What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a Microsoft subscription service that includes access to applications and online productivity services. The package is available to all staff and students at the University of Bath – users can log into Microsoft 365 with their University of Bath email address and password.
Most of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications can be used across multiple devices such as PC, Macs, phones, and tablets. Commonly used Microsoft 365 applications include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Other applications such as Teams, Sway, OneNote, and Forms can be used in a variety of ways for learning and teaching.
The Microsoft 365 package can supplement but should not substitute the University’s recommended digital platforms for learning and teaching:
- Moodle – Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
- Re:View – Recordings and lecture capture
- Zoom – Live Online Interactive Learning
- Inspera – Digital exams
- Mentimeter – Online polling
- Mahara – E-portfolios
How to use Microsoft 365 for learning and teaching
Many of the Microsoft 365 applications can be utilised in learning and teaching activities.
Below are examples of how staff can use Microsoft 365 in their teaching:
- Share a Form on Moodle with students to canvas their opinions on their learning journey, e.g. ‘What topic do you feel you would like to focus on for revision?’.
- Use Forms to assess prior knowledge before teaching sessions – set some questions beforehand and adjust your teaching plan accordingly.
- Staff can use OneNote for digital annotations during online teaching sessions instead of a physical whiteboard. Similarly, screen record digital annotations and upload the video to Re:View for students to watch asynchronously.
- OneNote Class Notebook can be used for collaboration, documenting evidence in the style of a portfolio, reflective writing activities, or distributing content for students to work on.
- Sway can be an alternative option to PowerPoint when presenting learning. For example, ask students to summarise a topic using a Sway and paste the link in a Moodle forum for other students to view.
- Built-in accessibility checkers in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other applications allow staff to review their content and make it more accessible before uploading it to Moodle.
How do students use it effectively?
Microsoft 365 can support students in their studies during their time at the University of Bath. Familiar programs such as Word (for word processing), Outlook (for emails) and Excel (for data and calculations) are supplemented by applications that enhance teamwork and productivity.
Below are examples of how students can use Microsoft 365 in their learning:
- For the duration of their studies, students can use OneDrive cloud storage associated with their University of Bath account as part of group work to collaborate on files such as PowerPoint presentations.
- Students can set up their own Teams to communicate and collaborate during group projects. This might include using channels for discussion, a OneNote notebook for sharing ideas, and Teams virtual meetings when everyone can’t be in the same physical space.
- OneNote can be used by students to take and organise their notes. They can add notes by typing or inking, include audio recordings, videos, photos, and PowerPoint slides.
- Speaker Coach in PowerPoint can help students prepare for presentations by evaluating their pacing, pitch, and use of filler words. It provides a report that includes statistics and suggestions for improvements.
- Microsoft Editor in Word and Designer in PowerPoint are intelligent assistants designed to assist with spelling, grammar, style, and layout when writing and creating.
- Students can take advantage of Microsoft’s built-in accessibility features such as Immersive Reader.
Pros & Cons
- Microsoft applications work across multiple devices such as desktops, mobiles, and tablets.
- Built-in accessibility features make it possible to create, review, and adapt documents for accessibility.
- Microsoft 365 is used in many workplaces. Incorporating its applications into students’ learning journeys will help develop their digital skills for the future.
- Many of the applications can be used for formative assessment purposes, such as Microsoft Forms and OneNote.
- Students may be familiar with the functionality of Microsoft 365 having used it in their learning at school and college, particularly during the pandemic.
- Microsoft 365 does not offer a robust system for anonymous marking, archiving and retention, or originality checking. As a result, the use of its applications for summative assessment is not recommended.
- Not all Microsoft 365 applications are currently supported at the University of Bath – please contact DDaT if you would like clarification about a particular application.
- Microsoft 365 applications are regularly updated. However, the updates are not scheduled in line with the academic year and a user may find the interface or functionality has changed unexpectedly.
- There can be differences in functionality depending on which application is being used. For example, features may differ between Windows and Mac operating systems. Likewise, some features may be available on a desktop client that aren’t there in a browser or phone app (and vice versa).