Tag Archives: SharePoint Online

How to access subject resources in CDB Class Teams | Student Guide

When working in Microsoft Teams, each Class Team that you’re a member of contains a tab where important subject resources can be viewed.



Access a resource library for your class by selecting the tab at the top of your Class Team.

In this example, it’s a Year 11 English student accessing their Year 11 English subject library.  

Click the resource tab in your Class Team to access resources

This is where your teachers store all of the resources for that topic.  

This folder is read-only to students, so you cannot edit the resources, but you may download your own copy if you wish to make annotations. 

Often, a teacher will assign this work to you and you can edit the file and return it to them for marking.  

You can also open up resource libraries in SharePoint by selecting Open in SharePoint. This takes you to the same folder in your school intranet.

student resources

You can view all subject site resources at any time from the school megamenu. 

View all your subjects in your school's megamenu

These libraries remain available to you every year, so you can access old topics as you move up through the years in your school.  

Resource libraries for that class.If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform and how we can help extend Microsoft 365 in your school or MAT, book a free demo today. 

A communications portal for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB with Microsoft 365

Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB) worked with Cloud Design Box to build a centralised communication and collaboration portal in Microsoft SharePoint and Teams.  

In this webinar, we speak to Marcella O’Dowd (FET Quality Assurance at DDLETB) about the impact the portal is having on the way people work together in the organisation. 

“DDLETB has responsibility for a variety of education and training services, serving a population of nearly 800,000 people and delivering education and training to approximately 70,000 learners,” Marcella explains.

“We serve a network of around 650 schools, colleges, centres and outreach and community-based settings.” 



Previously, DDLETB had a Google site called Cloud ETB that housed all the Quality Assurance (QA) and curriculum documentation.

“The Google site was a repository to house material. All the FET (Further Education and Training) users had the same access password that offered two access choices: editor or reader,” she continues. 

“This presented a few problems. It wasn’t as secure as we wanted it to be, and we had one instance where someone changed the password so no one could get in to access what they needed.” 

We worked with DDLETB to create a new QA Hub in SharePoint.

Recognising that the team needed a solution that went beyond file storage, we built a portal that encourages communication and collaboration. 

The QA Hub home page. A communications portal for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB with Microsoft 365

“The exciting thing about the new QA hub is that it provides tailored, secure access to everything our further education and training services need, whether that’s downloading a module descriptor, getting programme information, accessing policies and procedures, looking at assessment guidelines or checking when the next committee meetings are happening,” Marcella enthuses. 

“It’s no longer just a repository. It’s a communication and collaboration site. It’s a one-stop-shop for any QA needs.” 

One thing that was particularly important to DDLETB was strict version control of documents:

“To give an example, we currently need to make sure the DDLETB LGBTQA+ Handbook, policies and publications are available. This will be housed on the QA Hub, ready for people to access the most up-to-date version,” she confirms.

The QA Uploader. A communications portal for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB with Microsoft 365

The QA Uploader is another way we’ve helped DDLETB save time and reduce the risk of human error. 

Previously, users would need to download a template from the Google site, fill it out and then send an email to the QA team.

“Our team would have to monitor the email account and check to see if new reports had been submitted. We would then have to re-upload them into the right folders, which was time-consuming and it was easy for emails to go astray when we were monitoring multiple inboxes.” 

“With the QA uploader, the users simply upload their reports directly to the QA Hub and choose the right report type and training centre. This sends us a notification and the file is already stored in the correct, secure folder that can only be accessed by people with the right permissions.” 

The QA Hub Calendar. A communications portal for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB with Microsoft 365

Tedious admin tasks are also being reduced and communication improved by the QA Hub’s new calendar. 

There are a large number of FET and QA dates each year that are usually sent out as a list at the beginning of each academic year, with reminders sent out as dates and deadlines approach. 

“We get a barrage of emails asking when the next course approval or committee meeting is. Previously, we’d have to go to a document with a list of the dates and respond to each email,” Marcella reveals.

“The new calendar feature makes things so much easier. All we need to do is send a link to the calendar. We’ve already seen a huge difference in the number of emails coming in, as people are just going straight to the calendar to check for dates, rather than emailing.”

QA News section. A communications portal for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB with Microsoft 365

DDLETB is using the SharePoint News feature to communicate key information and announcements:

“Having the ability to pop announcements into the QA News is great because everybody who needs to know gets an email about it. What’s more, they don’t need to flag emails or save them into folders because they know they can come to the QA Hub and find the information.”

QA News is also automatically displayed on the SharePoint home pages of FET and QA staff.

With such a big change in the way DDLETB works, there were some reservations about moving from the Google Cloud ETB site to Microsoft 365. However, the feedback so far has been extremely positive.

“With Cloud Design Box’s support, the new workflows make a lovely user experience that is easy for us to manage and support. We needed this to be user-friendly and intuitive and ‘intuitive’ is a word that has been mentioned by users when we’ve asked for feedback,” enthuses Marcella.

“We wanted our users to be no more than three clicks away from whatever they needed. Our users love the layout and the simplicity of it and love the fact they can do everything on one site.”

Our work with DDLETB is part of a wider initiative called the DEIS Connect Project. We have also worked with St Kevin’s Community College and Firhouse Community College (both part of DDLETB) to provision teaching and learning environments. 

If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform, book a free demo today.  

How to add your upcoming events to a SharePoint site with the My Events web part

In this guide, we show you how to add the Cloud Design Box exclusive My Events web part to your SharePoint sites.  

The My Events web part gives you a quick glance at your upcoming events by showing your calendar events from Outlook.  

It would sit perfectly on a home page so users can see their calendar items at a glance whenever they log in.

An example of the My Events web part on a SharePoint homepage

How to add the My Events web part to a SharePoint site. 

Before you add this web part, you need to make sure your Office 365 global admin has approved the Calendars Read API permission. This can be done via the SharePoint admin centre.



 

  1. Head to the site you wish to add it to and hit Edit in the top-right corner of the screen. 
  2. Decide where you want your calendar events to appear on the site and hit the plus button to add a new web part.
  3. Search for “CDB My Events” and Cloud Design Box customers should be able to see our CDB My Events web part.

Search for My Events to find the web part in SharePoint

4. Selecting this will show your personal calendar events for the day.

5. Select Republish in the top-right hand corner. 

With this web part, you can flick back and forth through the days of your calendar.  

An example of the My Events web part in SharePoint

You can also select Open My Calendar to open a full view of your calendar in Outlook. 

An example of an Outlook calendar that can by accessed via the My Events SharePoint web part

There is also a privacy mode which will initially hide the events. This is particularly useful if you are a teacher with sensitive events and you regularly share your screen on a projector. This mode can be configured using the pencil icon when editing the web part.

web part properties

The My Events web part for SharePoint is only available to Cloud Design Box customers. If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform and how we can help improve communication and collaboration in your school or MAT, book a free demo today. 

How to add an FAQ web part to a SharePoint page

In this guide, we show you how to add the Cloud Design Box Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web Part to your SharePoint sites.

The FAQ web part is an extremely versatile addition to any SharePoint site and can be customised to create an interactive FAQs section to help give quick guidance to your users.  

What’s more, it’s searchable, allowing users to type in a question and quickly get an answer.  

The Cloud Design Box FAQ web part on a SharePoint site

One example of the FAQ web part being particularly useful is for IT Help sites. Simply make a list of your most common questions and add them to the web part. It can be really useful for onboarding new staff to SharePoint.  

Meanwhile, it can also be used on teaching and learning sites, guiding students on how to use SharePoint to find their learning resources.  

Below, we show you how to add the FAQ web part to your SharePoint sites – it only takes a minute or two.  



How to add the FAQ web part to your SharePoint site.

  1. Head to the site you wish to add it to and hit Edit in the top-right corner of the screen.  

Note: You need Designer access to be able to do this.  

  1. Decide where you want your FAQ section to appear on the site and hit the plus button to add a new web part.
  2. Search for “FAQ” and Cloud Design Box customers should be able to see our FAQ web part. Search for FAQ on the SharePoint web part options
  3. Select Republish in the top-right hand corner. An example question and answer section will appear.

How to add questions and answers to the FAQ web part. 

  1. Select the cogs icon to open SharePoint settings.
  2. Choose Site contents and you will see there’s now an FAQs folder stored here.Via Settings, go into Site Contents to add a new FAQ
  3. Select the list to add a new FAQ.The FAQ folder in Site Contents on SharePoint
  4. Select + New to add a new FAQ. You can add a question (Title) and answer.

There’s also an option to enter an order number. For example, ‘1’ if you wish this question to appear first.  

Additionally, you can choose to add an attachment.  

Add a new question and answer to the FAQ web part in SharePoint

    5. Hit Save to save the question.

Your FAQs will now appear on the SharePoint site and be visible and searchable for any users with access to that site.

An example FAQ web part on a SharePoint page 

The FAQ web part for SharePoint is only available to Cloud Design Box customers. If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform and how we can help improve communication and collaboration in your school or MAT, book a free demo today.  

Moving from a single Microsoft 365 tenant to a central trust tenancy with Sacred Heart Catholic High School

In this podcast episode, we spoke with Martin Edworthy, eLearning Coordinator at Sacred Heart Catholic High School about how they moved from their school’s Microsoft 365 tenant to a centralised tenancy for their trust (The Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust). 

“Working between two tenancies was becoming unnecessarily complex as our members of staff needed multiple logins to access the resources they need,” Martin tells us.  

“We made the decision to move to the central trust tenancy to make life easier in the long run. As the trust grows, new members of staff will be able to join and instantly have access to resources with a minimum amount of effort.”  



 

The challenges of migrating from one tenancy to another. 

Sacred Heart was already using SharePoint and Teams for teaching and learning; storing learning resources in SharePoint and setting work and assignments in Teams.  

“We had gradually moved departmental resources from our network drives into SharePoint. And during lockdown, there was a massive uptake in Teams as teachers used it to deliver live lessons and teach their classes,” he explains. 

“So, when it came to migrating everything across to the trust tenancy, it required a bit of thinking to make sure everything was moved across seamlessly and permissions and access was set up correctly.”  

As our Operations Manager Darren Hemming explains, SharePoint permissions can quickly get messy if it’s done on an individual basis: 

“We recommend using groups instead (that’s security groups, not distribution lists). For example, ‘All staff’, ‘All students’, ‘Senior Leadership’. This makes it a lot easier to manage permissions and access to files,” Darren describes.  

“The shift in how permissions are managed took time to get our heads around, but we are seeing the benefits of this now. One example where having groups is useful is if a new teacher joins a department and needs to change something on a site, we can just drop them into an appropriate group,” Martin acknowledges. 

Teaching and learning with Microsoft 365.  

Equally, Martin is impressed with how easy it is for teachers to be able to find and share resources now they’re all centralised in SharePoint: 

“One thing that’s caught my eye is the ability to attach resources to assignments without having to look for files in different drives,” Martin enthuses.  

“It makes it easier for both teachers and students to have all the resources in the same pool, rather than spread across different storage areas.”  

This centralised approach to resources has also given students the opportunity to take control of their own learning.  

“We’re moving in the direction of embedding learning journeys for students so they know exactly where they are in their learning. This is to help tackle lost learning due to Covid-19,” Martin continues. 

“If they need to have time off due to illness or isolation, they can easily go into SharePoint and for example go to ‘Maths, topic 3, lesson 5’ and catch up with any learning they’ve missed.” 

This has also led to keen students looking ahead at what they need to read up on and completing work before it’s even been set in the classroom: 

“One or two students have seen something before the lesson and done the work off their own backs – it’s great to see that when it happens.” 

Not only does this help students develop independence, but also instils important skills for the future – whether that’s in further education or a job.

If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform and how we can help your school or MAT achieve more with Microsoft 365, book a free demo today.  

How to see exactly who has viewed your documents in SharePoint – SharePoint Viewers feature

Have you ever wanted to see exactly who has viewed a document and when? In this guide, Tony demonstrates the SharePoint Viewers feature, which allows you to see who has viewed your documents in SharePoint.  




By default, when you hover over a document in SharePoint, it shows how many people have viewed the file. But, it doesn’t show you who those people are.

Example of hovering over a document in SharePoint to see view count

However, if you change the settings for your SharePoint site, you can easily see who has accessed your files.

This feature is handy for organisations who have policy documents or other important documents stored in SharePoint, as you can see who has opened and viewed the file.

You need to be a Site Collection Administrator or ask your IT Administrator to turn on this feature.  

  1. Go to Settings (the cog in the right-hand corner) and select Site information. Go to Site Settings in SharePoint to turn on SharePoint Viewers feature
  2. Select View all site settings.
  3. Open Manage site features.Go to Manage Site Features to turn on SharePoint Viewers feature
  4. Scroll down the list of site features and look for the SharePoint Viewers feature.
  5. Select Activate to turn on the SharePoint Viewers feature. This is then turned on for all the files in your selected SharePoint site.Scroll down the list of site features and look for the SharePoint Viewers feature.

Here’s an example of a policy library in SharePoint where the SharePoint Viewers feature is activated.  

As you can see, when you hover over the document, you can see exactly who has viewed the document and when they viewed it.  

An example of a policy library in SharePoint where the SharePoint Viewers feature is activated.

If you click through on X Views, you can see a timeline of when people have viewed the document and compare unique views with the total number of views.

Viewer graph in SharePoint

Microsoft 365 user adoption tips from a large multi academy trust (MAT)

In this second podcast episode with Bridge Academy Trust (BAT), we discuss user adoption tips with Mark Fuller, IT Director and how he is supporting 12 schools to embrace the tools in Microsoft 365.



Bridge Academy Trust is a large MAT made up of four secondary schools and eight primary schools. In 2021, the Trust worked with Cloud Design Box and its partners to merge ten different Microsoft 365 tenants and roll out SharePoint and Teams to each school in the trust.

You can read the details about this merge and migration project in this blog post.

One of the key challenges when rolling out Microsoft 365 across BAT was that each school was at a very different stage in terms of blended learning.

“Some of our secondary schools were already using the full suite of tools in Microsoft for teaching and learning. Meanwhile, other schools were only using it for email and storing some files in OneDrive,” Mark explains.

“We also had a school using G Suite that we needed to migrate across and support them in using brand new blended learning tools.”

Mark describes his approach when it came to encouraging user adoption of Cloud Box in each school.

His first quick win is to set the school’s SharePoint intranet as the default homepage:

“This way, I’ve won half the battle because they’re already using it. The page contains links the staff will find useful – timetables, web applications, finance forms, HR forms, policies etc,” Mark tells us.

“When they open their computers, it’s the first thing they see – they haven’t got to start typing out the URL. It just makes navigation so much easier.”

As they roll out, Mark is working with each school to introduce them to SharePoint and Teams and support them with user adoption.

“I speak to staff and give them a brief demo of what SharePoint and Teams can do. I do live webinars and drop-in sessions using Microsoft Teams and record them so staff can watch later if they miss the live events,” he continues.

“I have also created a training site within SharePoint for staff to access. This not only has my own resources on there, but I have links to the courses created by Cloud Design Box and Microsoft. There’s no point in me re-creating what has already been done and they have saved me so much time.”

Access our free training videos here.

Mark points out that it’s important to recognise that each school, even if they are in the same trust, has very different needs and will use Microsoft 365 in different ways:

“It’s important we work with schools to create something that they will use, rather than telling them exactly how to use it. This has worked well, and we’ve had schools ask for all sorts of things, like a place to store all exam information and a site dedicated to assemblies,” Mark enthuses.

Lastly, Mark has made himself available to answer questions for any school that needs it:

“It can be a bit of information overload for some staff, so alongside the training and drop-in sessions, I have made myself available to answer questions from schools.”

If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform and how we can help improve communication and collaboration in your school or MAT, book a free demo today.  

A quick round-up of Bett 2022

After two years of virtual demos and online networking, we were thrilled to be back at Bett Show in March, talking with schools and trusts face-to-face about blended learning.  

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to see us on our shared stand with our partners SalamanderSoft.  

Cloud Design Box Keith and Tony Bett 2022

The long-awaited three-day event – dubbed EdTech’s biggest reunion – brought together some of the most prominent names in the education community.  

Tony, Darren, Joanne, James, Keith and Joe had a brilliant time demonstrating our product and speaking to schools and MATs about their blended learning needs. 

Tony Phillips with the Cloud Design Box team at Bett 2022

Meanwhile, we also managed to catch up with some of our partner companies – Arbor, AspiraCloud and Microsoft Education.  

AspiraCloud at Bett 2022

Our Operations Manager Darren – a former teacher of Modern Languages and ICT – was particularly excited to talk with Microsoft about Reflections in Microsoft 365 and how it can be used to measure student wellbeing. 

Cloud Design Box was also part of The ANME Trail – hosted by the Association of Network Managers in Education. Visitors could walk around the trail collecting stamps to be in with a chance of winning all sorts of exciting gadgets. 

Cloud Design Box Joanne at Bett 2022

“Bett is a highlight in our calendar every year, so it’s a great feeling to be back at the show in 2022. It’s an extremely busy but exciting week for the whole team. It gives us the unique opportunity of catching up with our partner companies and speaking to schools and trusts about the challenges they face in an increasingly digital world,” enthuses Tony Phillips, Founder of Cloud Design Box. 

“We know that some didn’t make it to Bett this year due to the change in date and potentially due to Covid-19, so we’re hosting virtual demos for those who may have missed us at the show but want to extend Microsoft 365 in their school or trust.” 

Cloud Design Box Keith demonstating Cloud Box Product at Bett 2022

If you would like to find out more about how Microsoft 365 and Cloud Box can help your school or trust overcome the challenges of lost learning, book a demo with a member of our team.

 

Lost learning – How schools and trusts can encourage students to catch up with SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint can help schools and trusts overcome many of the lost learning challenges they face in 2022.

Over the last few years, many students have inevitably lost hours of learning, due to higher levels of absences, adjusting to learning from home and dealing with abrupt changes in restrictions.  

On top of this, some individuals have struggled to access learning remotely due to a lack of access to devices or internet connectivity.  

This major disruption has caused a huge problem for schools as teachers battle to clearly identify gaps in individual students’ learning and keep track of progress.  

Using SharePoint as a central storage hub for all learning resources, schools and trusts make catching up on learning accessible to students anytime and anywhere.  

Students can catch up on missed learning on their own terms and take ownership of the gaps in their knowledge.  

Meanwhile, sharing resources in SharePoint encourages staff to work together to create learning resources and share them across departments, schools and the trusts.

This not only cuts down the number of hours wasted re-creating resources that already exist, but it can also drive up quality as the resources can be reused, recycled and built upon year after year. 

Below are some tips on how to use SharePoint in a way that enables students to catch up easily on lost learning.  



Structure folders around student needs.

It’s essential to keep the student’s point of view in mind when creating and structuring your SharePoint folders.  

Choose clear names for folders and documents and consider numbering them so they appear in a specific order – for example, by term, week or lesson number.  

This makes it so much easier for students to revisit lost learning and reduces the chances of them needing to contact you to find specific documents.  

In the example in our video guide, Joe breaks down learning into terms, weeks and lessons and then numbers worksheets and tasks so that students can access the right files.  

Structure files in SharePoints around students' point of view

Search for keywords.

Encourage students to use the search function in SharePoint.  

The clever tool allows you to search within the selected folder – keywords can be used to search the titles of folders and files and even words within documents.  

This is great when students need to access something quickly or revise a specific topic.  

Tip: Take this one step further and use the Find tool (Ctrl + F) to drill down into documents and search for specific keywords.  

Connect it to Teams with Cloud Box.  

With our Cloud Box solution, you can automatically connect your learning resource folders to the respective Teams channel so students can access everything they need without leaving the Teams app.  

The resources folder can be accessed in the top navigation bar and documents can all be opened up within the Teams app.

Connect SharePoint to Teams

Share resources quickly.  

Resources can also be easily shared outside of SharePoint.  

Simply select the file, document or folder you wish to share and click Share. 

A pop-up appears with multiple sharing options:  

  • You can email a student (or multiple students) the selected file directly so that they can access the folder. 
  • Or you can create a sharing link that can then be copied into a Teams message or email.  

From here, you can also alter the editing permissions to prevent students from editing the resource.

Note: You’ll get a notification as soon as students open your link.  

Share resources in SharePoint

SharePoint makes it easy to share resources with students who may have lost learning, but it also makes it very easy for staff to collaborate and work together on creating documents. If you would like to find out more about how Microsoft 365 and Cloud Box can help your school or trust overcome the challenges of lost learning, book a demo with a member of our team.

 

Lost learning – How schools and trusts can overcome the issue with Microsoft

Lost learning is one of the many challenges schools face in 2022. In this blog, we share our top tips using Cloud Design Box and Microsoft education packages to encourage students to catch up with learning independently.  

Many students have lost learning due to:  

  • Higher levels of absences (of both staff and students).  
  • Adjusting to learning from home.  
  • Dealing with abrupt changes in restrictions.  

What’s more, depending on individual circumstances, some children have had to face challenges with internet connectivity, access to devices and the ability to participate in home learning.   

This major disruption has led to lost teaching hours, lost learning hours and lost assessment data. And, because each student has had a unique experience during Covid-19, it’s difficult to quantify and track gaps in learning.   

So how can we address this widespread problem of lost learning? 

We can start by looking at strategies to help teachers identify gaps in learning for specific students. When we combine this with strategies that encourage student independence, students can identify gaps in their own learning and access the tools they need to catch up.   

The approach should focus on saving teacher time, driving up the quality of learning resources, encouraging students to take ownership of their own learning.   

On top of this, the progress should be easy to monitor.   



Tools we can use to address lost learning:

Create accessible, centralised resources in SharePoint. 

Create a centralised, long-term resource bank in SharePoint for teaching resources, policies and other documents that can be reused and repurposed every academic year.   

Not only does this save time each year by not having to replicate or reupload resources, but it also means that everyone has access to everything they need to work – whether that’s a student or staff member. 

Here’s how teachers can use SharePoint to address the problem of lost learning →

How to use SharePoint to encourage students to catch up with lost learning

Create ‘topic notebooks’ and revision guides in OneNote. 

OneNote can be used to create and organise digital learning content for students – that can be shared in a centralised area.  

Teachers can create a mini-website/digital topic notebook for each topic that can then be shared via a link or in Teams. 

One notebook could be used to cover a term’s worth of learning content, that the student can then look back through and revise from. 

How to create topic notebooks in OneNote to help with lost learning →

Create topic notebooks and revision guides in OneNote
 

Reset lost assignments in Teams for individual students or small groups. 

With Teams Assignments, teachers can re-send out assignments to individuals or small groups of students who may not have been able to complete the homework when it was initially set.  

This saves teachers from having to send out a notification to whole classes and allows students who missed out to fill gaps in their learning. 

How teachers can reassign missed homework to individual students in Microsoft Teams →

How teachers can reassign missed homework to individual students in Microsoft Teams
 

Use Forms to identify gaps in learning and track student progress. 

Forms are a great way to pick up on gaps in learning as teachers can create engaging surveys and quizzes on a specific topic for students to complete.   

Data is then collected instantly and can be turned into graphs and charts so any gaps in knowledge can be easily identified and recapped. 

How teachers can identify gaps in learning with Microsoft Forms →

How schools and MATs can use Microsoft Forms to help tackle lost learning

If you would like more information on how these Microsoft tools can work together to help address the issue of lost learning in your school or trust, book a demo with a member of our team.