We don’t have much to go on at the moment, but it is now known that Microsoft is building something perhaps codenamed Office for Education 15, that may run on top of SharePoint.
It is a module of sorts, that may be packaged with SharePoint Server 15, or perhaps as a standalone SKU. At this point all we really know is that it exists, and that some people are testing it. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley describes what she hearing from her sources:
The Office for Education 15 app is a new SharePoint app aimed at educational users who want to manage, track and report on classroom activity. It is being targeted at both faculty and students. Because it is based on SharePoint, the app has a heavy collaboration focus. It is designed to allow users to share documents, build Web sites for specific classes and groups and create repositories of associated resources. Documents in these repositories can be rights-protected and can be searched for and checked out within the app.
That’s a big deal, if completely accurate. Companies such as the acquired BlackBoard make millions and millions selling this sort of service to universities and other schools; classroom management is a hot field, and one that is perhaps ripe for innovation. Products such as Moodle are pushing forward the envelope as to what a service of this sort can be.
If Microsoft intends to use its massive SharePoint momentum and brand to assault this market, it could upend the niche. The moment we know more, so will you.