Speaking at UK Community Day – 23rd March

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I’m delighted to presenting at the next UK Community Day on the 23rd March.  Do you want to come and join us with a great set of speakers including Steve Smith, Neil Hodgkinson, Penny Coventry, Heath Groves and Brett Lonsdale?  If you do come and register now on the site and we hope to see you there as we take SharePoint to the Battle Royal – SharePoint vs SharePoint Online!

UK COmmunity Day

SharePoint Community Day

 

Come and join us at our SharePoint Community Day taking place on the 23rd March, where our range of speakers pitch SharePoint On-Premises against SharePoint Online and cover all the bits in between.

 

This exclusive day will de-mystify a lot of the mis-understanding between SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint Online and what options are available depending on what direction your business is heading.

 

The Community Days are delivered by speakers that are renowned industry experts and MVP’s.

 

 

When and Where?

 

UK Community Day ‘SharePoint On Prem Versus SharePoint Online

It’s a battle Royal’

 

23rd March 2017, Leicestershire

 

Free for you to attend!

 

First Look at Microsoft Classroom

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As Microsoft increase their competition against Google and release more features for Office 365 Education, we get to see another new feature that is currently in preview for US based customers.  Along with Office Forms, we now get Microsoft Classroom, a great example of how Software Integrator can build on top of the Office 365 platform but mainly Office 365 Groups.

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Microsoft Classroom integrated communication and collaboration through Office 365 Group but also their ever growing in popularity OneNote Class Notebook into a single web application available at http://classroom.microsoft.com.

With Google pushing hard with Google Classroom, the ability to assign work, communicate and collaborate for Microsoft customers as part of the free offering has become an increasing demand but of course, Microsoft have a great platform that offers so much more.

With OneNote, OneDrive, Office Online, Exchange, Office 365 Groups, the desktop and mobile apps available for the platform, educators are going to get a great experience that fits everyone in the classroom.  Bringing all of these in will allow teachers to select what they want to do with their class but with its integration with Microsoft School Data Sync (ability to have all your classes created for you as part of your MIS timetable) it is also easy for teacher to just get going with their class.

Whether it is file assignment and scoring, communication through email/Exchange or working collaboratively in OneNote Class Notebook a teacher can get straight into or even create their own classroom for extracurricular clubs, sports teams and other classes not on timetable.

The landing page of Microsoft Classroom looks a bit bare when you first log in but don’t worry, once you are assigning work, you’ll see everything on this page.

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As you create your classes you will see them down the left hand side in the Assignments navigation panel.  This will load a few different things onto your page and loos very similar to the design of Office 365 Groups.

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From here I can get quick links to a few different areas including the Groups Calendar, Conversations, Class Notebook and Files.  When I arrive onto a class landing page, I can see the Assignments set with details around those and give announcements for the class.

When I go to manage the class I can change the class name, give it a course number, start and end date and set a colour, logo (the chess piece) and top banner.

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Creating a new assignment is easy with the ability to assign this work to multiple classes at the same time.  I can set a title, end date, description before adding an attachment should I wish.

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You can pull in several types of attachments including links to a page within OneNote Class Notebook, upload a new file, select one from OneDrive and also any files stored in the Office 365 Group.  We also have a built in search engine (I’m assuming Bing) to link to those results for either a website or video (video sources including YouTube).

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When selecting Calendar, Conversations, Files it will open a new window to the Office 365 Group while Class Notebook will give you a link to the Notebook.

The version I have available is very different to the video below – take a look at the video and you’ll see some extra features and branding which will help take it to the next level.

Responses in Office Forms

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Yesterday I posted about my first experience of Office Forms and attached a form at the bottom for users to play with to answer my questions.  The form had three questions which were three different types of question types available which include Choice (used multiple choice), Text and Rating and I wanted to share the results so you could see what it looked like.  I spent the day watch the numbers grow and it also changes as more answers came through.  So thank you to the 32 who responded even though many of you may know nothing about the English Premier League and Aston Villa.

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The first question was multiple choice but I also left in an option for you to fill in your own.  People filled in the normal 4 answers but there were 5 other options added.  These 5 were added but not available to others to see.

The results first started as a pie chart but once we had 6 different types of answers it moved to being the bar chart.

Next to each question you can see a two way arrow in the top right.  When selecting this you get a table of answers.  Of course lots of these are anonymous but if the user is logged in, you can see who said this from their Azure AD display name.

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The second question was free text but did not have a requirement around it (where you needed to answer the question).  From the 21 people who did answer, on the home page (the first image of this post) you can see the last 3 responses but again when selecting the arrows you can see all answers.

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The final question was a rating (and thanks to those who rated Aston Villas season as a 2.68 our of 5 as I feel it was a lot worse than that).  By selecting the arrows you can see each users response.

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I mentioned yesterday that you could download a Excel spreadsheet of all the answers.  I still wish there was an option which asked if you would like to send it to your OneDrive for Business but just being able to get it in Excel is great.

In here we can see each of the users responses, time and who they were (with their User Principal Name as well as their Display Name).  The spreadsheet is already formatted with a table and easy to navigate.  The multiple choice question has each of their answers in the single cell while the others have their answers as well.

The spreadsheet is a lot better to see who answered what across the form.  When selecting the arrows in the browser you can’t easily navigate to see what the user gave across all their answer so this spreadsheet does help with that.  Just to take this data and add it to PowerBI now.

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First look at Office Forms for Office 365

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It caught me by surprise when Microsoft announced Office Forms in Office 365 Education as Microsoft have announced that only Education customers would get access to a preview.  With InfoPath forms now in extended support and no new solution from Microsoft, something like Office Forms was hoped to take your company forms to the next level.

Microsoft announced Office Forms would come to Office 365 Education customers first, so I jumped onto the my education test tenant and requested access.  Heard nothing back but found the URL from a recent blog post and decide to take a look and there we go, we have Office Forms.

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So there a few things to note from my first experience with this preview and these are mainly around the Forms you can build.

I’ve logged in with my organisation ID and the solution has its only app launcher style (not the Office 365 one).  At any time if I click on the Office logo/Forms in the top left, it takes me back to the landing page at the top.  Selecting the top three dots in the top right gives me chance to give Feedback, get help, navigate to my Office 365 Account Profile and sign out.

It’s very much has a bit of a Sway look and feel to the site with the rectangle box for each Form.

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When selecting New it very quickly takes you to a new form which I see this mainly as just a quizzing tool.  So for all you budding InfoPath specialist or SharePoint people expecting this to be the replacement, it not (well at least not at the moment).  It’s not asked me to create anything in SharePoint, asked for a relation with a Office 365 Group nor have I found anything that has changed in my Office 365 tenant so I believe this is a stand alone product.

Creating a Quiz

Having selected a new form, I can then start to create my quiz.  I can easily give it a name and a subtitle and then start to add my quiz questions.

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We have three types of questions we can ask which include Choice, Text and Rating.

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Choice really is what we expect with an easily to fill out question and options feature.  By default we have 2 answer options but can easily add more as well as an Other option allowing the user filling out the quiz to give their own answer.

We can also set allow multiple answers and set whether this question has to be answered (Answer Required).  We also have the ability to add a subtitle to the question should we want to give more context.

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A Text question allows you add a question and for the user to have free text for either a short or long length answer.

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With the Ratings question you can ask the user to give something either out of 5 or 10.  They can select their answer either as a number or a star.

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Sharing my Quiz

Once we have finished our quiz we don’t need to worry about saving as it has done this throughout the use of the webapp.  At the top, we can now Preview and Share the form.  We can preview it for both a computer view (your current view) or by selecting Mobile, see what it would look like in this state.

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You can share it as a URL, sending an email, it will provide you with a QR Tag or get a set of embed code.  You can also state at this point if users have to log in access the question and if they are allowed to answer the whole quiz multiple times.

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At the bottom of that fly out, you will see ‘More share settings’.  There are some great features here allowing you to apply a deadline and also for questions to be shuffled when loading allowing you to use this as a great classroom quiz.

Responses

The Responses tab gives you a great visual look at how people have answered with graphs, responses and the average score in a rating.

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There is also a Open in Excel which will download the quiz to your PC – I’m hoping this will be replaced with a Save to OneDrive option soon.

What to see my quiz, take a look at the bottom.

Disable Yammer License in Office 365 Education

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A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about changing licenses from the Office 365 Education license to the Office 365 Plus Education license.  This PowerShell script will help you to make these changes.

In the last week, further integration of Yammer and Office 365 has accord where we can now disable the Yammer license.

I’ve had many customers ask if there was a way we could just allow teachers and admin staff access to Yammer and we haven’t been able to do that until now.

Below are a set of script that will help you to either remove the Yammer license from all users (doesn’t matter what license they have been assigned), keep the current options they have enabled and then removes the yammer option.  The second script will just remove it from users who have a student license.

Remove Yammer license from all users

 

Remove Yammer from Student assigned accounts only

 

OneDrive is not the location for Business Data

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Over the past few months I’ve noticed more Office 365 solutions and Add-Ins that use OneDrive as the location to store data. This has always concerned me as I see OneDrive for Business a very different solution to others so I hope this brings some clarity to my thinking and hopefully start a discussion where either I will be put right or wrong.

Lets remember what OneDrive for Business is first. It’s a storage place for you to store data within your Office 365 tenant. But what is more important is how do we get this personal storage? OneDrive for Business is part of a SharePoint license. You can assigned a user a SharePoint Online license and they can access what they are given access to but they do have OneDrive straight away.

Now here is my main point. A users OneDrive is only a temporary location of storage during the life of an organisation. A users OneDrive is created when that user is licensed. When the license is removed, the OneDrive is deleted 30 days as part of an Office 365 retention policy meaning any data that is not backed up or achieved from that location is deleted and not recoverable.

Knowing this, do you want business critical data stored in a temporary location. If data is important and needs to be kept when this user leaves or the license is removed, you need to ensure that you have your business continuity.

So how should we use OneDrive?
• OneNote Notebooks – Your notes from meetings. If you need to share them for business use, store them in the right location such as CRM if they are customer based or the SharePoint team site.
• Expenses Forms (Before submitting)- While you fill out your form during the month but then an app is used to send the files to the right SharePoint team site or third party location

Where I feel you shouldn’t be using OneDrive
• Customer Note
• Customer opportunity information
• Customer proposals – this includes draft version. These should be stored in the right location
• Business critical data

If a member of staff leaves and you decide to archive their OneDrive to SharePoint Online – why? Why not make them store this information in there anyway.

It makes me wonder why we need more than 1TB of storage in OneDrive for Business – what do you need to store in there for it to be 1TB, or 2TB, 10TB and of course this only increases as we will soon get unlimited storage. Just because OneDrive for Business has more storage available to you than SharePoint Online, does not mean you should store your data there.

So please do let me know your thoughts, am I right, wrong or should I be thinking it in a different way?

Understanding More of the Free Office 365 Benefits to Students

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There are different scenarios around how the new Office 365 free offering of Office 365 Pro Plus and it is important to know this if you are a council/district, college or IT Manager for your school.

Microsoft offering Office 365 Pro Plus is great but does come with different configurations to your Office 365 tenant and knowing what they are is important to supporting your schools.

First you need to know which scenario you are in but it is important that you read each of these to fully understand what is going on.  The scenarios are based around how you currently use Office 365 and you domain name registered in Office 365.

  • First User to request license and no Office 365 tenant registered with your domain name
  • All other users request license and no Office 365 tenant registered with your domain name
  • First user to request license and domain is registered in Office 365
  • Domain is registered in Office 365 but users are not created

First User to Request License and no Office 365 Tenant created

As part of the process behind the sign up process of Office 365 for teachers and students it will check that your domain is eligible to have a license.  Microsoft have a checking process but that is currently unknown but if a user passes they can they get Office 365 Pro Plus.  What this does in the background as the user requesting the license it will create a full Office 365 Education tenant with your school domain name verified in it.

Office 365 licenses are added to that tenant however not all elements are added to the user.  The new Office 365 Education for Student license includes

License include in Office 365 Education for Student Added as part of Scenario
Yammer Yes (No effect as Yammer is not provisioned as part of Office 365 tenant creation process)
Office Online for Education Yes
SharePoint Plan 1 for EDU Yes
Exchange Online (Plan 1) No
Office 365 Pro Plus Yes
Lync Online (Plan 2) No

Users are given Office Online and SharePoint as this gives them OneDrive for Business allowing them to have 1TB of storage and will be available to them when they install Office 365 Pro Plus on their device.

Note: Because this tenant now has your school domain name added, you will not be able to add it to another tenant until it is removed.  There is a process to get admin access to this tenancy which I will post about soon.

Additional Users request and no Office 365 tenant registered

As a follow on from the above, the next users requesting eligibility will have a username created in the same Office 365 tenant and the same license assigned as above.

First User to Request License and Domain is Registered in Office 365 (UK and other EU countries, not sure about about worldwide)

In this scenario, you would have created your Office 365 tenant and registered your domain in there.  By default, when a user requests eligibility it will do a check to see if the domain is verified in Office 365 and then ask the user to log in.  If they haven’t got a username they will not be able to get Office 365 Pro Plus.  If they log in and the domain passes its eligibility tests, they will be given just the Office 365 Pro Plus part of the Office 365 Education for Student license and keep what ever they currently have.

What happens is that  Office 365 Education for Students and Office 365 Education for Faculty licenses are added to your tenant.  It adds 1 million student licenses and 500,000 faculty which you can then use to assign to all your users.

Domain is registered in Office 365 but users are not created but can be.

You might think I’ve covered this in the scenario above, however there is a setting which will allow students and teachers to create users in your tenant.  This is turned off by default but can be enabled if you want it to.

Set-MsolCompanySettings -AllowAdHocSubscriptions $true

If you have got hold of your tenant from the first time following the first two scenarios, you may want to turn this setting to false.

Set-MsolCompanySettings -AllowAdHocSubscriptions $false

You will need the Azure AD PowerShall Cmdlets to do this.

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Get Microsoft Office for Free: Students and Teachers

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So the title is correct – you can now get Microsoft Office for free if you are Student and Teacher.

Its known as friction free but how does it work and where do you go to get it?

The solution is part of Office 365 and even if your school doesn’t have it, you can still get Office for free by registering.

So to get it, if you are a student you need to go to office.com/getoffice365 and if you are a teacher go to office.com/teachers.

What do I get?

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Publish
  • One Drive for Business (1TB of Storage)
Its important to note that the school domain has some validation against your schools Microsoft licenses that checks your school is editable.

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How to get Office 365

Its important to know your school email address as you will need to know this as part of the subscription process.  Go to the correct URL above for student or teacher.

Click on Find out if you’re eligible

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Enter your school email address

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The website will now do a check to see if your school already has Office 365.  If it does it will ask you to log in.  If you don’t, it will ask you to create a username and password.

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Agree to the terms and conditions

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and then…..

You can download Office 365 Pro Plus….

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It says I’m not eligible!! 

Well its not all bad news but you need to get your school domain registered with Microsoft.  Once I have more information on this, I’ll post it here

How to get Office 365 ProPlus Benefit for teacher & FAQ

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In an post last night on the Microsoft in Education Blog, Anthony Salcito announced that Office 365 Pro Plus is now available to teachers as well as students.

Some time ago Student Advantage was released where schools could request from the Microsoft Licensing Reseller licenses for their students and get Office 365 Pro Plus as part of their current license agreement.  Now renamed to Office 365 ProPlus Benefit for Students, teachers and faculty staff can also request a licenses but how do we get these added to the tenant?

Office 365 ProPlus Benefit for Teachers

It’s a matter of requesting the licenses from your Microsoft Licenser Reseller in the same way as you did for Student Advantage.  So get on the phone, get your email off and request your licenses.

FAQ

Q. Is this one or two licenses?

A. These are two licenses, one for students and another for teachers.  Assign the right licenses to right stake holder.

Q. What should I get from my licensing reseller?

A. You will get an email per license type (one email for teacher licenses and another email for students)

Q. We only pay Microsoft Licenses for Full Time (FTE) staff.  Can I request more to cover all faculty and teachers?

A. Yes you can, all you need to do is request the number of licenses you want from your reseller.

Q. What do I do when I have received the licenses and added them to my Office 365 Tenant?

A. You must assign the licenses to the students and teachers that you want to have this functionality

Q. What is included in the license?

A.  The following are included in the full version of Office 365 Pro Plus Benefit for teachers and students

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • Lync
  • Publisher

Q. Do you have anything that would help me promote this around the school?

A. Take a look at the promotional material from the Microsoft UK Education team on their slideshare.

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Prevent Users from Creating Groups in Office 365

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As Microsoft are starting to role out Groups to all Office 365 tenants we might have the need to disable the function of creating them.Disable-Creation-of-Office-365-Groups

Groups are a great feature but you may not be ready for them, want to create training material before giving them to user or only allow certain users to create them.

The PowerShell script to do this is based on the Outlook Web Access policy for your organisation but you can also create other and assign them to users if you want.

set-OwaMailboxPolicy -GroupCreationEnabled $false -Identity OwaMailboxPolicy-Default

What is important here is that it does not remove Groups, it only prevent users from creating them.  Here are some screenshot of the experience to the user

When Groups are added to your Office 365 Tenant

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While the OWA Policy is being replicated or the user hasn’t freshed their browser

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When the change has been implemented

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