Office365 for Education at St Cyril’s
Dr Daniel Fanous shares St Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College’s experience transitioning to Office365 for Education.
In June 2017 we looked into Microsoft’s entry into the education sphere, otherwise known as Office365 for Education. The transition has been quite seamless, and the initial results are extremely promising. Office365 is essentially a way of managing your organisation, with the added benefits of integrating that particular organisation into Microsoft’s ever evolving tools. Unsurprisingly, then, Office365 pivots around the users. In our case this involved transitioning our Faculty/Staff and Students to Office365 user accounts. Each user was allocated Office365 account (which was linked to our domain—stcyrils.edu.au), which gave them access to a stcyrils.edu.au (hosted on Office365) email account, as well as the Office365 online software suite, including Excel/Word/Powerpoint online etc.
Range of Tools
Once the users were transitioned to Office365 accounts, we found the entire suite of various organisational and educational tools at our disposal. SharePoint for instance, allows organisational data (meeting minutes, document sharing) to be effectively stored on the cloud, as well as allowing staff access with appropriate versioning and storage; whereas Microsoft Stream allows the hosting of data-heavy course materials. The beauty of Office365 is that it not only allows the storage and organisation of such data; it allows you to easily allocate permissions and groupings to access that data. As an example, once students are allocated to a particular study unit (which takes less than a minute for a class of 40), they (and only they) have access to materials/files/web content for that particular group. That “grouping” can be seen and applied to any software that is linked to Office365 suite.
In sum, the beginnings of our experience with Office365 Education is very promising. Our next step is to integrate our Learning Management System (Moodle) with Office365. Once this is done, there will be single-sign-in for all our software suite. But more importantly, once a student is admitted and enrolled, they will automatically have a “single” stcyrils.edu.au/Office365 account created which will populate email accounts, Moodle, email lists, students groups, access to class materials, and much more. Exciting times!