OneNote Class Notebook updates include read-only parent or guardian access and Collaboration Space permissions

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Over the last year, our team has been working with and listening to educators to learn how they are using OneNote Class Notebooks. We are continuously impressed by the passion and creativity of teachers and students who are using our tools. A common theme we heard was how OneNote continues to save teachers time and enhance collaboration in the classroom. In our conversations, we learned that parents and guardians are also curious to learn more about OneNote to help engage with their students’ learning progress.

To address the top requests we heard from teachers, administrators and parents/guardians, we’re pleased to announce the release of four new features in OneNote Class Notebook:

Parent or guardian access to Class Notebook (read-only links)—Teachers now can quickly and easily generate read-only links to both the Content Library and individual student notebooks. A parent or guardian can click the link to open OneNote on the web and view their student’s notebook. The teacher can also easily remove these notebook links if desired. This new capability is located under the Manage Notebooks area of the Class Notebook. To try the new parent and guardian features, a school simply needs to have guest access enabled for their Office 365 site. Find additional details here.

Parent or guardian access APIs—We have created new partner APIs for third-party companies such as Parent Portals, Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS) to programmatically generate read-only links to the Content Library for specific classes and students. For example, a Parent Portal company might use this API to generate a read-only link to the Class Notebook for each student and then surface that link for the parent of the student. For third-party partners interested in this new integration, read more in this MSDN article.

Permissions in the Collaboration Space—Teachers can now sub-divide the Collaboration Space—based on student permissions that the teacher assigns for each section—into groups allowing project-based learning (PBL), among many other new scenarios. This new permission, located under the Manage Notebooks area of the Class Notebook, enables a teacher to create specific sections in the Collaboration Space assigned to specific students.

For example, say you have four groups of six students each. The teacher assigns each group of students to a specific section. Group 1 can work together in the Group 1 section, but cannot see that the Group 2Group 3 or Group 4 sections exist in the Collaboration Space. This is similar to how in Class Notebook students cannot see each other’s private notebooks.

Or, if you have four groups of six students each, then each group of students is assigned to a specific section. Group 1 can co-author in the Group 1 section but the teacher checks a read-only box so students can see the other groups, but cannot change anything in the Group 2Group 3 or Group 4 sections.

Delete student content when removing permissions—Often, a teacher will want to a remove a student from the notebook and delete their content and folder at the same time. Now, the Remove Student feature has a checkbox teachers can select to delete student content from the Class Notebook at the same time permissions are being removed.

We hope you enjoy using the newest features in OneNote Class Notebook, and as always, we look forward to your suggestions, feedback and comments on our UserVoice page.

—The OneNote team

  1. This is a great step forward! Looking forward to trying this out. Can we consider contribute permissions? This would enable parents to leave feedback and be active partners in learning.

    • We only allow read-only access for parents at this time. We are currently not considering read/write

  2. What about using these new features with class notebook created with Microsoft Classroom?

    • Absolutely! I’m tempted to abandon Microsoft Classroom if it means I can get these features.

      • Hi – we are working on making this possible in the near future, stay tuned

        • Thank you Mike. This will make many teachers happy.

        • I’m tuned in Mike. Given the May 2nd event with Teams coming to Edu, I assume Classroom features are off the table?

          That’s fine. However, I’d like to advocate for Teams using the same backend as Class Notebooks to prevent this feature imparity happening again. When I go to Class Notebook, I should be able to see and manage my Microsoft Teams Class Notebooks and my user-created Class Notebooks. One experience for ‘Notebooks’ rather than another half-baked solution in Teams.

    • I fourth this!

      Feature parity between Classroom and OneNote Class Notebooks is critical. Likewise, parity between the ‘manage notebook’ web interface and the Class Notebook Addon is critical. Teachers should be able to do all management ‘in-app’ rather than through various websites and different interfaces.

      • Yeah, as someone trying to encourage our teachers to use one note, it’s really complex when each interface works differently and has different features. We really need to see some unification between interfaces.

    • Totally agree with the other comments here. Why make life more difficult for those using Microsoft Classroom. Where is the sense in having different ways of accessing, setting up and managing OneNotes for use with students? This is totally illogical ….

    • Hi – we are working on making this possible in the near future, stay tuned

  3. This looks great Mike! My only concern is that I don’t yet see it enabled for Microsoft Classroom based Class Notebooks. Any thoughts on a timeline for it to be integrated in Classroom as well?

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