Setting up a Classroom Website Using Office 365 Sites
One of the goals listed in my Annual Learning Plan is to establish a classroom website using Office 365 Sites.
My vision focuses on providing a blended learning solution using a variety of digital tools instead of focusing on a primary tool as in the past. This shift in strategy will help support my Bring Your Own Device strategy in the classroom.
So how can I make my vision a reality?
The strategy moving forward is to utilize a variety of cloud based learning tools (e.g. OneNote, OneDrive) that is centrally located for easy access. This will save valuable instructional time and will limit students from searching for emails that contained shared links from the teacher.
The following are steps I took in order to make this strategy a reality:
- Communication with Students – Create a classroom email list
Instruct students to email a message in order to add individual names into a contact (people) list. Organizing students using an email list is the most efficient way to send bulk messages along with managing other Office 365 applications like OneDrive and OneNote.
- File Organization – Establish a shared OneDrive
Sharing digital content is best achieved by creating a series of folders that will better organize individual files. In the example provided, you can see a series of folders that are shared with students. I generally set folder permissions to “read” so that students can access the files but cannot delete or modify the content in any way.
I also created an “assignment uploads” folder. In this example, permissions are changed to “edit” in order for students to upload work for grading. The idea is to use OneDrive the same way as I previously used learning management systems (LMS) like Schoology. The solution worked very well as individual students can only access their own folders for submission.
- Centralizing Digital Resources – Create a Site
A key component is the establishment of a website. The example shown allows students to access shared folders via OneDrive and the class OneNote Book in one centralized location by hyperlinking the resources.
I also added three integrated Office Web apps – Calendar, Announcements, and Discussions as the primary focus to view important information.
The Announcements app is used to share the weekly agenda. Information includes the daily lesson along with key learning goals. The app allows users to create a simple table to populate content. This content can be modified using the integrated toolbar along with adding hyperlinks, pictures, etc.
The Calendar app is a replica of the personal Calendar used in Office and allows parents to view content without having an Office 365 account.
The Discussion app is a straight forward and easy to use method of setting up a discussion forum for students to express their views.