Using Microsoft Office 365

The summer of 2016 brought about a change for Northwest faculty and staff email. Last summer, all faculty and staff email accounts were moved from the Northwest Missouri State University exchange to the Microsoft exchange. Huh? That means the faculty and staff email accounts were moved from here on campus to the Microsoft cloud. With this change, all faculty and staff were given access to additional applications via Microsoft Office 365 for Education.

What is Microsoft Office 365 for Education? “Office 365 for Education is a collection of services that allows you to collaborate and share your schoolwork. It’s available for free to teachers who are currently working at an academic institution and to students who are currently attending an academic institution. The service includes Office Online (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote), unlimited OneDrive storage, Yammer, and SharePoint sites,” (Microsoft, 2017).

I already had Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. What is the difference? Northwest has previously provided access to Microsoft Office 2013 on provided computers and laptops. This summer, there will be a shift to Microsoft Office 2016. These products are the same, with a few exceptions. Anytime that Microsoft updates one of the products, the Office 365 products will automatically be updated. The 2016 products will have to be updated via a computer restart. The Office 365 documents can be easily shared and housed in the cloud for easy collaboration. There are additional services that are available via the Office 365 application that are not available with Office 2016. On the other hand, Office 365 cannot be accessed without an internet connection, and Office 2016 is downloaded on the machine.Office 365 graphic

How do I access Office 365? When you go to the Northwest homepage and login to your email account, in the upper left-hand corner of your screen, you will see a blue box with several small white boxes inside of it. Clicking on this blue box will give you access to a menu of all 365 services. When you create documents using 365, they will save to your OneDrive account (your cloud storage). Your OneDrive can be synched with your devices to allow for access to them on your devices without logging into Office 365 everytime.

What additional applications and services are available? We have a direct Office 365 integration with Northwest Online. This allows for easy embedding of documents by instructors, easy submission of files by students, collaboration opportunities for group projects, and additional assignment functionality. You also have access to OneDrive storage, Yammer, Sway, Planner, Forms, Class Notebook, your Outlook calendar, SharePoint, and many more.

What are each of these applications and services?

  • OneDrive for Business: “Securely store and share files from anywhere. OneDrive offers native desktop, browser and mobile experiences on your devices. Access and make changes that sync automatically in the cloud or sync local copies of files for offline viewing and editing on your PC or Mac. Confidently share your files so other people can access them seamlessly and securely,” (Microsoft, 2017).
  • Yammer: “Yammer is essentially a social network that’s entirely focused on your business. In order to join your business’s Yammer network, an applicant must have a working email address from your company’s domain,” (Chacos, 2012). “Communicate, share files, and work together in groups organized by project or topic…. Enjoy the familiar interface and file-sharing features you already use. Yammer is your social layer across Office, integrating with your favorite apps to help you stay productive,” (Microsoft, 2017).
  • Sway – “Sway is an Office 365 app that helps you and your colleagues express ideas using an interactive, web-based canvas. Sway’s design engine helps you quickly and easily produce professional, interactive, and visually appealing designs from images, text, documents, videos, maps, and more,” (Microsoft, 2017).
  • Planner – “You can then create a new plan, build a team, assign tasks, and update status—in a few easy steps. Each plan has its own board, where you can organize tasks into buckets. You can categorize tasks based on their status or on whom they’re assigned to. To update the status or change assignments, just drag and drop tasks between columns,” (Microsoft, 2017).
  • Forms – “Microsoft Forms is a new part of Office 365 Education that allows teachers and students to quickly and easily create custom quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, registrations and more. When you create a quiz or form, you can invite others to respond to it using any web browser, even on mobile devices. As results are submitted, you can use built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Form data, such as quiz results, can be easily exported to Excel for additional analysis or grading,” (Microsoft, 2017)
  • Class Notebook – “The OneNote Class Notebook is an app that helps you set up OneNote in your class. This app will create a class notebook, which includes three types of sub-notebooks: Student Notebooks — private notebooks that are shared between each teacher and their individual students,”(Microsoft, 2017).

We will also be offering sessions about using Office 365 and the Office 365 integration with Northwest Online September 18th at 3:30 and September 19th at 3:30. Click here to register for those sessions.


Chacos, B. (2012, August 7). What the Heck Is Yammer? Retrieved from PCWorld from IDG:

Microsoft. (2017). Frequently asked questions about Sway – Admin Help. Retrieved from Microsoft Office Support:

Microsoft. (2017). Getting Started with the OneNote Class Notebook: A Walkthrough for Teachers. Retrieved from Microsoft Office Support:

Microsoft. (2017). Office in Education. Retrieved from Microsoft Office 365:

Microsoft. (2017). OneDrive for Business. Retrieved from Microsoft Office 365:

Microsoft. (2017). Task Management Software. Retrieved from Microsoft Office 365:

Microsoft. (2017). What is Microsoft Forms? Retrieved from Microsoft Office Support:

Microsoft. (2017). Yammer Overview. Retrieved from Microsoft Office 365: