Parents in Office 365
I know the answer to this but thought I would throw it out there....parents in Office 365....are Microsoft every going to consider it! As more schools transfer their Learning Platform solutions to Office 365 we are finding a substantial number needing access to collaborative sites as they once did previously with their parents.
Are Microsoft every going to consider giving an A2 plan parent option or even a chargeable plan for parents for Education?
From what I can see, parents can already sign up for a Microsoft account, giving them access to Outlook.com and email including Sky Drive and Web Apps as well so the only thing they are missing out on is the SharePoint element. Surely if parents had access to this through Office 365 it's not going to loose Microsoft any revenue of services!?
Maybe I'm missing something and @jamesbmarshall will be along with his wisdom and information but is anyone else suffering from not having any parents access in Office 365 or have they just bent the rules and created parents under Staff/Student licences :S
You could just set them up a user account in AD and then only assign the SharePoint services to them? they then don't have access to your EMAIL Service, Lync Service, SkyDrive Service and so they would then use the Microsoft Account to access these servers as it's not something you would want to keep control off...
You want to keep external/parent access to a minimal on your platform, as when they student leaves they obviously won't have access to the services any longer so you don't want to be adding services they will not want to loose. Access to SharePoint will be lost when their child leaves, and they won't mind that happening.
I see where you are coming from though in the license sense, I'm not sure what license you would assign to them actually (my bad)
You can share the site to external users by adding their email address, but obviously understand that would involve you having a list of email addresses.
Parent access to SharePoint can be achieved using the Partner Access Licences (PALs) that are available. Providing parents with a licensed user account, for any workload, is not a scenario we currently support but, as ever, feedback is heard loud and clear. :)
Believe it or not, engineering a suitable solution to this kind of problem is not straightforward and even if Microsoft supported parents (not saying it won't ever, but it doesn't right now) actually managing them is a big consideration for the school. In fact, I'd say that it could end up taking more time to manage than students and teachers.
For example, a student user is provisioned and as long as there are no issues with the student you can pretty much forget about that user object for its life in an ideal world. With parents you have to be concerned with who has access to what data, what happens when families come together or worse, split up, etc. some of these situations can change day by day! Equally, if you don't use the PAL route then you're responsible for password resets - how would you manage those? Would parents phone up the school and request a reset or would you go down the route of providing some kind of self-service password reset portal?
Unless you deploy something like ADFS to manage access, and therefore keep your parent user objects in AD, you're going to have to manage them separately via Office 365 (an overhead).
Bit rambly, but it's Friday afternoon. Food for thought.
Like I say, feedback good. Heard. Fed back. :)
Great post for a Friday afternoon after a desk move James :)
I guess for PALS you are talking about this: Microsoft UK Education Cloud Blog - Learn About Office 365 Education
I presume for this scenario you need to have every parents email address and have them create a Microsoft account.....will need to do some testing if this can solve our issue...being that the tenancy is being managed by RM Unify I can already see some issues but will take a look.
Will come back and answer some of your other points when I havn't got my "need to go to bed hat" on being Friday 13th! LOL
Cheers for the prompt reply as always.
Yes @funkyfin2000 that's exactly the post I'm talking about. I'd forgotten that I'd written that! I'm glad someone reads my blog... ;)
Originally Posted by funkyfin2000
The advantage of PALs is that you don't become responsible for managing the credentials of that identity - that's left with the end user. Of course, the subsequent disadvantage is that they must be managed manually, and for lots and lots of parents this can quickly scale to be a time consuming overhead.
Certainly do read the blog :) we get whatever info we can and digest it....it's all useful stuff....
Is there any whitepapers or more detailed information on PALS? What a user can and can't do? IE can they start to contribute to surveys, blogs and newsfeeds etc etc? How are they managed within security groups etc?
If you have that would be great so we can start to have a play around and assess the options available. I also read this weekend that @apearce may have a solution to this which will be very intriguing!
Thanks as always!
It's all in the service descriptions :)
Office 365 Service Descriptions
Spent the weekend working on a solution in which the school can manage the accounts, give them permissions in SharePoint Online. The school manage the usernames and passwords for the parent. This can then be used to give the access to anything in SharePoint. I've checked with MS Edu and it is licensed and we will be offering it through our website.
Interesting Alex - what licence is the parent actually using? PALS? A staff licence? a student licence?
Originally Posted by apearce
I appreciate you don't want to divluge too much info.
Yes send me an email - just to clear up - my answer above is more like I don't want to publize it over the internet and happy to explain on request.