2 Scenarios for using Office 365 to engage with learners

Wondering how Office 365 can enhance classroom practice? Office 365 has great potential to open collaborative and personalised learning practices. Below are two use case scenarios that show how Office 365 can enhance for Assessment and Feedback, and Student ePortfolio strategies in the classroom.

These use case scenarios lead you through the process step-by-step, showing you exactly how to ensure success.

Using Office Online for Assessment and Feedback

Sibusiso Morena, the Chemistry teacher, is going to set his Grade 9 Chemistry class a piece of assessed work using the school’s Office 365 platform. He has been using it with his class for a few weeks so they are becoming familiar with how it all works. He is away from the classroom at a teacher conference, but fortunately he is still able to use Office Online to create, share and assess the work using his tablet device.

  • He logs into Office 365 and clicks on OneDrive* from his admin page.
  • Sibusiso clicks on +new document. This opens up the Create a new file drop-down menu:

  • Sibusiso selects Word document. He gives his new document a name and it opens up in Word Online.
  • He can now type up the assessment he wants to set his class. It looks like this:


  • Sibusiso is now ready to send this assessment to his students. He clicks on the Share tab at the top of the page above the functions ribbon.
  • He is now able to share the assessment with his class. As he is an administrator of his school’s Office 365 platform, he has set up a user group that includes all of his Grade 9 Chemistry students.
  • User groups are easy to set up in Office 365. Sibusiso clicked on the Admin tab on the Office 365 tabs menu and selected Office 365 from the drop-down menu. This took him to his Office 365 Admin centre.
  • He clicked on Users and Groups on the menu running down the left side of the page and then selected Security Groups from the options at the top of the admin screen
  • He then set up groups of users by clicking the + sign and following the instructions that guided him through the process.
  • The user group makes it much easier to share things with his students. (Alternatively he could load the document into his SharePoint class team site and type a message into the group Newsfeed.)
  • Sibusiso types in the name of the grade 9 Chemistry group together with an explanatory message. His screen now looks like this:


  • He clicks on Share. His Grade 9 students will now get an email message telling them about the assignment. When they click on the link in the email, the assessment will open up in Word Online.
  • They can now download the document and, after working on them offline, upload them to their own OneDrive then share them with Mr Morena for feedback on how they have done.
  • Sibusiso will then be able to mark their assignments, type in corrections (using different colours), give feedback on how they could improve and share these comments with the student, keeping a copy for his records in a folder he has set up on his OneDrive.
  • This is a very simple yet effective way of working collaboratively on documents using Office Online.

Using OneNote Online for student ePortfolios

Neo Nkosi wants to start using ePortfolios with his grade 6 English class. He wants them to have a record of their achievements to take with them when they go to high school. He decides to use OneNote Online* in his institution’s Office 365 platform, as he has seen it used in other schools quite successfully for this purpose.

He knows that OneNote is great for organising resources into workbooks, sections and pages. He wants to see how he can use this structure to organise his students’ evidence of progress and achievement in a way that shows evidence of his students being reflective learners who use his feedback and peer assessment as well as their own achievements. He knows it is a useful skill for students to be able to develop and maintain an ePortfolio that will:

  • Help them acquire self-regulation skills
  • Enable them to become autonomous learners
  • Equip them with skills to be able to reflect on their learning practices and achievements

As not all of the children in his class have the full version of OneNote at home, he knows he will have to use only the features available in OneNote Online, although many of them will be able to use the full version to make their ePortfolios even better.

He decides to use the following structure for the sections:

(a) Reading
(b) Writing
(c) Speaking
(d) Listening
(e) Pronunciation
(f) Homework
(g) Exams

He uses the following pages in each of his sections and creates a template for his students to help them set up their own ePortfolios:

  • Prior knowledge / experience
  • Samples of learning
  • Learning goals
    Students will perform better if they know what goals they must achieve and should be encouraged to set their own goals too, which will help them become self-regulatory learners
  • Rubrics – assessment criteria
    It is important that the students know exactly what is expected of them
  • Practice for exams tests and quizzes
  • Teacher evaluation
    Evaluate both formally and informally – feedback doesn’t have to be given as grades, but can also be given as descriptive feedback
  • Peer evaluation
    Students need to be taught how to express negative remarks with a positive attitude and they need to understand that they’re not evaluating the learner but the learning task
  • Self-evaluation
    Students will learn how to objectively assess their work, especially if they’re able to compare their work with
    their peers.

His template for his grade 6 class now looks like this:


  • Now that the template has been created, Neo’s students will be able to set up their own ePortfolios, which they can share with him and perhaps their parents or caregivers. This is a great way of sharing information about work done at school, progress and achievement.
  • If the students have the full version of OneNote at home then they will also be able to add other media such as video and audio evidence to their ePortfolios. They can collect this evidence and store it on OneDrive until they are able to access the full version of OneNote either on a school desktop machine or at home.
  • OneNote will sync between OneNote Online and the full version so that all changes and additions are updated, although some media may not be accessible when using the OneNote Online.


From: Office 365 for Education: http://www.schoolnet.org.za/PILP/office365/index.html

Visit the Office 365 in Education site to find out more.