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Big Improvements for Office 365 Collaboration Between Students, Faculty and Staff

This Spring our students, faculty and staff will be able to more easily collaborate with one another using Office 365. Students are currently in a separate Office 365 environment that does not offer all of the features and functionality of the Office 365 environment for faculty and staff. Throughout Spring Quarter, ATUS will send a series of email announcements with more detailed information and a timeline.

Improvements for students will include:

  • The ability to sign into their Office 365 accounts from more desktop and mobile applications. For example, a student will be able to open Microsoft Word in a campus computer lab, save a file directly to their Office 365 OneDrive, and share that document with their instructor. The instructor can add comments to the document, and the student can then access that document and the comments using the free Word app on their smartphone!
  • Easier file sharing with OneDrive for Business – Faculty and staff can already share files from OneDrive with students, but it will be easier when students are in the same Office 365 environment, especially when there is a need to share something with a group that includes both faculty and students.
  • Office 365 Groups – Faculty and staff have created more than 200 Office 365 Groups where they can share files, notes and group email conversations. Students will be able to participate in these groups (private groups require approval to join) and students will also be able to create their own groups.
  • Access to Office 365 Class Notebooks: The Class Notebook already appears in Canvas, but students will not be able to login to the notebook until later this Spring. The Class Notebook allows faculty and students to collaborate using Microsoft OneNote.
  • Yammer – Students will be able to participate in Western’s social network
  • The ability to sign into TechSmith Relay without requesting an account. This tool for recording and sharing presentations currently requires students to request access using an eSign Webform.

The Office Training Center

The steady stream of new apps and features in Office 365 can be difficult to keep up with. Fortunately, Microsoft provides some walk-through introductions the first time you use new apps and whenever there is a major change to an application. The Office Training Center lets you browse introductory and how-two articles and videos that are organized by application, but they have also added scenario based training that provides examples of how Office 365 can help you and your team communicate and collaborate more efficiently. Take a few apps for a test drive and you will likely find something that makes your work easier and more productive. You will also be prepared when someone asks you to collaborate or communicate using Office 365 or Skype for Business.

App Layout of Office 365