation can complete.
You can use this method, running the command, configuring the requested component, re-running the command, to get a step-by-step guide to what you need to set up. That is, incidentally, how I got this running the first time. That, and a bit of MSIL disassembly through ILSpy.
The components you need to install and the features you need to configure on the web application are:
- One brand new web application
- One site collection created at the root of said web application
Template doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve used a Team Site
- Self Service Site Creation on web application
Configure this through Central Administration->Application Management
- MySite host created
Don’t forget to set up both /my and /my/personal
- SearchCenter site created in web application
You can use Basic Search Center or Enterprise Search Center
After you’ve completed the configuration of the above steps, running the PowerShell command will begin provisioning SharePoint Education, as shown in the screenshot below.
This process will take some time and includes creating several new site collections and activating features both in Central Administration and on the new site collections.
Note: This is one example where you see the difference between having a sufficient RAM amount and working on the bare limits. In the setup for this article, I used an 8 GB RAM machine, and the PowerShell provisioning took 1,5 hours, and that’s just for the PowerShell command to run the provisioning after I had configured all the other components. I repeated the process on a VM with 36 GB RAM and the process took 22 minutes.
The provisioning creates four site collections for you:
- Institution Site
Default URL: [root]/sites/global
- Admin Site
Default URL: [root]/sites/admin
- Study Group Site
Default URL: [root]/sites/studygroup
- Academy Library Site
Default URL: [root]/sites/academiclibrary
If the provisioning succeeds, you should be able to open these sites to start exploring SharePoint Education. The screenshot below shows the Institution Site after the provisioning completes. You’ll also find several links to configuration and setup in Central Administration under General Application Settings that you may want to explore too.
As I said, I haven’t explored much on my own, and probably won’t for a while, but feel free to explore on your own and let me know what you find in the comments below 🙂
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