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Enhancing Parental Access with OneNote Class Notebook

Written by Miguel Guhlin

Microsoft listens to teachers and adds three new features. One of the notable features includes enhanced parent access to student work in OneNote.

On April 19, 2017, Microsoft made an announcement that a lot of classroom teachers had been eagerly awaiting. Microsoft announced that teachers can now get read-only links to various aspects of the OneNote Class Notebook Content Library, as well as individual student notebooks. This is a much anticipated feature since it facilitates parent/guardian access to student work. If this were the only new feature add-on for Class Notebook, that would be enough. However, Microsoft also released three additional enhancements to a product teachers and students use every day.

OneNote Class Notebooks have a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities (source). Get the OneNote Class Notebook add-in for OneNote desktop (2013 or 2016). It is designed to help teachers save time and be even more efficient with their Class Notebooks. The add-in includes page and section distribution, quick review of student work, and assignment and grading integration with many Learning Management Systems LMSs). No integration with Microsoft Teams, which takes the place of Microsoft Classroom, is available yet.

About Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff all from a single experience in Office 365 for Education. Find out more

Feature #1: Delete Student Content from OneNote

Teachers sometimes need to remove a student and that student’s content. Using the Manage Notebook web interface, teachers can now remove a student and then select a check box to also delete that student’s content. Here is a screenshot illustrating the feature:

Feature #2: Permissions in the Collaboration Space

As mentioned earlier, the OneNote Class Notebook Collaboration Space serves as a common area for students to work together online. The teacher can divide students up into various groups, facilitating project-based learning (PBL) and collaboration. The new Class Notebook enhancement makes it easier for teachers to allocate student permissions for each section. The benefit is that the teacher can decide whether or not students in one group can see or interact with content in another group’s section. This makes it easy for a group of students to co-create projects and then. when appropriate, that content can be viewed by other students.

Feature #3: Extending Learning Management System Support

Microsoft has continued to expand support for third-party learning management systems, student information systems (SISs), and parent portals. This expanded support comes after an announcement earlier in the year . That announcement focused on richer grade scales, including custom points, letter grades, and pass/fail percentages supported by Canvas and Skooler, two learning management systems. Connecting your LMS/SIS has never been easier.

Kudos to Microsoft’s Commitment

I applaud Microsoft for adding these critical enhancements for educators using OneNote Class Notebook in Office 365 districts. These enhancements affirm Microsoft’s commitment to listening and implementing changes teachers that recommend.

One desired enhancement, relevant to Microsoft Classroom (now, Microsoft Teams since Classroom will be sunset July 31, 2017), I have heard from teachers is the inclusion of a “lite” gradebook. Another is easy embedding of straight MP3 audio files into OneNote pages that results in an embedded player. What enhancements would you request from Microsoft to make teaching and learning easier?


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About the author

Miguel Guhlin

Director of Professional Development at TCEA
A former director of technology, Miguel brings a unique perspective to TCEA’s professional development team. He specializes in Microsoft’s educational products and has extensive instructional technology experience. A prolific writer, Miguel blogs at Around the Corner and for TCEA’s TechNotes Blog. Miguel earned both his Master’s degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies with an ESL Concentration and his B.A. at University of Texas, San Antonio.

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