Microsoft Office 365 and Teams

23 July 2020

Microsoft Office 365 Teams - Pilot phase update

Waterloo has adopted Microsoft Office 365 (O365) as the campus email platform. It comes with a suite of applications, including Teams, that can be accessed on the O365 portal or by installing apps. Availability may differ for employees and students and some applications are fully functional only once the person moves to O365 email, that is, email in the cloud.

Can I use O365 and Teams for teaching?

O365 and Teams are not yet supported as teaching and learning platforms. Further experience and support knowledge are needed to ensure integrity and functionality for courses. However, tools were successfully used in pilot courses in Spring 2020. Scenarios that work well now include courses not requiring rosters, have class sizes that can be managed manually, or do not rely on O365 tools for critical course assessment activities.

Work continues to resolve issues for other cases. If you are aware of the limitations and have back-up plans if situations arise that could impact the course, O365 offers new options. Information below shows the status of popular tools and sample scenarios.

Everyone in the campus community has an account on O365. Before using O365 in a course, instructors should become comfortable with the features they want to incorporate and move to O365 email for the best experience.

Status and tips for O365 for teaching

 

Status

Impacts

Course Management

Teams roster tools

No auto-synch roster yet. If a class list is needed (see Scenarios), “invite” students into the Teams area; this is manual, as are drops and adds.

A tool is being built to automate synched rosters, potentially mid-to-late August 2020. If your Team will require the auto-synch roster functionality, please do not submit a request for the Team until further communication has been shared.

  • Adding and removing students in Teams is manual.
  • Students could miss messages or other activities if not added to the course Teams.
  • Any sub-groups (e.g., for projects) would need to be monitored for student drops/add new students.

Instructors and O365 email

Email in O365 may be required for some O365 functionality. Instructors can request to be migrated.

  • to work well, Bookings functionality (see below) needs all participants (instructor and students) to be in O365 email.

Class type Team

Not deployed yet. Instructors can assign work, control who can post; sets up privacy settings for assignments and grades, etc.

  • Will be in limited pilots in Fall 2020 to learn more of benefits, issues, consequences. No date for deployment.

Integration with LEARN

Limited function, allows creation of a Teams meeting from areas in LEARN.

D2L plans to continue to develop the integration.

  • Does not create a Teams group.
  • Access to meetings created in LEARN is not restricted to the LEARN class list; others could access if they have the link.

Tools for courses

Teams

Meet with audio and video, record meetings, chat, share documents, create meeting notes, and more.

  • Note the roster limitations above.
  • Note that Class type Teams are not deployed at this time.

Stream

Streaming and recording meetings and presentations in Teams, upload of video content. Student recordings (of work and meetings) also enabled.

 

Bookings

Facilitates individual bookings (e.g., Office Hours).

  • Works fully only for mailboxes migrated to O365 email.

Sample scenarios that work now for teaching

Scenario 1: Group collaborative editing assignment

Students use their own OneDrive to collaborate on documents shared with group members. Course Teams and Teams roster are not required.

  • A group member creates a document in their personal OneDrive and shares it with their group members and the instructor or TA.
  • Group members edit asynchronously or synchronously (e.g., using shared Word file).
  • Group submits final document to an official course location (e.g., a LEARN group Dropbox).

Limitations/Risks:

  • If a student drops out, ensure the document is “unshared” to them, or if they are the owner, ensure the other group members retain a copy.
  • Ensure the final version of the assignment is retained in a permanent location where it cannot be further altered (e.g., LEARN Dropbox), in case of grade appeals.
  • OneDrive “shares” typically arrive as an email. The instructor or TA will need to manage the emails (e.g., in a separate email folder).

Scenario 2: Writing assignment with instructor feedback iterations

Instructors access a document shared be the student and uses annotation to provide feedback. Course Teams and Teams roster are not required.

  • Student shares their personal OneDrive document with the instructor or TA to edit with feedback.
  • Student submits the final version to an official course location (e.g., to a LEARN Dropbox).

Limitations/Risks:

  • Ensure the final version of the assignment is retained in a permanent location where it cannot be further altered (e.g., LEARN Dropbox), in case of grade appeals.
  • OneDrive “shares” typically arrive as an email. The instructor or TA will need to manage the emails (e.g., in a separate email folder).

How to get started using O365 in courses?

Submit a request for Teams, following the advice on the landing page regarding rosters, as the advice may change. Use the course number and name (e.g., CS100 Intro to Computing) to help students find the Teams location.

How can I learn more?

Information specific to teaching and learning will be added to relevant websites, such as the Keep Learning site and LEARN Help.