Category Archives: COVID-19

Archived Class Teams – Where have they gone?

During the academic year rollover process in Microsoft School Data Sync, schools can choose clean-up actions for their old class teams. The most popular and recommended clean-up action is “Archive”. It’s much easier for teachers and students to see current teams when they login.

The archived teams appear to vanish leaving the user with all the current classes for the new academic year.

However, they have not disappeared, and the teacher/student can still access the team in read-only mode.

In the video below, Darren Hemming from Cloud Design Box shows you how you can access archived classes from previous academic years.



Cloud Design Box customers can benefit from an option in class dashboard to switch back to a previous academic year.

Class Dashboard Archived Teams

Talk to the team at Cloud Design Box if you need help with Teams for education.

Insights and Analytics in Class Teams

In this video guide, we take you through adding the insights tab to Class Teams and how to use it to track student usage, assessment trends, digital activity and much more.



You can find out more information on Cloud Design Box and how we can help your school get the most out of Microsoft Teams on our website.

Office 365 User Adoption Episode 11: Supporting Students with SEN and EAL with Office 365

In this podcast, we spoke with James Emmet, Network Manager at Engineering UTC North Lincolnshire about how they use features in Office 365 to support students with Special Education Needs (SEN) and English as an Additional Language (EAL).




Listen on Spotify

“We have a high number of students who are EAL, SEN, dyslexic and have low reading ages. I passionately believe that – when used in the right way – ICT is one of the most crucial tools to help these students with their learning,” James tells us.

“Our school’s main intake starts from Year 9, so it’s not long after they start before, we have to start prepping them for their GCSEs. Office 365 and key tools like Immersive Reader are essential for helping these students to learn.”

Immersive Reader is a free tool built into many of the Microsoft Products, including Microsoft Word.

“Using Immersive Reader, students can change the style and appearance of the text to help with reading comprehension,” James explains.

“For example, you can change the font, text size, text spacing and even create a virtual coloured overlay.”

Meanwhile, Picture Dictionary, the Translate tool and Read Aloud are particularly handy for supporting EAL students.

Picture Dictionary allows students to select a word they may not understand and view an explainer image, while Read Aloud turns the text on the page into speech for the student to listen to.

Both of these, combined with the Translate tool, are invaluable when it comes to improving reading comprehension in the classroom.

“We have found that Immersive Reader is being used by all of our students, not only those with EAL and SEN. In fact, one of our GCSE students who is predicted a level 7 in English regularly uses Immersive Reader to break down texts and closely analyse them,” James adds.

Immersive Reader also enables students to highlight word types, such as nouns and verbs, as well as break sentences down into syllables, which both students and their teachers have found useful for English and language-focused subjects.

“Because Immersive Reader is already built into many of the Microsoft products, we have not had to spend any extra time rolling it out into classrooms,” he tells us.

“It’s really taken off in our school. For example, we demonstrated the tool to one student and by the next lesson, the rest of their class were using it.”

The great thing about Office 365 and Immersive Reader is that it works on any connected device. Of course, this capability is more important than ever before as we see many children learning from home.

“We love the fact that Office 365 can be accessed via multiple devices and actively encourage our students to use their own devices or one from our bank of iPads. It gives their learning an extra boost.”

To find out more about Office 365 for Education, get in touch with a member of our team today.

An Update From the Cloud Design Box Team on Covid-19

In light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve put together a short article on the free resources we’ve been working hard to create and share with you.

Like many businesses, we’re now operating fully remotely and still available to support our existing clients, as well as any other schools, multi-academy trusts and businesses who need a helping hand during this difficult time.

Before the pandemic, part of our team already worked from home, so we have been privileged enough to be able to make the smooth transition to remote working.

We’re also very lucky in the sense that the tools we specialise in – Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and SharePoint – are built for collaboration and keeping people connected.

While we already used these tools in our day-to-day business, they have become even more invaluable in driving collaboration and allowing us to stay connected as a team. Here’s a screenshot of one of our recent Teams calls.

Cloud Design Box Meeting

As you may have seen if you follow us on social media, or have signed up to our newsletter, we have been publishing free resources to help you create virtual lessons, access remote learning and use Teams to stay connected with your class.

We’ve recently published a guide for teachers on presenting remote lessons using Teams.


blog post

On top of this, our Student and Parent Guide to Teams is a great one to share with your class if any families are struggling to get to grips with homeschooling.


another blog guide

And, as always, we’re keeping up with our regular podcast, which offers insights into all the tools Office 365 for Education offers. You can access all episodes via our YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, for the IT teams in schools, we have a blog on useful PowerShell Scripts for managing classes in Teams, as well as a free training Web Part and Teams tab package to guide you through using Teams, SharePoint and Office 365.

free web part and teams tab package

As you can imagine, we’ve been working with lots of schools to ensure their transition to remote teaching is as frictionless as possible. If you have been in touch with us recently, we really appreciate your patience when it comes to resolving issues and providing support. It’s an extremely busy time for us and we wish to continue to support you all in the best possible way.

If you do have any questions, or would like some guidance on using Office 365, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams for your school, multi-academy trust or business, please feel free to get in touch.

Teacher Guide to Presenting Remote Lessons using Microsoft Teams

In this video and guide we show you the best way to start an online lesson in Microsoft Teams. Follow the tips below if you want to control presenters and have more control over the video conference.



Tip 1 – Create your lesson in the calendar view

Creating your lesson in the calendar rather than directly from your class team channel gives you a number of benefits including:

  • Sends out an email invitation to all students
  • If students accept the invitation it will add it to their own personal outlook calendar providing structure to their day.
  • You can stop students from being presenters (and some of the disruption they could cause)

When creating the calendar invite, there is no need to add the students individually, you just need to select the class as shown below.

Schedule Lesson

Tip 2 – Stop students presenting

By default, students are also presenters which means they can share their screens and kick others out of the meeting. This may disrupt the lesson, but you can change this setting!

Save the calendar meeting and wait for it to finish setting up (it becomes bold in the calendar view).

lesson entry

Once you go back into the calendar item, you will see there are additional menu items for controlling the meeting options.

Meeting options

Select “Meeting options” and then change the presenter to “Only Me” and press “Save”.

Presenter options

Tip 3 – Mute microphones

The first 4 students who join the meeting will have their mics unmuted, use the “Mute all” button at any point during the lesson.

Mute all

Tip 4 – Share screens

Use the share button to share your screen or present an application or file.

Share screen

Tip 5 – Mention that the lesson is about to start

Mentioning the class will send them an instant notification in teams. Use it to notify them that the lesson is about to start.

Mention

Tip 6 – Record the lesson

Some students may not be able to make it to your lesson in time. Ensure no one misses out and that they can use it for revision purposes by recording the meeting.

record lesson meeting

We hope you find these tips useful. Good luck with your online lessons!

Student and Parent Guide to Microsoft Teams

We have made a quick video guide for students and parents about using Microsoft Teams from home during this time of remote learning. We hope you find it useful!



Useful PowerShell Scripts for Managing Classes in Microsoft Teams

So, you have school data sync setup and all of your class teams have been generated in Microsoft Teams. Teachers are eager to start using it for extending the classroom or remote learning. Teachers then realise that students can do things that they were not aware of and request for some rights to be restricted.

Here is a list of useful PowerShell scripts to help you manage some of the most common issues that schools face.

  • – Allow teachers to delete student messages
  • – Stop students emailing the class group
  • – Disable chat for students
  • – Calling and Live Event Policies

Allow teachers to delete student messages

It’s surprising that this is not enabled as standard. Owners in class teams cannot delete member messages unless a custom message policy is set.

Create a messaging policy in the Teams Admin centre

Create a new messaging policy and select “Owners can delete sent messages”

Create custom message policy in Teams
Owners can delete messages
Apply Custom Message Policy using PowerShell
 

This needs to be run as a global admin. The variables at the top of the script should be changed to the AAD (or synced AD) group that you want to apply the messaging policy to and the message policy name.

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Teachers"
$customMessagePolicyName="CustomTeacherMessagingPolicy1"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName" -Identity "$userEmail"
}

Stop students emailing the class group

Once a student receives a welcome message into a group, they may reply back to it or find it in the address list and start a large group email.

In the script below connect to Microsoft Exchange PowerShell. You should update the variables with an AD security group for students to apply the policy to. To ensure you only apply this to the relevant teams, use the wildcard search to filter them. In this example we are assuming teams have been named in a format of SchoolCode-AcademicYear-ClassName so we can set the wildcard to only apply this setting to Teams starting with SCH-2019.

######Replace the following variables if necessary##########
$studentADSecurityGroup ="All Students"   #AD Group for all students
$wildcardsearch="SCH-2019*"                #Wildcard for Teams display name - Search for Teams beginning with ....  
###########################################################

$MyCredential = Get-Credential
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $MyCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session -AllowClobber
$groups = Get-UnifiedGroup -ResultSize 20000 -SortBy DisplayName -Identity "$wildcardsearch" | Select DisplayName,WhenCreated,Id
 
foreach ($group in $groups)
{
    $teamName = $group.DisplayName
    Write-Host "restricting group emails on $teamName for $studentADSecurityGroup"
    Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity "$teamName" -RejectMessagesFromSendersOrMembers "$studentADSecurityGroup"
}

Disable chat for students

Teams is a safe environment for students to chat, chats can be audited and monitored more closely than if they where to use WhatsApp or snapchat outside of the school systems. However, there are some situations where it might require turning off for safeguarding reasons.

Create message policy in Teams admin centre
Teams message policy

Click “Add” to create a new message policy and turn off the chat setting.

Turn off chat for students


Apply Custom Message Policy using PowerShell

This needs to be run as a global admin. The variables at the top of the script should be changed to the AAD (or synced AD) group that you want to apply the messaging policy to and the message policy name.

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Students"
$customMessagePolicyName="CustomStudentMessagingPolicy1"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName" -Identity "$userEmail"
}

Calling Policies

Calling policies can be used to configure what can and can’t be done by users when calling on Teams. An example of this might be for preventing students from calling on Teams.

Calling policies can be found under Voice as shown below:

Calling Policies

These are the settings that can be applied:

Teams Calling Policy for Students

This is how we apply a calling policy:

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Students"
$customMessagePolicyName="CallingPolicyForStudents"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -Identity "$userEmail" -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName"
}

Live Event Policies

Live Event policies might be used restricting who can attend or record them live events.

Live event policies can be found under Meetings as shown below:

Live Event Policies

These are the options when setting up a Live Events policy.

Teams Live Event Policy for Teachers

This is how we apply a Live Event policy:

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Students"
$customMessagePolicyName="LiveEventPolicyForStudents"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsMeetingBroadcastPolicy -Identity "$userEmail" -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName"
}

Setting up Microsoft Class Teams quickly with SDS to prepare for coronavirus school closures

This is a quick update from Cloud Design Box. Due to the current situation of social distancing being implemented across the world, we have had a lot of schools rushing to setup Microsoft Teams.

There are a number of ways you can setup Microsoft School Data Sync to create Class Teams from your MIS/SIS data:

We have recently recorded a podcast on how you might use Class Teams for remote learning, you can watch it here.



Our products are designed to be curriculum lead to support your long term digital strategy to move to the cloud. However, we recognise that schools need a quick interim solution to prepare them for remote learning which is why we are now supplying a more lightweight solution to get you onboarded quickly with the option to look at the bigger picture when things have settled down. Please contact us for more information via the contact page on our website.


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