Collaboration Services: SharePoint Overview

At a Glance

Microsoft SharePoint, the third and final phase of the Northwestern Collaboration Services Initiative, is an online content and document management tool used to create web sites, manage file libraries, and more. NUIT has deployed Northwestern Share, a centralized SharePoint 2013 infrastructure, and is working with technology partners across the University to deploy independent "site collections" for individual schools and departments. Technology staff interested in creating a Northwestern Share "site collection" must complete the Collaboration Services Request Form.

Schools and departments may then use their site collection to create SharePoint sites where faculty, staff, and students may collaborate online. Designated local technical staff members act as "site owners" that design and manage their site(s) to best serve local faculty and staff needs. SharePoint 2013 features include:

  • Customizable web forms
  • Document libraries with file versioning for collaboration
  • Online discussion forums
  • Picture and slide libraries with thumbnails
  • Subsites for teams and projects
  • Team calendaring via the University Exchange environment

SharePoint Access

All SharePoint sites are authenticated and must be accessed using a NetID and NetID password. When a user visits a site that they do not have access to, they will see a web form that can be used to request access. This request will then be sent to the site owner (usually local school or department technology staff), or other local technology support staff as designated by the site owner.

SharePoint access is distributed and managed by independent local site owners. Access to new site collections is initially limited to the predetermined site owners, who will then designate appropriate user permissions in their area for authorized users.

Access can be given to entire site collections, individual sites, libraries and/or lists, and individual documents or other items. Five user roles may be granted by site owners:

  • Visitors
    • Read and download site content
    • Browse site content
    • Search site content
    • Request higher access level
  • Members
    • All rights and responsibilities of the above role
    • Create and edit site content
    • No access to any secure areas of the site
  • Approvers
    • All rights and responsibilities of the above roles
    • Approve site content additions and changes
  • Designers
    • All rights and responsibilities of the above roles
    • Create/Edit lists and libraries
    • Change page structure and visual design
    • Add/Edit web parts
  • Owners
    • All rights and responsibilities of the above roles
    • Administer permissions

My Sites in Northwestern Share

My Sites are 100 MB personal sites within Northwestern Share that can be viewed by other members of the University community after they have logged in with their NetID and NetID password.

All Northwestern Share users can create their own My Site that is available at<your NetID>.

Creating a My Site

  • Log into with a NetID and NetID password.
  • Click <your name> in the upper right corner of the Northwestern Share homepage.
  • Select About Me to create a personal My Site.

Northwestern Share will then automatically begin generating a personal My Site, a process that may take up to 15 minutes. Once completed, users can log into to access and edit their site. My Sites can also be reached from the Northwestern Share homepage by clicking <your name> on the top right corner and selecting About Me.

Please Note: Users will be prompted to login again with their NetID and NetID password when navigating from Northwestern Share to their My Site and vice versa.

My Sites Features:

My Sites provide a convenient central location to manage and store documents, content, links, and contacts. Using a My Site can also make it easier for faculty and staff to "follow" people and groups at the University they work with on a regular basis.

In addition to keeping track of the status and activities of colleagues at Northwestern, they can be used to present information, content, and documents, create personal workspaces, manage and bookmark links, and post to a personal blog.

Requesting SharePoint Sites

Faculty and staff may request SharePoint sites from their local area technology support. Site collections are deployed according to the site quota, security, architecture, usage, and other guidelines in the Northwestern SharePoint Governance Framework on Northwestern Share under SharePoint Resources.

If a site collection for their school or department has been deployed, the appropriate site owner will work to best accommodate their needs. If there is not yet a site collection, the technology staff interested in creating a "site collection" must complete the Collaboration Services Request Form.

NUIT will then work with the technology partner to determine if SharePoint or another application available at the University is the appropriate solution for their school or department needs. 

Support Tools & Training

SharePoint 2013 is a robust collaboration tool with many possible applications for both site owners and site users. To best ready the University for this new service, site owner resources and site user resources are available based on level of SharePoint use.

All faculty, staff, and students that are new to SharePoint should visit the SharePoint User Resources page for introductory SharePoint online video tutorials, user guides, and other training materials that provide instructions on some of the options SharePoint provides. Users may also visit the Northwestern Share homepage to become familiar with a basic SharePoint site.

Site owners will need to visit the Site Owner Resources page to register for in-class training and review support materials and information, including the Roles & Responsibilities Checklistpdf, that will help them successfully launch SharePoint for their area faculty and staff.

Additional Information

Support Contacts

Support Contact:

IT Support Center
Central service desk for students, faculty, and staff.
847-491-4357 (1-HELP)
Submit a Support Request