A Teacher’s Guide to using Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook Creator

Guest Post by Tamara Sullivan - Microsoft Expert Educator

I have been an avid user of Microsoft OneNote in my classroom for years. I first started using the program to design unit outlines and course materials to share with my colleagues. As the technology improved, then came the ability to be able to collaboratively work on the same notebook with multiple users.

Microsoft OneNote soon worked its way into my classroom as a shared class notebook with my students. They would take the content pages and then copy and paste them into their own personal OneNote. Of course, there were some issues. Students had the ability to work collaboratively with their peers, but they would sometimes forget that they were in a shared notebook with the rest of the class. Keeping a separate collaborative OneNote notebook wasn’t the answer, especially teaching multiple classes.

Then came along OneNote Class Notebook Creator application. An application that enables you to roll together multiple notebooks into one. Free to download from the SharePoint store, educators can now quickly set up collaborative notebooks and personalise the content with different levels of permissions.

The OneNote Class Notebook Creator application allows teachers to set up a read only section, a collaborative space and a private personal section for each student. This is perfect in the classroom. Teachers can see all of their students’ personal section, whilst the students only see their own section.

The benefits have been huge. From a teacher’s perspective, I can now update my content without having to rely on uploading new pages or sections to our Learning Management System or email students with updated content.

The private personal student section has dramatically changed how I work with my students in the classroom. I have access to my students’ work at all times. I can see in real time what they are doing in class ( and homework) and the flexibility to provide multimodal feedback. Students no longer have to `show’ me their device or email me their work. I can work collaboratively with my students anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

Recent updates to the OneNote Class Notebook Creator application include:

  • Adding additional teachers to the shared OneNote
  • Language Support
  • Searchable notebooks in Office 365
  • New notebook email notification

The OneNote for Teachers Site gives you an interactive guide for installing the OneNote Class Notebook Creator Application to your OneDrive for Business of SharePoint site.

Guest Post

Tamara Sullivan - Dean of eLearning at Ormiston College, Queensland

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Tamara Sullivan is the Dean of E-Learning at Ormiston College. She runs regular ICT Professional Development workshops for teaching staff. In addition to developing a broad base of digital pedagogy skills, these workshops are specifically targeted at enabling staff to plan, prepare and deliver 21st century teaching and learning through online collaboration. Tamara is also an advisory group member for ACARA, working with the Curriculum Managers on the General Capabilities.

Comments (22)

  1. Sarah says:

    When I try to add a teacher to share a notebook I don not have an option to do so. Is this due a version issue? Ie is my version out of date? I only have 3 options as you do in the image above. However according to FAQ (support.office.com/…/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-the-OneNote-Class-Notebook-Creator-9183c502-9374-42a7-8d59-3a17c377077d) there is a 4th option at the create a notebook stage. any ideas?  

  2. Sarah says:

    Just worked out that our version is out of date. Fixed now.

  3. Mabore Lekalakala says:

    Interesting Application, if you can, please take me through step by step way of downloading OneNote Class Notebook Creator from sharepoint

  4. mark says:

    i use one note class and like to give feedback to my pupils regularly with their document but i have had a issue where pupils some times delete my comments

    this has raised issues when i go back to check in future weeks and there is no feedback

    is there a way of changing permissions of the teacher feedback to read only and they dont have permissions to delete my comments ??

    any help would be good ? google doesnt seems to be able to help me and its not easy to find on the onenote site


  5. Phil says:

    I entirely agree with Mark – pupils modifying/deleting my comments is a big concern.

  6. Richard_Ryan says:

    Regarding locking teacher feedback as read only that is not currently possible in a shared area however a couple of the following ideas may work:

    1. Record a screencast of you writing the feedback – with added commentary could also increase the type of feedback the student receives.

    2. Take a copy of the students work and place it in the teacher only section therefore making it read only.

    Both scenarios involve some form of duplication so may not be ideal but I will send your feedback to the OneNote team.

  7. Zackdale says:

    Any way of deleting a classnotebook once it has been created? I made a test one but then shared it with students and want to create it and start again. Also can I create new tabs in the student section once I've shared it out?

  8. SP says:

    There needs to be a way to send a document to a specific folder in each students notebook.  for example if I want to send a lab activity with areas for response to questions to every student in my class it should not be necessary for either them or I to copy the file over and over.  I realize they can copy it there themselves, but this still wastes time.  it is silly not to have this feature when doctopus from google docs does.  If OneNote and Microsoft want to be competitive they need to ensure they have a broad array of features which work for many different scenarios.

    I realize OneNote has many other nice features as well, but this seems like it should be incredibly easy to implement.  Perhaps even a link to underlying worksheet only and then let the students write over the top that way there is not enormous duplication of the actual file, but only the feedback they give and receive individually is duplicated, but the worksheet itself is not actually copied into all their folders just a view of it.

  9. john says:

    We are rolling out onenote classroom notebooks. I teach several sections of the same course. Should I have one huge notebook for all sections of the same course or break it down by period?

    I am inclined to use one notebook but I would love some feedback!

  10. guy says:


    I am thinking of the same thing. Did you ever get any responses? What did you eventually decide to do?

  11. Laura says:

    I am trying to post content in the Content Library and students and it is supposed to be read-only. But when I post, students can still edit the content. Can you help figure out what I am doing wrong?

  12. Walt says:


    I teach 5 sections of geometry.  It is easier to track students and individual class needs by making different class notebooks.

  13. R A says:

    Onenote Class Notebook sounds great, but I am looking for some functionality within a Microsoft product, that provides something like a discussion board, where a participant posts something and all of the other participants get an email notification that a new item has been posted. (Unfortunately, my institutions uses the CANVAS learning management system, which only notifies people of replies to new postings if the person has already happened to have manually subscribe to receive notifications about that particular posting).

  14. N Youssef says:

    The OneNote Class Notebook has worked in my classroom coz I can share the notes I have with my students at any time. They can use it to cut and paste anything they find relevant. You can advise them to use it to make notes in preparation for exams or create formula sheets. Another idea is to get them working in pairs, but this might be difficult if you're teaching more than one class.

  15. MN says:

    I am with SP – need to be able to paste a document etc to every students "books" in one hit. If that can be done it would be a big plus.

  16. Sarah says:

    Is there anyway to move student sections of a class notebook to another class with all of the work in it?  My Eng. department loves OneNote classroom but would like to develop student portfolios that span their four years of high school, and it would be helpful for teachers to be able to see a student's writing from previous years.

    1. Hi Sarah, you may find some details about using OneNote in the classroom here: http://www.onenoteforteachers.com/ Let us know if you need some further assistance. Thanks!

  17. Livia Silla says:

    I share everything you said. I have used OneNote Notebook this year for first time and is a blessing. I am the only teacher in the school who has used this application and created notebooks for students. I believe it is a marvelous tool, unfortunately I don’t get good feedback from my supervisor, the chair of the department, who does not like technology and insists that my professional growth implementing OneNote Notebook for my students seems more an advertising to Microsoft than a professional growth. It is sad because this tool has been great for my students and technology grows every year and helps students learn better. I am going to continue using One Note Notebook next year and probably be criticized again, but I truly believe that students are first and they deserve this new technology. I have complained to my director but nothing has been done. She even took the class that I usually have for two years (we have a two-year professional growth) and is the one that I was using to measure the students’ success. I complained again but they are not giving it to me next year. This sounds incredible but it happens in real life. We as adults also get bullied and supervisors turned they heads to the other direction, and this is how we are suppose to tell students not to bully, to trust in a responsible grown up for help? I don’t really understand.

  18. Anton says:

    Dear Tamara,
    I am the only educator using my own 365 Business with Class Onenote. I am having trouble getting students to see or get into Class Onenote. Some students can get onto Class Onenote and others cannot. I do not have any support here so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Anton, Can you please tell me what school you are teaching at and if it is a public or private school. Can you also let me know what email address you are using? As this may impact on your students accessibility.

  19. Heather says:

    I have multiple class notebooks (one for each class period). I need to move a bunch of student’s notebook from one period to another because of recent schedule changes. How can I quickly and easily do this without losing any of their content.

    1. Hi Heather, if you have a look at our site here, it will give you a good overall guide to using OneNote as a teacher. Let us know if this doesn’t provide a solution. http://www.onenoteforteachers.com/

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