Category Archives: SharePoint Online Permissions

Embracing Microsoft at the Fallibroome Trust (Microsoft 365 User Adoption Episode 15)

In this podcast episode, we speak with Stuart Carvell, Assistant Head at Eaton Bank Academy, which is part of the Fallibroome Trust about how Microsoft 365 is being rolled out across the trust and its academies and schools.




Listen on Spotify

“Microsoft 365 was an obvious choice for Eaton Bank Academy. Many of the schools in the Fallibroome Trust are Microsoft Schools, with some exceptions,” says Stuart. 

“As the trust grows, our need to be able to collaborate across schools increases and Microsoft is helping us do this.” 

As with any new technology or process, getting everyone on board can be a challenge. Stuart outlines how the trust is helping people feel more confident with Microsoft by using champions in each school and department:

“It’s good to have people feeling confident when using a new product. We had a group of early adopters that championed Microsoft and shared knowledge with other members of staff,” he tells us.

“The team was made up of around 12-15 people from a range of subjects, job roles and IT ability.”

Skill sharing in this way has been an integral part of user adoption success at Fallibroome and this helped the trust face lockdown and the subsequent school closures.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we brought together our primary and secondary colleagues and asked them to share what they’ve learned about Microsoft 365,” Stuart reveals.

“We’re very lucky that our staff were enthusiastic and ready to share their knowledge.” 

One key to getting staff on board with new technology is to demonstrate its benefits to their everyday teaching.

“In the long run, using these digital tools will save our staff a lot of time. However, it will take time and effort initially,” Stuart continues. 

“Before using Microsoft, we were so used to sending different versions of files, but now we have the ability to co-author the same documents at the same time. It’s all about changing those habits to benefit us in the long term.” 

Adopting Microsoft 365 has also enabled their students to become more independent:

“Our students have become more independent and have said using the software has been a positive experience for them. But can we evidence this? I’m not sure at this point,” he adds.

“What I will say is that, if you asked me a year or two ago if our students could manage their own time, receive an education without being in school and organise their own learning, I would have said no. But now they can do all of that.” 

Another challenge that has affected the Fallibroome Trust is making sure everyone has access to suitable devices and a good level of digital literacy. 

They have created videos and resources to upskill both parents and students, alongside looking into how they can support the school community with laptop lending and loan schemes. 

Stuart tells us that the Fallibroome Trust still has a way to go in terms of its long-term strategy for online learning. But teachers and students are beginning to make real use out of the digital resources and in some cases, online learning has become common practice:

“My colleagues and I have become more comfortable in creating video content for our students and thinking ahead towards a blended approach. Meanwhile, all of our assignments and homework tasks are completed in Teams, so the students are continually using the product and refreshing their skills daily.” Stuart enthuses. 

“Our strategy goes beyond the pandemic. We are building resource libraries and thinking of them as long-term resources that we can use year after year.” 
 

Want to discuss how your school or trust can adopt Microsoft 365? Speak to Cloud Design Box’s education experts today.

What users want from SharePoint news articles

Releasing organisational and team communication via SharePoint news articles is a powerful way to connect with colleagues. News articles in SharePoint appear aggregated on the SharePoint home page and get pushed out to the mobile app via notification. They render great in both experiences.

I’ve had several users ask for enhancements for SharePoint news, we always try to direct people to the SharePoint user voice page so they can share their thoughts with the community and Microsoft. The most popular requests I have had are:

  • Target news stories at groups of people
  • Add news from external sources
  • Option to unpublish and delete news stories

Some good news below, some of these are resolved now or in the new year. Unpublish and delete news stories is still not available (from an intuitive interface – you can go to site pages via site contents). You can vote for it here

Many users have reported that they are happy with the editing interface. Using the same intuitive page editing experience as standard SharePoint pages, news articles are easy to adopt in any organisation.

SharePoint News Story

In addition to creating news pages, users can now share links to external news stories. SharePoint intelligently extracts images and text from the external source, all the end user needs to do is provide a link to the external article.

SharePoint news options

Sharing external news will make users aware of an external article without the creator having to manually recreate or copy and paste the story.

News Link

Did you know that you can now save news articles to read later? I’ve not had this request from any end-users but seems useful if you find an article that is interesting, but you are in a rush. This can be done via the mobile app by clicking the bookmark icon or from the SharePoint home page.

Save SharePoint News Articles

There are some exciting updates coming to SharePoint news in 2019. When I speak to people, I often get asked about targeting news stories to groups of people. My response is that the news article should be added to a SharePoint site which only the correct users have access to. This is a bit of a workaround but not for long! Audience targeting based on groups or individuals is coming early next year to make news even more powerful. It will help owners target news while having a central repository for news.

News comments have not been particularly useful as users often don’t return to see new comments. This is set to improve too over the coming months. Users will be able to use @ to mention other people in the organisation. With intelligent auto-complete, it will really be easy to mention other people and get them involved in the conversation. Mentions will automatically trigger notifications or reminder emails, meaning that comments are not missed again.

We will provide some video tutorials as soon as the new functionality is available!

If you have your own ideas to improve SharePoint news, we would like to hear from you. Comment below and add your ideas to the SharePoint user voice page. With your feedback, Microsoft can see what end-users really want.

ESPC: SharePoint Team Sites and Microsoft Teams Working Together

The future role of SharePoint with the advent of Teams has been on my mind for over a year now. Teams is built on top of SharePoint but is an application rather than a website. Teams has chat and collaboration, but SharePoint has news and is interconnected with related sites through Hub sites in sometimes a more intuitive interface. Teams is gaining more user adoption with its modern way of creating an efficient workplace. The governance and admin controls are on their way for Teams too. Which should you use? Do you have to make a choice?

As a SharePoint and Teams provider, it has been hard to determine if Teams was there to replace SharePoint or that it would work side-by-side with SharePoint. My initial thoughts were that SharePoint would be the organisation intranet (communication sites), a place to go for company-wide communication and resources. Microsoft Teams or SharePoint Team sites were great for small-medium team collaboration.

At the European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure conference 2018 in Copenhagen, Jeff Teper (Corporate Vice President – Office 365) explained the vision for SharePoint and Teams.

Jeff Teper Corporate Vice President - Office 365

The vision Microsoft have is that SharePoint Team sites and MS Teams live side-by-side. In fact, they should be the same collaboration areas but accessed through different mediums. Eventually everything in SharePoint should be surfaced in Teams. Recently Microsoft have released an option to create a Microsoft Team from a SharePoint Team site, this even adds a cool link to open the Team.

The release of SharePoint Framework (SPFx) web parts for Teams supports moving towards this goal, surfacing the same functionality for both platforms (just in a different shell). It also works the other way around, Microsoft Team SharePoint Team sites (the site behind the Team!), can be added to SharePoint Hub sites just like any other SharePoint site so news and events can be aggregated. When planning site architecture, we can now imagine that whatever site or team is planned in either SharePoint or Teams, both could be accessed with either application.

There are still going to be instances where one is preferred over the other. In some scenarios, Office 365 groups with owners and members might not be the preferred access model for SharePoint intranet sites but there is a valid option for these sites – modern communication sites. Microsoft mentioned that they will be closing the gap on differences between communication and team sites and that one day you should be able to convert one to another. This again would help organisations on a long journey moving to a modern team-based flat structure.

More exciting updates to come….

Microsoft Teams for Education Summer 2018 Update

There’s a real buzz around Microsoft Teams. Microsoft have been increasing the momentum by releasing updates to improve the class collaboration tool recently. In this post I’m going to look at some of the updates already released and some coming very soon. You can find out more about the future updates here: Microsoft Education Blog.



Assigning to multiple classes

Sometimes teachers set the same assignment to multiple groups. This is now possible when setting an assignment in Teams. Just click the team name and select additional classes.

Microsoft Teams Class Selector

Tailoring assignments for individual students

Individual learning needs means that teachers sometimes have to set different assignments to students in the same class. Microsoft Teams now allows this using the student drop-down so teachers can assign different assignments to different groups of students within the same class.

Select individual students

Scheduling assignments and planning ahead

Teachers can now plan ahead by scheduling assignments. The assignment is only published to the student on the scheduled date allowing the teacher to set assignments for the whole month, term or even year in advance!

Schedule Assignments

Auto-marking Quizzes

Microsoft Forms will soon be integrated much tighter with Teams. Currently you can use Microsoft Forms to create quizzes and embed them in Class Notebooks or share the link for the assignment resource. This new integration will feed quiz results straight into the Microsoft Teams mark book. It will be really easy to create self-marking quizzes for students.

Microsoft Teams using Microsoft Forms Quiz

Summer Rollover

A question that has come up a lot recently has been “What will happen to my old class teams after year rollover?”. Microsoft have now answered this by archiving old class teams. These teams will be available in read-only mode, so you can still access your resources and work. The membership of these classes will not be updated post-rollover as the classes will no longer exist in the school’s MIS.

Class Dashboard and Class Cards

At Cloud Design Box, we create a seamless user-friendly environment for students and teachers to navigate between SharePoint, Teams and Class Notebook. To find out more, you can sign-up for one of our free webinars by clicking here. You can find out more about our products on the Cloud Design Box website.

Bulk tagging in SharePoint Online

Tagging resources with metadata can provide a range of advantages when it comes to sorting, grouping and searching.

You might decide to create a custom view to group items outside of any folder structure. This would be particularly useful if you had a complex folder structure but wanted to group all the documents of a particular topic together (outside of the folder structure).

Bulk Tagging

Tagging in SharePoint Online is really easy and you can even do this in bulk.

Let’s take this folder as an example. I have a “Topic” managed metadata column which I want to update for all the documents in this folder.

Metadata view

Select the documents which require tagging (click the checkbox to the left of the document). Use the checkbox at the top if you want to select all the documents.

Document selection

Open the information panel by selecting the “i” symbol shown below.

SharePoint information panel

You can now bulk tag documents. You will only change the columns in which you enter a value (you won’t wipe the other choices).

Edit columns

Press Save. They are all instantly tagged!

Tagged documents in SharePoint

Now that the documents are tagged, they will appear in search results for the tag, any views containing this column and any grouped views.

For more SharePoint news:

Sign up for our Education tips, guides and product news or Business tips, guides and product news.

Find out more about SharePoint in education, Teams and Class Notebook by attending a webinar.

How to create a Microsoft Graph SharePoint Web Part to show recent OneDrive files

How exciting, SharePoint web parts can now talk to other parts of Office 365 rather than just SharePoint using the Microsoft Graph and third party APIs!

With the release of the SharePoint Framework version 1.4.1, we now have preview support of the Microsoft Graph API.

In this example, I’m going to create a SharePoint Framework web part to show my latest OneDrive files.

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

I’m going to assume that you already know how to create SharePoint framework web parts, if you don’t, take a look at my previous blog posts:

I will begin with a new SharePoint framework project (no JavaScript framework) using the latest version 1.4.1 (see getting started).

In the new project, open the web part typescript file (src\ webparts\ webpartname\ webpartname.ts).

Import the MSGraphClient using the following code:

import { MSGraphClient } from '@microsoft/sp-client-preview';

Inside the render function in our default class, we are going to define a variable for the service scope.

const client: MSGraphClient = this.context.serviceScope.consume(MSGraphClient.serviceKey);

We can make it easier to catch errors when coding against the MS Graph by installing the typings. You can do this from the terminal in VSCode by running:

npm install @microsoft/microsoft-graph-types –save-dev

This then needs to be imported in the web part typescript file.

import * as MicrosoftGraph from '@microsoft/microsoft-graph-types';

Under the line defining the service scope, add the following code to get data from the graph API

    client
      .api('me/drive/recent')
      .get((error, files: MicrosoftGraph.DriveItem, rawResponse: any) => {
        // handle the response
        for (var _i = 0; _i < rawResponse.body.value.length; _i++) {
          htmlcode += `<a href="${rawResponse.body.value[_i].webUrl}">${rawResponse.body.value[_i].name}</a></br>`;

        }
      this.domElement.innerHTML = `
      <div class="${ styles.myOneDriveFiles }">
        ${htmlcode}
      </div>`;
    });

Configuring API permission requests

In the package-solution json file (in the config folder), we need to define which Graph permissions we will be using.
Under “skipFeatureDeployment”, add the following JSON.

"webApiPermissionRequests": [
      {
        "resource": "Microsoft Graph",
        "scope": "Files.Read"
      }
    ]

To determine the permission levels and which API to use, I used the following references:

Graph Explorer
Permission Scopes

So we can test this, we need to allow access for this API in the Office 365 admin centre. To do this we are going to build and package the solution and then add it to the app catalog.

To package the solution, run the following commands from the VSCode terminal:

gulp bundle –ship

gulp package-solution –ship

This will create a SPPKG file in the sharepoint\solution folder. This is the file you will need to drag and drop into the tenant App Catalog. Please note that the next steps can only be performed on a first release tenant (not just a first release user).

You will see the additional highlighted message below.

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

Open the SharePoint Admin Centre of your tenant, and select to “Try the new SharePoint admin center”, in the upper right corner of the screen.

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

Select “API management”

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

There seemed to be a bit of a bug on this page, I had to refresh a few times before it appeared and it appeared twice (maybe because i tried uploading to the app catalog twice).

Select the request and press Approve

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

Add the web part to a modern page. If you have a pop-up blocker enabled in chrome, you will be asked to disable this.

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

After reloading the page, wow we see Microsoft Graph data inside a SharePoint web part!!

SPFx Microsoft Graph Web Part

You can download the source code from my GitHub page

Setting Assignments in Microsoft Teams for Education

Homework has many benefits for students including learning how to work independently, staying organised and taking responsibility for their part in the educational process. It also gives them a chance to review the lesson and go over the material again.

Assignments give teachers the ability to track student progress and to see if the student understands the lesson content.

Microsoft’s Office 365 now provides another educational tool in their arsenal of productivity apps. Teams is a collaboration tool for your classes with the ability to have discussion threads, document sharing, class notebooks (see my previous post) and assignments.

In this post I’m going to focus on the assignment aspect of teams. You can follow the video guide or the blog post below, I hope this helps you get the most out of Microsoft Teams!



How to view assignments for your class

Inside your class, click on the “Assignments” tab to view a timeline of all the set assignments for this group.

Assignments

You can select either a horizontal or vertical timeline view of the assignments using the view selector (highlighted yellow below).

Microsoft Teams

How to create a new assignment

To start setting work for students, click the “New assignment” button.

New Microsoft Teams Assignment

You are then prompted to enter the details of the new assignment

Fill in assignment details Microsoft Teams

  • Assign to: Select which classes to assign to (you can set it to more than one of your classes here!)
  • Title: This is the title of the assignment.
  • Instructions: Include a description here to help the student complete the assignment.
  • Due date and time: When the assignment becomes late (you have the option to allow late hand-in below)
  • Late turn-in allowed: If this is enabled, students can still hand-in work after the due date. This is required if you are using class notebook pages.
  • Points: Turn this on to allow a mark allocation. Currently these are only available as a number score.

Documents can be added from OneDrive, your computer or from the OneNote Class Notebook. We are hopeful that SharePoint and other class teams will be added to this soon! There are two options for attaching these resources.

Attach reference materials

These documents are for the student to view as part of the assignment. You might include a PowerPoint, links to useful websites, etc.

Specify what students will turn in

Documents uploaded in this section can be edited by the student and submitted back as part of the assignment. This is particularly useful for things like worksheets.

When you have finished the assignment, you can either save it as a draft or assign it to the class. As soon as this is assigned to the class, it will appear in their assignment timeline and they will get a notification on their team mobile and desktop apps.

Assign to students button

How to review completed assignments

Use the review button to bring up the assignment timeline and assignment submissions.

review assignments

Select the relevant assignment from the timeline to show the student work.

Mark assignments

Each student has:

  • Student work: Links to files that the student has returned.
  • Date turned in: The date and time that the student submitted their assignment.
  • Feedback: Some written feedback for the student.
  • Points: If you have chosen to enable this in your assignment, you can give the student a grade.

Students will not be able to see your feedback or grade until the “Post” button is clicked.

Post Grades and Marks

Click the “Export to Excel” button to download a spreadsheet of the assignments.

Export to Excel from MS Teams
Grade export from Microsoft Teams

The grades spreadsheet shows all the assignments set to this class over the school year. It optionally shows grades, if enabled per assignment. No more manual marksheets! You could use this data to import or fill in MIS marksheets quicker.

Mobile Apps

One of the best ways to engage with students both inside and outside of school using Teams is to encourage them to use the mobile app. Students get instant notifications of any mentions, homework or graded assignments.

Microsoft Teams iOS and Android App

Teams automation and customisation

Teams is free for schools, check you have the license enabled to start using it. At Cloud Design Box, we can provision teams from MIS data and create an engaging and simple dashboard to access team data in SharePoint. We can also create student folders inside team sites and extend the experience even further, making it easier and increasing student and teacher engagement. You can find out more information on our website https://www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/.

Cloud Design Box Class Cards

Learning Tools in OneNote Class Notebook

OneNote Class Notebook is free for education users as part of Office 365, it has some additional functionality which isn’t available in standard OneNote files. In this blog post, I want to focus on the additional learning tools available in this version. There is also a video guide for this post below.



How do I get Class Notebooks?

Class Notebooks can be created in a many ways (depending on how your school decides to use Office 365). Class Notebooks can be created from the Class Notebook App, Microsoft Teams or inside SharePoint or OneDrive.

Creating a “Class” in Microsoft Teams will automatically create a Class Notebook for the group.

How are Class Notebooks different to OneNote Notebooks?

Class Notebooks have a section for each student. Each student can see their own section, the teacher resources and the collaboration area. They can’t see other student sections. Logged in as a teacher, you have access to all the student sections.

OneNote Class Notebook

How do I send distribute an assignment to the students?

Assignments, worksheets or any other hand-outs can be copied into each student’s own section. To distribute a page, the teacher must:

  • 1. Create a new page
  • 2. Populate the page with what you would like to be sent out to the student (e.g. write an essay on…..)
  • 3. In the “Class Notebook” option in the ribbon, select “Distribute Section”
  • 4. Select where you would like the page to be sent

OneNote Class Notebook Distribute Section

How do I review student work?

Class Notebook has a great tool to make it simple to find student work. In the ribbon select “Review Student Work” from the Class Notebook.

OneNote Class Notebook Review Student Work Button

From here, you can select a page and switch between students for quick access to their work.

OneNote Class Notebook Review Student Work

Immersive reader

This option is available under the “View” tab.

Immersive Reader Button

The immersive reader provides the student with a tool to clearly show text on the page without other distractions (images, formatting, etc). In addition to sharpening the student focus on the text, the tool provides some options to:

  • Emphasise syllables, nouns, verbs and adjectives.
  • High contrast themes
  • Focus on lines or sections of the text
  • Read out the text

Immersive Reader

This is a learning tool that has some good research behind it which suggests that it can be used to improve reading and writing comprehension.

Read the study here

What about formal assignments and homework?

OneNote Class Notebook is a great tool for non-formal work hand-outs. With Microsoft Teams, it can be enhanced to provide formal assignments which can be handed out to students, collected in and graded. We will look at that in the next blog/video post.

Need help setting up Microsoft Teams?

I work for Cloud Design Box and we provide teacher training workshops, support, MIS integration, apps and many other services for Office 365. You can contact us via the website or by email. I hope you have found this blog and video post useful!