Received my 3rd MVP Award #Office365

Great news this weekend in my mailbox! I received my 3rd MVP award for ‘Office Servers and Services’. A lot of people always ask me what a MVP is and does. On Wikipedia their is a great article about this. This is the short version:

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award is given to “exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others.”[1] The awarded are people who “actively share their … technical expertise with the different technology communities related directly or indirectly to Microsoft”. An MVP is awarded for contributions over the previous year.

Read more here.

Great to serve the community for another year again!

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My first impression about Microsoft Teams for Education – with assignments function!

Last weekend Microsoft had launched the specific add-on for classrooms in Microsoft Teams. A few of my current customers are using Microsoft Classroom. So I was curious about the functionality in this new service. First of all; it’s integrated in Microsoft Teams, that’s already a plus. Students and teachers are loving Microsoft Teams (and me too), with all the integrated services and now also their assignments!

How does it work?

First of all, if you create a new team you get now an extra option, create a class:

createteamclass

Than you will get the option to add students and teachers to the class:

createteamclass2

And the new class is created. In the top level you will see two new items in Microsoft Teams, the Class Notebook and Assignments:

teamsstartpage

Under Assignments you can create a new assignment:

assign

You have several options as teacher:

Titel of the assignment
Instruction of the assignment
Due date and time for the assignment
Late turn in allowed (so later then the due date)
Points yes / no; if yes you can create your own scoring model (this is currently quite simple)
Attach materials and specify what the student has to turn in as assignment.

Then you can click on assignment and the assignment has published to the student. As a teacher you will have an overview witch assignments are schedules:

overviewinteam

As a teacher you have also an overview over all assignments in all teams. In the navigation left you see ‘Assignments’ if you click on that you will get that overview:

overviewassignemnts

Now from a student perspective. If you login to Teams as a student you will also have the overview of all assignments you have. If we go to the demo classroom you will find there the assignment we just created. The thing I am missing here, I don’t see any update in the conversation view of the team, that an assignment is created for the class. So I really have to go to assignments to see new assignments. I don’t see any notification in teams that I have a new assignments. I think there needs to be some work on that. Student will not click to see if there is something new, please make a notification message (like with chat) in the ‘Assignments’ on the left, so students can be notified on new assignments.

The student can add their work to the assignment, reference materials and turn the assignment in:

studentview

Once it’s turned in, the student can turn in it again.

Also the teacher don’t get any notification in Teams that the student has returned their assignment. If she/he will go to the assignment the review button will show the students that have turn in their homework/assignment:

review

They can check the student work, give feedback and give points!

Final thoughts

I think it’s a great step as Microsoft to create a service like this in Teams. There need to be some work on the notification side within teams for assignments. As a student I don’t want to look for new assignments. I don’t get a notification in Teams, I don’t see anything in my conversation view. I hope as a partner we get the API’s to extend this functionality for local customers. In the Netherlands we don’t always work with points, so can we add a own scoring model to the service?

 

New preview of Microsoft OneDrive sync client

Finally! If you are running the latest build of Windows Insider, you can now download the latest preview version of OneDrive sync client. Why?

2017-06-13_19-30-07

Finally we can see files or folders that are not synced with the cloud, native in Windows 10! If you install the new preview client, a new column (status) is added in the explorer of Windows. You can see the two icons in above screenshot. The green icon is that the files / folders are synced with my local laptop. The cloud icon is showing the files/folders that are not synced, but they are accessible like a local folder/file, like synced files/folders!

You can enable this via the settings of OneDrive:

od-settings.jpg

Have fun with it!

Big updates for Office365 this month

Microsoft released today some big update for Office365.

  1. Co-authoring in Excel; Users in the fast ring of Office365 will get this update today. With this update in Excel you can co-author directly in Excel with your co-workers.

Co-authoring is being shown in Excel. A dropdown in the top right explains that Alex is also working in the spreadsheet, and which cell he is in. A red box surrounds the cell Alex is in, with a red flag over it showing his name. Alex’s red indicator moves to another cell, and then a change which Alex made to the cell and a graph can be seen showing up a moment later.

 

2. Microsoft Teams is general available; finally also for Education is Microsoft Teams available in every O365 tenant.

3. Microsoft Bookings will rolling out worldwide; a great tool for managing appointments and schedules in Office365 will be available for customers outside of U.S. and Canada

4. OneNote inking in the browser! You can now annotate in OneNote Online!

The new Draw tab with inking tools is being shown in OneNote Online, with ink annotations added to various parts of an image in a biology notebook page.

5. Microsoft Visio integration with Excel and PowerPoint;

 

The new Data Visualizer templates and Slide Snippets pane are being shown in Visio. A Cross Functional Flowchart is shown being created from an existing Excel workbook. Then the Slide Snippets pane is shown being used to select multiple areas of the Visio flowchart to export as snippets on individual slides in PowerPoint.

 

You can create snippets from Visio to PowerPoint to make great presentations!

Screenshot of the Slide Snippents pane in Visio with two slide previews shown.

More news you can read here.

How to work together in Office 365 – Sites, Groups and Teams

Somewhere in Q2 2017 Microsoft Teams will come general available! So it’s time to create a blog about this great new functionality for education (and off course other verticals).
First, what is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a new functionality in Office 365 (currently not available in the EDU tenants); it’s a chat based workspace and much more than that. As a team of people, you can collaborate on a specific topic or your assignment for school. You can chat, video call, share documents, create tasks and much more. It’s an extension on the already release Office groups. I will explain the service more later in this blogpost.
But we have also sites, groups and now teams?
Yes, it’s for ‘normal’ users difficult to understand all the different tools Office 365 is currently offering for team collaboration. We started a long time ago with team sites, then Yammer, then Office Groups was announced and now again a new tool, Microsoft Teams. Depending on your needs you should choose the right service. Gladly Microsoft is more and more integrating the several services and you can scale up from one service to the other. Below a table which service you could use,from my opinion. I have marked them separately (when you have a team, you will have a group…, but I only mark the service). More + signs the functionality is better. And off course this will change over the time
MSTeams5
Microsoft Teams – a scenario
The great thing I love of this new service is the integration of a lot of Office365 services. As a student or teacher, I have one overview of all information regarding an assignment or classroom in one place! In this example I use Microsoft Teams together with an intern we have at our company. We collaborate with him via Microsoft Teams, a great scenario!
Conversations
The first thing after you created a new team, you see the conversation window. In this window, you can chat with your intern / or students in the group. But this is not only chat, you can see changes of documents or other things you do in your team. The great thing about this conversation view, is if a new teacher is involved, she or he, can see the history! One other thing you can do, is setup a direct videocall to your student or teacher (with integration of Skype for Business). Below a screenshot of the start screen of teams (sorry it’s with Dutch content)
MSTeams1

Every team can have several channels / subjects. If you create a new channel a ‘sub team’ is created, with their own conversation, files, etc. So you can order your information. The files are saved in a SharePoint site, and every channel has its own folder.

Files and OneNote
I love OneNote in Education. Within a Microsoft Team you have automatically a OneNote file for your team where you can share your notes. We share the plan for the intern in OneNote, so we can collaborate on his plan. Off course I connect this OneNote with my Full OneNote client on my laptop, so I have it directly available.
MSTeams2.png
Planner
One other great future for education is Planner. With this service you can great an interactive action list for your students. With boxes, you can sort your action items how you like and move tasks between the boxes.

Other integrations
The great thing about Teams is that you can integrate other services really easy. On the plus sign, you can add new services. Below some samples:

MSTeams4.png

Office documents: You can integrate Excel, PowerPoint, Word and OneNote in your team
Planner: you can integrate new or existing Planner in your team
SharePoint: you can integrate your intranet of other SharePoint Online sites
YouTube; you can integrate learning materials from YouTube
Power BI: if you use Power BI for reporting you can integrate
PDF: you can show PDF documents directly in your team
Stream; the new Office 365 video service
Website: you can integrate your websites or scheduling system

After creating a new service it will added to the top navigation of your team, below after adding a Planner service:
MSTeams4.png
If you Office365 tenant has this functionality enables please go to: https://teams.microsoft.com  to start with your team! EDU customers have to wait for the rollout in their tenant.

Nieuwe preview van OneDrive Sync is beschikbaar voor iedereen

Sinds vandaag is het mogelijk voor iedereen om de nieuwe preview OneDrive Sync client te downloaden. Klik hier om de nieuwe preview client te downloaden.

In het kort nog even de verbeteringen:

  • Syncen is een stuk betrouwbaarder 🙂
  • Je kan eindelijk in OneDrive For Business kiezen welke mappen gesynchroniseerd worden
  • De client ondersteund zowel de OneDrive als OneDrive For Business accounts
  • Je kan meerdere OneDrive for Business toevoegen aan je sync client
  • IT beheer kan de client beter beheren / beleid uitvoeren.

 

Ik werk er ondertussen al twee maanden mee en ik ben heel erg tevreden over de snelheid en betrouwbaarheid van deze nieuwe sync tool!

Beheren van Sway in Office365

 

Sway is een mooie tool om presentaties mee te maken (lees hier mijn blogpost over dit onderwerp). Een van de nadelen was dat Sway altijd aanstond voor gebruikers in Office365. Je had dus eigenlijk geen controle over wat gebruikers daarin deden. Gelukkig zijn (of worden binnenkort in je tenant) de volgende wijzigingen doorgevoerd:

1. Je kan nu Sway per groep of per person aanzetten. Hierdoor verdwijnt de tile in de applauncher voor gebruikers die niet Sway mogen gebruiken.

 sway
Door Sway (onderin) uit of aan te zetten, krijgen gebruikers geen of wel Sway. Je zet dus eigenlijk gewoon de licentie uit of aan, zoals met de andere diensten.
Mocht je problemen hebben dat mensen die geen licentie hebben, wel de tile zien, verwijs ik graag naar dit support artikel:
2. Je kan bepaalde diensten die je in Sway kan gebruiken uit- of aanzetten. Denk hierbij aan het integreren van YouTube, Twitter etc etc in je Sways. Dit kan je nu dus eigenlijk beheren.
3. Sway is een dienst, je kan nu op he adminpanel ook zien of de dienst beschikbaar is.

Nieuwe logging functionaliteiten binnen Office365

Deze maand wordt er weer een nieuwe functionaliteit aan Office365 toegevoegd. Je krijgt de mogelijkheid om activiteiten logging toe te voegen.

Hiermee is het mogelijk om op basis een gebruiker of bestand de activiteiten te bekijken binnen SharePoint Online, OneDrive voor Bedrijven, Exchange Online of de Azure AD. Hierdoor wordt het dus mogelijk om beter in te zien wat er in je omgeving gebeurd.

Deze activiteiten worden aangeboden door middel van een CSV bestand. In de onderstaande afbeelding staat een voorbeeld van een dergelijke export:

Office-365-activity-reportHiRes-1024x661

Als beheerder kan je diverse soorten events selecteren. Dit zijn er op dit moment zo’n ongeveer 150 en dit zal in de toekoms verder gaan groeien. Op deze pagina zijn de events te bekijken.

Meer informatie is hier te lezen.

 

Verbeteringen in het dashboard voor Office365 beheerders

Het is een tijdje stil geweest op dit blog. In april hebben wij een dochter gekregen en daardoor is de prioriteit van het bloggen behoorlijk afgenomen :).  Gelukkig zijn de afgelopen weken genoeg verbeteringen toegevoegd aan het Office365 platform om de komende tijd weer volop blogs te schrijven.

Notificatie’s van de status van je diensten
Een van de onderdelen als beheerder van Office365 die erg lastig was het verkrijgen van notificaties als er iets met je omgeving aan de hand was. Hiervoor moest je altijd inloggen in de O365 portal. Met de komst van de APPS voor Office365 (Windows Phone, IOS en Android) is het u ook mogelijk om push notificatie’s op je telefoon te krijgen dat er iets aan de hand is met je tenant. Zoals hieronder op een iPhone is weergegeven:

Improved-communications-and-tools-5

Integratie met eigen helpdesk system

Er is een publieke preview gekomen van de Office 365 Service Communications API. Hiermee is het mogelijk om vanuit andere systemen te koppelen, denk bijv. aan Topdesk, aan de Office365 service desk. Daarmee is het mogelijk om bijv. in je eigen service management systeem de status van je tenant zichtbaar te krijgen. Hieronder een voorbeeld hoe ze dat in een ander systeem gekoppeld hebben:

 

 

Performance tools en training voor Office 365

Heb je als onderwijsinstelling wel eens afgevraagd of je wel genoeg bandbreedte hebt voor de uitrol van Office 365? Microsoft heeft een aantal tools beschikbaar gesteld voor Office 365 waarmee dit berekend kan worden.

optimize-performance-1-1024x496

Zo zijn er specifieke tools voor Exchange, Lync en OneDrive. Daarnaast wordt er informatie en ervaringen gedeeld (best practices).

De tools en informatie zijn hier te vinden.

Daarnaast is er een online cursus beschikbaar gesteld over die onderwerp:

Want to make sure you get the best performance possible from Office 365? We want you to, too! Take this course, and learn how you can plan for great performance for a new deployment of Office 365. And find out how to troubleshoot performance issues that may arise after you are deployed.

Deze cursus is gratis hier te volgen.