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Using OneNote beyond Taking Notes - Teacher's Edition
  • Post type:
  • Knowledge
  • Posted by:
  • Sarah Chao
  • Published on:
  • 8/31/2017
  • Suitable for:
  • Teachers
  • Level of difficulty:
  • Intermediate
  • Office tool:
  • OneNote; Class Notebook
Last modified: 9/25/2019 6:23 PM by Sarah Chao

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Before you start

Although you can access OneNote from Office 365, it is a good idea to also install the OneNote desktop application onto your personal computer/laptop, so that you can use the full functionalities​ of the software that will be discussed in this post. As part of the VSB district users, you can download the ​latest Office to your per​sonal devices for free​. Read thru this post first BEFORE attempting to create a Class Notebook, it'll save you some (or much) headache.​

Everyday note taking

As the name indicates,  OneNote is great for taking notes for your day-to-day staff meeting, class prepping and student programs planning. Similar to a physical notebook, you can create different sections and pages that you can relocate to other OneNote file for better organization of your notes.

Increase engagement and interactions

However, what's more with OneNote is that it allows greater opportunities and methods for teachers to include interactive assignments and digital resources in their lessons thru the application called Class Notebook in Office 365​. ​Going beyond the traditional lecture-style lesson format or paper-based presentations and assignments. 

Take a look at this step-by-step interaction video on how to set up a Class Notebook​ if you need the extra help. However, please note that the latest Class Notebook available to teachers has a few new featu​res ​that are not mentioned in this older video guide.​  

Meredith Townsend is a Digital Learning Specialist who encourages schools and teachers to include OneNote in their students' learning and work. She has put together a OneNote file that includes tips and templates​ to demonstrate how teachers can use OneNote with their students​. ​

The initial setup of the activities will require some effort and time, as you are not familiar with the OneNote. Be patient and set an example for your students that when faced with new technology or unfamiliar tools, you are also taking the time to learn it.​

Locating Your Class Notebooks

By default, when you create a Class Notebook, it is stored in your OneDrive inside an auto-created folder called "Class Notebooks", do not rename this folder. Plus, in order for Class Notebooks to function properly, minimize moving​ the class notebooks to another folder. If you move them out of the "Class Notebooks" folder incorrectly, you can no longer manage the student ac​cess or other features ​of the Class Notebook.

A couple of tips and things to pay attention

​​​#1 - Consider finish populating your Class Notebook first BEFORE adding students

I highly recommend that you finish populating relevant content in your Class Notebook first before adding students, because automatic emails are sent to the student as soon as you add their names, notifying them that you've shared the new Class Notebook with them.​ 

Also, Class Notebook allows you to create common pre-existing sections for each of your students to start. The following are the default ones that are available whenever you create a new Class Notebook. You may delete or edit the name of any default ones to your needs, or create new ones​.


However, there is no way to delete a section at this time once you've created it. This means, should you decide that the section is not necessary anymore, you would have to instruct your student to delete the section or you have to go into each of the student's folder to manually delete them. Be extra cautious and think about whether you need to add any new sections for your students. You can also consider renaming an pre-existing sections instead. 

You will also notice some Welcome Pages that provide you more guidelines, you can safely remove these and create ​your own welcome information for your students.

When the class content is ready, then ADD students to your Class Notebook. Never "Share" a link of your Class Notebook before you add them, a share link​ will not allow your students access to your lesson content. See m​ore on setting up your Class Notebook and student management.​


#2 - Content Library and Collaboration Space

By default, there are two section groups​ ("_Content Library" and "_Collaboration Space") are available when you create a new Class Notebook. It is important that you DO NOT RENAME these two sections as it can cause permission access issues. Leave them as is, but feel free to rename pages within these sections.​

#3 - Onboarding of students how to access shared Class Notebook

After you've added students to your Class Notebook, remind your students to access it via their "Shared with me" tab on the left sidebar of their OneDrive during classes or ​communication materials.

Remind them that they can copy a page from the Content Library into their own corresponding sections before completing the assignment.

#4 - Off boarding of students​ at the end of school year

When the school year is over, you might consider removing the students from the Class Notebook. Provide a time frame of how long they have to continue accessing their class files, so that they can consider exporting some of their work before the content get removed.​​​

#5 - Include technical instructions 

​Your students ​​​might be new to the OneNote tool as well, help them along by including the necessary technical instructions in the assignment. For example​, take a look at the ​"Pages for PD" section and under the "OneNote Tech Directions" page in Meredith's file

#6 ​- ​​​Privacy and security around Microsoft Forms

​​​As part of the privacy and security of Office 365 at VSB, please be extra cautious when using Microsoft Forms​ for your class activities, quizzes or program planning because data collected by​ this tool is still currently stored in the US. It is important that you DO NOT collect any personal information with Forms.

#7 - Copyrights of videos and audios

Videos often are automatically linked to the corresponding video sources. Check out how you can include a video link that plays directly in your Class Notebook.

Just as you would provide reference to sources you found when​ writing a report, please always provide credits or source of the original videos, recording or images that you include in your OneNote files. ​

Ready to create a Class Notebook​

If you have reached this end of the post, it means that you are ready to create a Class Notebook! Great work! If you prefer to have a more thorough understanding first, then​ you can also learn to manage your Class Notebook​ before creating your first Class Notebook.​


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