Showcase Classroom FAQs – A quick solution to enhancing collaborative working

showcase-classroom-cropped-logoWe have seen thousands of educators, colleges and universities come through the Showcase Classroom, each at a different stage in their journey of digital transformation, and in every session we are asked a range of questions about our technology and how it can make a real impact in the classroom. These questions and discussions will form the basis of our Showcase Classroom blog series, where we will be sharing the insights, experiences, tips & tricks and more, from those who pass through the Showcase Classroom. We hope you find them useful!

Catch up on FAQ #1 - Demonstrating learning through Sway

Catch up on FAQ #2 - Using OneNote for engaging feedback

Frequently Asked Questions

A quick solution to enhancing collaborative working

In our previous posts, we assessed how the teaching and learning process can be enhanced. There was insight into more engaging forms of assessment through the audio feedback feature of OneNote, as well as the potential for using Sway as a medium for presentations. Collaboration is always a central topic in our Showcase Classroom and this last month has been no exception! Many educators are now appreciating the utilisation of Microsoft solutions for academic collaboration. So, what inspired this latest blog in the series? A higher education attendee challenged us with a concern:

“I’d like to understand the best way to share documents that are being worked on by multiple people. Sending versions by email or holding in a local shared area, causes issues with access and version control problems.”

For collaboration, being able to amend, discuss and share digital content is critical. It is too often that mutual documents get shared via back and forth emails as well as holding documents in a local shared area. Although these traditional methods ‘do the trick’ they have the potential to lead to confusion over which is the latest version, changes being accidentally overwritten, and other associated editing issues. With locally shared areas, remote access can become an issue, and places a limit of the ability of both educators and students to effectively collaborate.

When discussing how educators currently address this, many were surprised at the ease with which they could improve the management of communal documents and files. The simplicity of incorporating OneDrive and SharePoint becomes vital at this point. Both tools enable a ‘real time’ collaboration on a range of potential projects, including policy documents and other schemes of work. With everything happening live, this eliminates the worry of overlapping work, and it also means that there is only one version of the shared document thus minimising the need to download multiple versions of work to your device.

It goes without saying that these capabilities can improve the ease and innovation in collaborative student projects. A lot of our educators have also found further engagement with OneDrive and SharePoint after incorporating the ‘comments’ function for self, peer and teacher assessment. Although OneDrive and SharePoint are by no means the only ways to foster greater collaboration, it is certainly an achievable first step. When you begin to bring other tools into the mix, the possibilities are exciting to say the least!

The Microsoft Educator Community is home to a huge range of teacher and student resources including lesson plans, tutorials, CPD courses, badges and much more. If you'd like to know more about what is discussed above, we'd recommend the following resources from the MEC:

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