eLearning best practices: Link your videos in SharePoint

In a previous article, I taught you how to upload your content to the Office 365 Video service. The Video (capital V) service is like a YouTube channel for corporations. Unfortunately, the service is a little bit too much like YouTube in that all the videos sort by relevance rather than a numerical or alphabetical sort order. If you want people to take the courses in a particular order, I will show you how to create a SharePoint list that links to each video.

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What is a SharePoint list?

Microsoft SharePoint means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I look at it as a way to build various websites for your corporate intranet. For example, companies use SharePoint to create sites for Human Resources, Marketing, Sales, Facilities, and much more. You can also create SharePoint sites for particular topic areas. One such topic area could be a site that focuses on corporate training.

Think of a SharePoint list as a list of rows and columns, similar to what you create in Excel. You can create columns that store numbers, hyperlinks, pictures, text, dates, and much more. Each list has views. These views can display the columns in a specific order. You can also specify sort orders, filters, categories and more.

Create the site

If you do not have a SharePoint site where you can build your list, then you need to create one first. You will need the security permissions to create a SharePoint site, so if you do not have them, you will have to speak with someone in your IT department.

When you create the site, be as clear and concise as possible, since people might be looking for it with SharePoint search. For example:

  • Poor SharePoint site name: PPT Training
  • Poor SharePoint site name: The Microsoft PowerPoint Training Site
  • Good SharePoint site name: PowerPoint Training

You might be wondering why The Microsoft PowerPoint Training Site name is not a good one. There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, the URL for the SharePoint site will include all that text, so you want to keep it simple. Another reason to keep the site name simple is SharePoint works on phones and tablet devices, so a name that large may not look so great on smaller form factors.

Create the list

With your SharePoint site in hand, you can now create the list. You click the gear icon at the top-right of the page and add a new app. From there, you can create a new custom list. Call the list what you like, follow the same basic instructions I gave in the previous section. For example, you might call it PowerPoint Training or PowerPoint Training Videos.

The new list will have a single column with the heading Title. Locate and click the sign next to the Title heading. Add a new Number column and call it Activity or Activity Number. That number field is what you will use to make sure your list sorts in the proper order.

Create another column. This time, you will select the More… option and then select the Hyperlink or Picture option. Give the field a title like Link or Video Link and then click the OK button.

You should be back at the list again. You will want to place the Activity column (the number column) all the way to the left of the view. You will also want to sort the list using that field. Somewhere near the top-right of the view, click the All Items link and then select the Edit current view option.

Change the Activity field, so it has a Position from left of 1. Scroll down and change the First sort by the column field to Activity and then click the OK button.

You now have a SharePoint list and can populate it. Before performing the next step, I suggest you open a new tab and go to the channel for your training in the Office 365 Video site.

Going back to your list, near the top-left of the list, click the New link. Type the Activity number (1, 2, 3, etc.), the Title for the training, the Link URL and the Link Display Text.

Note: SharePoint requires a title, so I suggest you enter the full title for the activity. If the title of the training is different in the Office 365 Video service, then use that for the Link Display Text.

Link the list to the Quick Launch navigation pane

You now have a SharePoint list, but people will not know how to access it. You might consider modifying the home page for the site by editing the page, but I will share the simplest way which is to place the list in the Quick Launch navigation pane.

While viewing your list, click the gear at the top-right of the page and select List Settings. Click the List name, description, and navigation link.

General Settings page appears. Locate the Display this page on the Quick Launch? area, select the Yes option and then click the Save button.

Accessing the list

Once you are happy with your list, you can share it with others. You might have to address the permissions settings for the SharePoint site first, to make sure people can access it. I suggest you also provide your students with a direct link to the Office 365 Video Channel so they can see some of the more popular and relevant videos their peers may be viewing.

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