Welcome to Day Twenty of Digital January. Today is the last day of the project. Boo hoo! I hope you've found it useful and enjoyable. For the last posting we're going to take a look at Office 365 Groups - a great way to form teams in the workplace or teams of students, and allow them to work together and share resources relating to projects.
If you've got a moment and you've enjoyed Digital January - please give us some feedback on our Padlet (and see Day Three for an introduction to Padlet). If you've visited Digital January over the last four weeks but haven't given feedback yet, please take a few seconds to let us know what you think!
What does it do?
Office 365 Groups are part of the Office 365 suite. They are designed to allow groups of people to work together on a range of activities. As well as acting as a standard distribution list for information, they allow for document sharing, shared OneNote notebooks, a shared calendar. Groups can connect to other useful tools e.g. Twitter (which we covered on Day 2) and Trello (which we haven't covered).
Microsoft update Groups on a regular basis, often adding new features, so it's a tool which grows with you.
When would you use it?
Just about any time you want to work in a group with others, and to share documents – here are a few ideas:
- Staff – working on a joint project or a research bid
- Students – creating a shared notebook for a module with notes from class, relevant related research etc.
- Staff/Students – working on a piece of assessed group work
Microsoft has recently introduced the concept of a Professional Learning Community in Groups, which is designed for teachers. These are broadly the same as a standard group, but access is set to 'private' by default (though this can be overridden if needed). Click here to see more about Professional Learning Communities in Groups
You need to be aware of the fact that, even if a group is set to private, all University of Dundee members can see that the group exists – so you should name things carefully. If the group is private, you can see what it is called, and who is in it, but no content. It is not possible to create 'hidden' groups.
For a discussion on using Office 365 Groups in Higher Education, here's a useful video (52 minutes). It's got an American feel to it but has some good information and advice;
How do you access it?
You have to access Office 365 Groups online, rather than via the Outlook app. If you have previously explored Sway on Digital January you’ll already have been in the right location to use Groups. Click here to go there, and remember you have to sign in with details in the format firstname.lastname@example.org not email@example.com
There's also a free Groups app available for smart devices (Android and Apple).
Where can you get help to use it?
As with other Microsoft tools, there is a have a range of different help pages covering Office 365 Groups; the following may be particularly useful:
There's a good video-based training programme from lynda.com here (90 minutes);
What Digital Literacy skills will Office 365 Groups help you to develop?
The University of Dundee has a Digital Literacies Framework which sets out what sort of digital skills you should have, whether you're a student or a staff member. It's unlikely you'll have all the skills contained in the Framework (yet!), but this project can help you get started in developing some new ones. To see the Framework click here and click on Digital Literacies Framework at Dundee University to download a copy.
Using a digital tool such as Office 365 Groups to collaborate and work in teams is an aspect of DIMENSION 1 - Understand and engage in Digital practices, DIMENSION 4 - Manage & communicate information and DIMENSION 5 - Collaborate and share digital content as outlined in the Framework.
COME BACK TOMORROW AND THROUGHOUT JANUARY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GOING DIGITAL