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Reviewing Non-Microsoft Files or Students' Assignments Without Internet
  • Post type:
  • Knowledge
  • Posted by:
  • Sarah Chao
  • Published on:
  • 12/16/2019
  • Suitable for:
  • Teachers
  • Level of difficulty:
  • Advanced
  • Office tool:
  • Teams; SharePoint
Last modified: 1/29/2021 11:07 AM by Blair Miller

​​​​​​Before You Start

With the integration of assignment functionalities in Teams Classroom, it makes assignment submission and organization of students' submitted work more manageable for teachers. While teachers should always be reviewing assignments and entering feedback via the Assignments tab of the Teams Classroom using the Teams app with internet connection, there might be unique scenarios where teachers are on the go and don't have access to internet (ex. Ferry rides to the island, long layovers for flights, etc.) or receive non-Microsoft assignment formats that don't open natively in the browser (ex. Design files, drafting files, video files, etc.). To be able to review non-Microsoft files or assignments without internet, teachers must first sync the Submitted Work of students onto their work computer while internet is still available. Submitted Work are the files that students have "turned in".

Very Important Considerations

While below instruction is a workaround solution, most teachers likely don't need to go and sync every Teams Classroom they have, because it takes up storage space on your devices and requires a very clear understanding of how sync works. Microsoft possibly could be making batch assignment download easier in the future.​

It is ASSUMED that:

You are very familiar with

AND the following criteria are also met:

  • No late turn-in is allowed on the assignment after due date*​
  • Sync is done after the assignment is due, with internet still being available
  • Reviewing​ occurs after the assignment due date - by review, it's defined as using the comment or markups
  • Comments/feedback are written up inside the submitted files​
  • For the assignment to be reviewed, you have not "return" the students' turned in via the Teams app previously
  • You can only edit the assignment files in their current location - DO NOT ADD, MOVE OR DELETE FILES

First sync the Submitted Work of students

The below sync steps only need to be done once, you don't have to do this for assignments​ thereafter.​

  1. ​Log into Office 365​ on your work computer while internet is available
  2. Search for your Teams Classroom in the search bar​ and filter by the Sites tab

  3. Click on the Site contents and Navigate to the "Student Work" document library 

  4. Once you are in the Submitted files folder, click Sync 

  5. Open up File Explorer (or Finder on a Mac) on your work computer and note the newly synced folder under the label "Board of Education SD 39 (Vancouver)". In my example, I've just synced the "SC Mock Classroom Team - Submitted Work" folder.

  6. If you are only looking to access non-Microsoft assignment files, that's all you need to do. The next couple of sections discussed accessing Submitted work while internet is not available. Skip to the information around what happens after you have return a students' assignment​.

If necessary, make the Submitted Work available for offline access 

For those who have File On-Demand turned on (like in my example), synced folders by default has a "cloud icon" (aka. only accessible when there is internet and NOT taking up storage space of your device). The next couple of steps make such files accessible even without internet.  

  1. ​​Right-click on the desired folder(s) with the cloud icon that you need for offline access - you can also do a ​search for the Assignment name to pick up only a specific folder before proceeding to the next step. 
  2. Select "Always keep on this device" - this WILL take up storage space on your device (ex. In my example, I am keeping all of Abby's assignments on my device)

  3. Once the cloud icon turns into a solid green  icon, it confirms that you will be able to access it without internet


Review the Submitted Work while offline 

As you review the assignments files in the folder on your device without internet:

  • Version Folders inside each assignment for each student indicate the number of time a student has turned in their work before the assignment due date close:
    • "Version 0" - means the student had only turned in the assignment once
    • Be sure you are reviewing the latest version of each assignment for each student
  • Pay attention to the Saved status of your files:
    • Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
      • All changes/edits made to the files are auto saved, as long as you have not manually turn off the feature of your desktop suite.

    • ​​Any other file formats (ex. Design files such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, PDF, etc.)
      • ​​​​Make sure you manually save the changes if the software program doesn't auto save and you've made edits to the file itself

 This is important to ensure that you don't lose any changes you make.


Saved changes will sync back once internet becomes available again

When your device is connected to the internet and with OneDrive actively running again, the edits you made will sync back to the online files. As you look at these files again via the Assignment tab of your Teams Classrooms, the files edits or in-document comments would be reflected as well. Depending if you have set up rubric or decide to include further feedback via Assignment in Teams Classroom, you could now continue to do so in Teams Classroom.

After you "Return" the students' work for an assignment, the synced files no longer update to the cloud

All changes are updated to the cloud as you are editing​ the synced copy on your device. HOWEVER, when you "Return" the students' work for an assignment after it has been reviewed/edited on your device, you can only make further edits to the assignment files in Teams Classroom via the Teams app. 


Moreover, while the synced files on your device for completed and returned assignments are no longer updating the copy in the cloud, it is important that you do​ not delete the files off your device while OneDrive is still running. 

Free up space by making completed assignment internet access only

If you need to free up storage space on your devices, it's best to make completed assignments accessible when internet is available only.

  1. Right-click on the desired folder(s) with solid green  icon, that you no longer need to access without internet
  2. Select "Free up space"

  3. Once the green check icon turns into the cloud iconit confirms that you will be able to access it only with internet.


Friendly reminder about this workaround​ again

​​​​As a reminder again, ​while this workaround works when this article was written, Microsoft is constantly making changes to the Teams app. The Student Work document library associated to a Teams Classroom has a lot of pre-configured permission and unique setting built into it, you need to be aware that things might change in the future. For most students' assignments which are in Microsoft format, teachers might find the reviewing/marking experience most streamline within the Teams app.​

*Late turn-in for assignment is possible, but it might become too confusing when while you are reviewing work offline, the student have submitted another version of their work. This in turns might result in teachers not marking the latest assignment possible or having to re-mark an assignment.​ 

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