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Automate OneNote Class Notebook creation and roster changes with new APIs

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We are excited to announce the launch of the new OneNote Class Notebook API for Office 365! Since the launch of OneNote Class Notebooks last year, the only way to create Class Notebooks was through the OneNote Class Notebooks Office 365 app. Thanks to all the feedback we’ve received from teachers and IT admins, we made it possible to now create OneNote Class Notebooks programmatically as well. What this means is that IT admins, Microsoft Education Partners and others can automate the creation and updates of OneNote Class Notebooks across a school or district. This allows for large time savings and efficiency for teachers, as well as school IT staff.

Read the MSDN article on the OneNote Class Notebook API for in-depth instructions.

What does the API do?

Anyone familiar with the existing OneNote API for Office 365 will find themselves right at home with the OneNote Class Notebooks API for Office 365. Like the OneNote Class Notebooks Office 365 app, the only requirement for teachers is that they have an Office 365 faculty license and their OneDrive for Business is set up.

But how does this API help me, you ask? Suppose you are the IT admin of your school. Wouldn’t it be great if teachers came in on the first day of the new semester and found that a OneNote Class Notebook has been created for all of their classes and with all of their students? With the new OneNote Class Notebooks API, you can do just that! If you have the rosters of your teachers handy (perhaps you pulled it from your school’s SIS or it’s stored in an Excel/CSV file), all you need is a simple script that calls the OneNote Class Notebooks API to create OneNote Class Notebooks for every teacher:

As every teacher and IT admin will tell you, students change classes all the time during the first few weeks of every year or semester. With the new OneNote Class Notebooks API, moving a student from one Class Notebook to another is as simple as:

to remove the student from their old Class Notebook, followed by:

to add the student to their new Class Notebook.

And finally, no API is complete without the ability to retrieve existing data. An IT admin can retrieve the OneNote Class Notebooks for a particular teacher by calling:

Retrieving students and teachers for a particular OneNote Class Notebook is done in a similar fashion:

Partner opportunities

With these new APIs, we envision lots of new ideas and solutions built by our Microsoft Education Partners. We have heard a strong demand for new tools and solutions to help schools roll out OneNote Class Notebooks, and our partners have expressed a desire to help provide these. Head over to GitHub for sample code to get started.

Send us your feedback

We’d love to hear from you any suggestions or questions you might have. Simply drop us a line at onenoteedu@microsoft.com.

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8 comments
  1. Where does the OneNote Class Notebook get saved? Are we able to change the location the OneNote Class Notebook gets saved?

    • Exactly this. Creation of Notebooks in teachers OneDrives is by no means an optimal solution. The Notebooks are CLASS notebooks, not the teachers own private Notebook. They should logically be saved in a class context., e.g.. a class SharePoint site. OneDrive is too limited, it’s not designed for class collaboration.

      • Great feedback Andrew! The current implementation of Class Notebooks use OneNote as the collaborative tool. But, if I may paraphrase you, you’re looking for ways to allow teachers and students to also collaborate outside the class notebook. Class Notebooks are available as an LTI app, so one possibility is to use them in conjunction with an LMS (see http://www.onenote.com/lti) and take advantage of the features an LMS provides to a class such as a class calendar, email notifications, etc. Hope this helps 🙂

        • Actually, I think Andrew is saying that saving a resource that is shared between multiple staff and students in one person’s personal OneDrive is a bad idea. If that person leaves what happens to the notebook once the account is removed? Oddly, Sites used to support saving a class notebook in a team site but this is now a legacy app, despite it being the better approach.

          Apologies to Andrew if I have that wrong.

          • Gotcha. We are looking to bring back the site-based Class Notebooks. It will very likely be based around the new Office 365 Groups since those come with a group email, calendar, even a default OneNote notebook (*hint hint*) 🙂

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