A Guide to User Account Management on Office 365 for Education
Educational institutions have come a long way since analog classrooms. We all remember dusting chalkboard erasers, stuffing homework assignments into backpacks, and even sitting in the corner with the dunce cap. Now, the era of tablets, learning management systems, and social media has taken hold of this generation’s learning centers.
However, amidst all of the changes and iterations, the heartbeat of the education sector has remained constant—the student is still the focal point of all the services delivered by the institution. But in an environment where the student-teacher dynamic has evolved to integrate technology, how do you provide the student with the necessary tools and resources to learn?
Enter: Office 365 for Education
Over the last two decades, Microsoft has driven innovative solutions in educational institutions around the world. With Office 365 for Education, establishments have leveraged digital toolsets to drive impactful teaching and learning, increase curricula success, and track user growth.
Additionally, the Office 365 for Education platform has provided students, faculty, and IT administrators with various interfaces so users can be properly managed from registration to graduation. In this guide, we’ll expand on user account management within the Office 365 ecosystem and dive into how you can manage students throughout their academic tenure.
From the Student’s Perspective
Students can navigate to the Office 365 for Education page and register under their respective educational institution. The student is subsequently tracked through his or her email address to establish if the school qualifies for the education plan or has already subscribed to Office 365.
Once approved, the student will be granted access to his or her student portal.
Figure 1: Office 365 Student Portal
From the O365 Student Portal, the necessary applications are laid out in an easy-to-use interface. The student can manage his or her personal information by selecting either the Delve icon or the Me icon. However, IT can limit or restrict the editing of specific student information, as mandated by the institution.
From the Teacher’s Perspective
Office 365 for Education provides teachers with multiple options to manage their students. Here are the most popular user management features:
1. Teacher Dashboard
The Teacher Dashboard is a web-based tool that was designed to complement Office 365 and allow teachers to get the most out of their school's Office 365 and SharePoint environments. With the Teacher Dashboard, teachers can manage:
- Marking formats
- School settings
Figure 2: School settings tab
2. OneNote Class Notebook
The OneNote Class Notebook is designed to help teachers save time and become more efficient with their Class Notebooks. It also connects into all leading Learning Management and Student Information solutions, ensuring a seamless user account management experience.
Additionally, the add-in includes page and section distribution, quick review of student work, and assignment and grading integration with learning management systems. Teachers are also able to manage students directly from the add-in.
Figure 3. Adding or removing students.
With the Teacher Dashboard and the OneNote Class Notebook, teachers can have full control over their students. Since they are granted permissions to add students to classes, issue assignments, and manage the curriculum, teachers can directly manage their students without having to rely on IT.
From the IT Administrator’s Perspective
IT administrators at educational institutions are responsible for the overall deployment, management, and governance of all software applications consumed by faculty members, teachers, and students. This includes managing control via identity management.
Traditionally, a directory service such as Microsoft Active Directory was deployed on-premises to all users—including students—so they can access the school’s applications. However, when moving to the cloud, Microsoft provides the same facilities as on-premise versions through Azure Active Directory.
Azure Active Directory
Once Azure Active Directory is connected to Office 365, all users provisioned on-premises, synced through Azure AD Connect, or created directly in Azure Active Directory will be visible in Office 365. This provides organizations with a primary master record for all users accessing applications within the institution.
Through Azure Active Directory, IT administrators can easily mirror data from the Student Information System (SIS) into Office 365 and Azure Active Directory. In this way, IT admins can also automate provisioning of online classrooms, as well as teacher and student accounts.
Figure 4. Azure Active Directory
In the ever-changing landscape of educational institutions, Microsoft has helped drive both innovation and practicality by providing students, teachers, and IT administrators with the tools to manage all user accounts over the full life cycle of the student. With Office 365 for Education, teachers not only have the capacity to manage their students directly, they can also alleviate the burden of IT departments tracking students on a day-to-day basis.
The various levels of interaction within Office 365 for Education ensure that educational institutions can become more proficient at managing students—whether they’re in the process of enrolling, transferring, or graduating.
How Does Metalogix Fit into the Equation?
Metalogix is an industry leader in the Office 365 for Education ecosystem. If you’re tasked with managing user accounts on Office 365, let us help you to maximize your productivity with our easy-to-use products. Check out Essentials for Office 365 and be on your way to effective user management today!
Alistair Pugin is an Office Servers MVP based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has worked in various capacities in multiple verticals spanning between 50 to 50,000 users utilizing all aspects of pure Enterprise Information Management. His current position provides him with a mechanism to assist companies with designing their Microsoft productivity stack using “best of breed” proven methodologies to foster innovation and growth through an ECM framework, while incorporating a Knowledge Management strategy. With this vision, he strives to provide customers with a platform for Business Productivity Enrichment, establishing communities of practice through proper analysis and building a knowledge economy that is both quantifiable and achievable.