SLK Course Manager is now available

Coordinator
Jul 2, 2008 at 9:15 AM
Edited Jul 2, 2008 at 9:18 AM
From the front page of the SLK site

The SLK Course Manager is now available: SLK Course Manager 1.0. Course Manager is an SLK add-on that provides additional features to help instructors with course planning, assignment tracking, and grading.

Richard

SalamanderSoft Limited
Active Directory & SharePoint provisioning
http://www.salamandersoft.co.uk
Jul 2, 2008 at 12:46 PM
Nice, except it requires an Alpha version (Alpha 1.3.1) of SLK to be installed and set up as per instructions.

I'd rather wait to see how that Alpha matures, something that'd hopefully also include the drop-box. Once stable and mature I'd revisit this.
Jul 2, 2008 at 2:44 PM
Edited Jul 3, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Anybody installed this addon already? I tried it in a testenvironment, but when adding the new webparts to a site I get an unexpected error. When I am not a instructor the webpart works and displays: You are not an instructor. But when I give the testuser instructor rights the unexpected error comes up. When I look at the database, there are no tables in the new database, is that normal? I am using the SLK 1.3.1 Alpha and tried it on several machines.

Any ideas for an succesfull installations?

Update:

I have enabled debugging and I getg this error:

There was no value in the registry. Please verify in the registry and try again

So I checked the registry, but there is no registry information about the coursemanager in my server. I installed it with a domain admin account and this account has site collection rights. Any ideas?

Update 2:
I installed a clean machine and did the installation again under 1 account. This installation went fine and the database is now filled with tables (so I think there is a problem with multiple accounts or rights?) Now when adding the webparts I don't get any errors anymore, but.... I can only place the webpart course manager pages on the homepage of the portal, if I place it on a subsite I get an error that the page is not found. This is because the coursemanager pages are in the root of the portal and not available under /subsite/coursepages. So put the first webpart on the homepage of a portal / wss teamsite.

Will be there also an instruction manual for this and will the code also available?

I agree with NanoRuler, we cannot use this addon now at customers because this addon is 1.0 but the SLK is still in alpha... But great work team for the new functionalities!

thanks in advance,

Remco Ploeg
Jul 3, 2008 at 10:03 AM
Hello,
I am installed this addon, but I have problem with configuration addon. After successful installation (in batch window), I don't have Configure Course Manager in Central Administration and registry keys don't created. WebParts and Feature are enabled. I use Czech environment of SharePoint and SLK.

Thanks ideas
Jul 3, 2008 at 10:12 AM
Hi Viron,

I had the same problem, so I installed a clean english machine with MOSS english, SLK 1.3.1 Alpha and run the setup again. Before (on my other 3 testenvironments) I installed the cour manager in the central admin and configured the database the script didn't installed tables in SQL and didn't changed the registry. With the clean machine and running everything under 1 account I was succesfull to install and run the course manager, so my advise, first install a clean english machine, if it works there you can give it a try in a Czech environment.

best regards,

Remco
Jul 3, 2008 at 4:21 PM
Hi All,

I have installed this Add On onto one of my test servers and got it working apart from one thing.

Every time I add an activity it tells me the due date is in the wrong format. It seems to be putting it into American format. All the sites are set to English UK and the correct regional settings.
Jul 3, 2008 at 9:44 PM
I've installed and tested the SLK Course Manager Update (review here http://www.21apps.com/2008/07/slk-course-manager-10-released.html) and I have to say that I an totally unimpressed with what has been provided.

I'm hoping that this is just a partial code drop and we have more to come.

Jul 4, 2008 at 12:15 AM
Where can we find the Source Code. I do not see it in the "Source Code" tab?
Jul 4, 2008 at 7:13 AM


robertjcollins wrote:
Where can we find the Source Code. I do not see it in the "Source Code" tab?


Robert the source code is not available, but you can use a fantastic tool call Reflector which will allow you to inspect the code.   As this is a CodePlex project I would expect the code to be made available a little later on as was the case with the MLG components - although this is not a given.

Andrew
Jul 4, 2008 at 7:17 AM
I agree with Woody1664, I expected more functionalities or I missing a lot of screens.

Here my list of improvements:

- I cannot assign a group activities to students! That's strange because the I love the grouping of activities but if I need the assign them one by one
- I can't select and student / group in the activity
- The strange thing about SLK (especially in business training) is when a new member joins the site I want that the new user has the assignments directly. Now I have to re-assign them to the missing / later students. But this is not possible via the addin but therefore I have to use now the 'old' SLK interface
- I expected more of the gradebook. Especially in Europe (don't known exactly the story in the US) we are not working only with points but also with other variables, this is again not possible
- The strange interface, when I create a new activity and don't insert a end week for example and hit the plus button, I get an error that the end week is needed but my data in the new activity is gone

I really see that SharePoint can be a learning environment, that is still my feeling,  but therefore we need to build more functionalities as a partner or by Microsoft. Will this addon be integrated in SLK 1.3.1?

best regards,

Remco
Jul 4, 2008 at 8:04 AM

I am getting crazy I think, this morning I looked at the UK education team blog:

http://blogs.msdn.com/ukeducationpartnernews/archive/2008/07/02/slk-course-manager.aspx

The screenshots there are totally different than my installation of the course manager yesterday, is this a newer version in the UK than the code on codeplex? Woody1664 do you have the same webparts in your environment that are shown on the blog there?

 

thanks,

 

Remco

Jul 4, 2008 at 8:56 AM


remcoploeg wrote:

I am getting crazy I think, this morning I looked at the UK education team blog:

http://blogs.msdn.com/ukeducationpartnernews/archive/2008/07/02/slk-course-manager.aspx

The screenshots there are totally different than my installation of the course manager yesterday, is this a newer version in the UK than the code on codeplex? Woody1664 do you have the same webparts in your environment that are shown on the blog there?

 

thanks,

 

Remco



Remco,  the screen shots by Mark at the UK Education blog are exactly what I was expecting.  These were demo'd to us before release hence my very real disappointment in what was deployed.   I am hoping that they have made a mistake - hence my blog request for have I missed something.

This difference has been raised.   waiting for a response.

Jul 4, 2008 at 11:03 AM
Looks like microsoft have been very lazy on this project, maybe beacause its free =/;  I have not installed the manager however reading other peoples posts and blogs I dont really want to install it.

Jul 9, 2008 at 9:46 AM
Hi All,

I was at a SharePoint Super Users group meeting yesterday at Microsoft UK in reading.

This 'problem' was raised by all attendees. As many of you have said it is nothing like the screenshots we all saw and waited for in anticipation. Microsoft took on board our concerns and did assure us that they also were disappointed with what was released to the community and had asked the developers for an explanation.

Hopefully a new release will not be far away.

Alan
Jul 11, 2008 at 8:23 AM
A comment on my blog post highlighted that the Images on the UK education blog have now been removed.  

If as looks the case this is what the Course Manager Add-on looks like how does the affect peoples plans for implementing it?

Jul 11, 2008 at 11:20 AM
Because the screenshots looked different people got the idea it might have more feartures than the one released.

Reading this post it looks like the UI is the only difference and it is easy to change the UI using the SDK which will be out soon.
Jul 11, 2008 at 12:26 PM


adamcasey wrote:
Because the screenshots looked different people got the idea it might have more feartures than the one released.

Reading this post it looks like the UI is the only difference and it is easy to change the UI using the SDK which will be out soon.

It's good that we can expect more and the UI is easy to change, but I still think there is functional elements missing.  

The other concern is that a lot of schools would install SLK/Course manager as it is from codeplex,  the reason for taking the free software root and would not want to start installing add-ons or costed options.

This does still appear to leave a whole that the Community could look to fill?
Jul 11, 2008 at 9:32 PM

The SDK will be out soon.  I have not seen it yet but it is supposed to make it easy to modify the UI.  Thus giving partners a chance to differentiate their solution.

The UI does look a bit different, what we had shown was a customized UI based on the source code.  We will also look to post some screen shots of the UI that we customized this past week based on the add on pack download. 

 

thanks


Woody1664 wrote:


adamcasey wrote:
Because the screenshots looked different people got the idea it might have more feartures than the one released.

Reading this post it looks like the UI is the only difference and it is easy to change the UI using the SDK which will be out soon.

It's good that we can expect more and the UI is easy to change, but I still think there is functional elements missing.  

The other concern is that a lot of schools would install SLK/Course manager as it is from codeplex,  the reason for taking the free software root and would not want to start installing add-ons or costed options.

This does still appear to leave a whole that the Community could look to fill?



Jul 14, 2008 at 11:16 AM
For me the source code is needed.
When SLK has a source every Addon should keep the same way.
I have no idea how to make localization for it.

Also I'm looking for Course Manager User Guide which is mention in Installation doc.
Jul 15, 2008 at 10:38 PM


remcoploeg wrote:
Anybody installed this addon already? I tried it in a testenvironment, but when adding the new webparts to a site I get an unexpected error. When I am not a instructor the webpart works and displays: You are not an instructor. But when I give the testuser instructor rights the unexpected error comes up. When I look at the database, there are no tables in the new database, is that normal? I am using the SLK 1.3.1 Alpha and tried it on several machines.

Any ideas for an succesfull installations?

Update:

I have enabled debugging and I getg this error:

There was no value in the registry. Please verify in the registry and try again

So I checked the registry, but there is no registry information about the coursemanager in my server. I installed it with a domain admin account and this account has site collection rights. Any ideas?

Update 2:
I installed a clean machine and did the installation again under 1 account. This installation went fine and the database is now filled with tables (so I think there is a problem with multiple accounts or rights?) Now when adding the webparts I don't get any errors anymore, but.... I can only place the webpart course manager pages on the homepage of the portal, if I place it on a subsite I get an error that the page is not found. This is because the coursemanager pages are in the root of the portal and not available under /subsite/coursepages. So put the first webpart on the homepage of a portal / wss teamsite.

Will be there also an instruction manual for this and will the code also available?

I agree with NanoRuler, we cannot use this addon now at customers because this addon is 1.0 but the SLK is still in alpha... But great work team for the new functionalities!

thanks in advance,

Remco Ploeg

I successfully installed the application on a testenv, however, I installed it on another test environment (same features) and I got the same registry key issue.
Any ideas why this is showing up? I'm running under an account with Farm Administrator permissions and has administrator permissions on the server.

To understand your environment, can you tell me the rights of the account you used before Update 2? Or any other steps you did on the install?

Digging into this, I looked the registry of the successfully installed server and found the keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SLKCourseManager\Settings:
  • Shared<GUID>
  • SLKCM<GUID>
Both keys have the connection string as the value and the <GUID> seems to match the site collection's GUID. Also, the web.config of the server has an appsetting:

<add key="WebSiteGUID" value="<GUID>"> with the same <GUID> value

Adding this things manually fixed the There was no value in the registry. Please verify in the registry and try again issue.

I will post again if I find something else.
Jul 21, 2008 at 5:06 PM
I am having the same problem that you are installing Course Manager - no database created and no registry.  And no successful registry to compare.  Would you consider documenting the registry entry - specifically what is the format of the connection string? I would like to try your solution but don't know what to put into the registry.  Thanks in advance
Dec 3, 2008 at 10:58 AM
I have the same problem, but when I add all SharePoint accounts to Domain/Administrators and to sysadmin role in SQL Server everyting goes ok. After that you may remove this accouts from administrator roles.
Nov 26, 2009 at 6:46 AM

I know this post is almost a year old but I intend to agree with the consensus that the Course Manager Add-on is unreliable.  I get an error when trying to add the web part per the documentation. My SharePoint account is already an Admin on the sharepoint front end and back end servers, as well as a dbo on the SQL server.  It seems to me making it a Domain Admin is a bit rash, would everyone agree?  Has anyone gotten the Course Manager to work properly at all?  I have not gotten it to work.  I call Microsoft and they technicallly don't support this stuff because it came from CodePlex.  Has anyone gotten Course Manager to work completely and fully?  I have poured over the documentation and followed it and still cannot get Course Manager to work...

Jan 30, 2010 at 1:09 AM

If your SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) is a medium to large farm configuration and you have followed the best practices concerning the SharePoint least privilege security account requirements ( http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=92883&clcid=0x409) you will experience the problems as posted here. What we found out when using different accounts for services and installation (in our case all the accounts were AD-based), they will throw the "User does not have permissions" SQL exception. We looked in the SQL Error logs to find out which account(s) were causing the exceptions, went to SQL Management Studio and added dbcreator, securityadmin, and sysadmin roles to those accounts as well, and the configuration was successful. Also look at your registry keys for SLKCourseManager  (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SLKCourseManager\Settings) and verify the SharePoint Site GUID and Config strings are correct.

Jan 30, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Darren - This is a good point to make and is a consequence of the way the core SLK solution was developed. 

Just to clarify you do not need to give ANY account sysadmin rights for SQL,  this is something I would avoid completely.

Regarding Course Manager, after spending time when it was first released (postings under my Woody1664 name) I decided that the solution was unuseable.   I know Richard has now taken on the SLK project but I think the only way to get anything decent in this area would be to completely re-write the course manager functionality.

Andrew

Feb 1, 2010 at 5:58 PM
Edited Feb 2, 2010 at 12:10 AM
AndrewWoody wrote:

Darren - This is a good point to make and is a consequence of the way the core SLK solution was developed. 

Just to clarify you do not need to give ANY account sysadmin rights for SQL,  this is something I would avoid completely.

Regarding Course Manager, after spending time when it was first released (postings under my Woody1664 name) I decided that the solution was unuseable.   I know Richard has now taken on the SLK project but I think the only way to get anything decent in this area would be to completely re-write the course manager functionality.

Andrew

 Andrew,

Agreed on the statement of giving ANY account sysadmin rights, that is not the best practice. Until we gave the recommended rights (as stated in the SLK CourseManager readme.txt - dbcreator, securityadmin, sysadmin) to the accounts it was throwing exceptions on (which was a total of three), the configuration was not successful. I have not tried to run the CourseManager configuration with those accounts without sysadmin role.

Thank you for the comments concerning the SLK CM rewrites. There is the additional consideration of SharePoint 2010 and the change in architecture to service applications which would be a business requirement to rewrite the constructs and functionality for SP2010.

Darren