It’s now the second week of teaching at Queen’s University. Most live-teaching is done remotely via MS Teams (other online meeting software are available). Many lecturers and students are engaging in new digital spaces for the first time.

The biggest question for students using digital spaces for remote and/or online learning is, what digital tools are at our disposal?

Our blog post this week looks at Office 365 and working online as a student. At Queen’s, O365 is available for all staff and students to use on their teaching and learning journeys.

Getting started

Hopefully as a student, you have been introduced to QOL, O365 and other digital spaces. You can access O365 via Queen’s Online (QOL) in the Quick Links section (top left).

Queen's Online interface
Queen’s Online interface

Finding your way around new systems is the equivalent of finding your way around a new city and for many of our students, they are doing just that as well. Everything is is new. There’s a lot of information for students to digest and make sense of, both in physical and digital spaces.

It is fair to say that new and returning students will have a lot to learn about systems and processes. For example, how to navigate digital spaces. What information and functionality these digital spaces contain. And how to use applications both online and offline.

Office 365

At Queen’s University, staff and students have access to Office 365. We can work online, offline or mix it up. Whatever people are comfortable with.

Offline

Why work offline? There are a number of reasons. It may be you weren’t aware O365 was available. You may have Office 2016 (or other version) on your computer and you’ve never explored. That’s OK.

You might be happy with what you already have available as it meets your needs. Or in a way, connectivity (or lack of it) might dictate working offline.

Online

Why work online? Firstly, ease of use. Files can be created, saved and shared online with fellow staff/students and lecturers, etc. O365 offers the newest features and updates of the software and services.

Files and other work are accessible with an internet connection. One just need sign in to their QUB Office account and multiple devices can be signed in for a seamless workflow.

For students, this might mean capturing images, audio or video on mobile devices and adding it to OneDrive/OneNote for gathering ideas and completing projects.

The OneNote App can then be accessed on a desktop machine for further research and adding Internet resources. Files captured on mobile devices can be inserted into PowerPoints and other O365 Apps.

O365 allows access from multiple devices, as long as one is signed in to Office. Microsoft works across all platforms and devices.

One of the benefits for working online is integration to other O365 Apps. For example, when screen sharing files in MS Teams, files load quicker into Teams when uploaded from OneDrive. This is because file(s) are already in the office system.

It saves time and effort.

The Apps in Office 365 are the building blocks of your workflow and what you can achieve.

What is the objective?

From a learners viewpoint, students may want to access documents from anywhere and not worry about carrying pen drives/USBs.

Students need not worry about which version of their work is the most recent and what device it is on. Just load files into OneDrive and access them from anywhere. It is important to build a logical folder structure to hold files.

With that in mind, let’s look at O365 and OneDrive.

Disclaimer: The O365 demo is just one method of working. It’s not the only method. Many people may already have a workflow they are content with. Our aim is to demonstrate and offer up different ways of working so people have choices and can become more comfortable in these systems / spaces.

O365 demo for working online

As mentioned in the video, this is a demonstration. How you design your digital workflow is a personal choice. Some may prefer to work online 100% of the time. Others might want to work offline or a mix of the two methods.

Do consider OneDrive as an option either as a space to save your work or as space to backup your work.

Summary

We have demonstrated O365’s OneDrive as file storage and how to structure and navigate folders. There was a demo on creating, saving, renaming, moving and sharing files within OneDrive.

Finally, we covered how to download content to the desktop and upload from the desktop to OneDrive. We hope you find this useful.

Next time

In our next blog post, we want to look at OneNote to assist students with accessibility, note-taking and gathering information. This will look at how different media types can be used, saved and organised.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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