Microsoft Classroom (Preview) – New addition to Office 365 Education Subscription

What is Microsoft Classroom?

Microsoft Classroom is your homepage for managing all of your classes. Organize multiple class sections, create and grade assignments, collaborate with other teachers in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), and provide feedback to students.


What can be done with Microsoft Classroom?

Classes & Assignments in a snap

Microsoft Classroom has a OneNote Class Notebook built into every class, allowing teachers to create assignments with due dates, complete with Outlook calendar events and reminders. School Data Sync saves teachers time by automatically creating groups and enabling single sign on to apps in Office 365.

Engage students in new ways

Let your students learn in more ways . You can help them to express their inner creativity, and make learning more effective and engaging with new tools like Sway for interactive class materials or dynamic presentations. New Learning Tools help students improve their reading and writing skills across a broad range of unique student abilities and learning styles.

Better Collaboration

With OneNote Class Notebook, students can show their creativity and collaborate with handwritten notes, sketches, typing, photos, videos, voice, and links. Teachers can provide personalized individual feedback along the way. Students can collaborate on assignments and co-author documents in Office Online, Office desktop, or Office mobile. Microsoft Forms is now available in preview for teachers to easily and quickly create basic surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more.


Learn how to add Microsoft Classroom Preview in your Office 365 Education subscription here.

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Professional Learning Community groups in Office 365 Education

A professional learning community, shortly PLC, is a group of educators who meet regularly to share expertise and work collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students. Teachers around the world have started using Office 365 Groups to make collaboration within a PLC a lot simpler and more streamlined. PLC groups are typically formed around interest areas (e.g., 9th-grade math), grade levels (e.g., 10th-grade teachers) or across subjects (e.g., science teachers).

Here are some barriers to engagement with PLCs today that Office 365 Groups is addressing:

  • Teachers can be isolated, time is severely limited and collaboration is difficult.
  • Professional collaboration tools are disconnected and don’t always support meaningful, sustained collaboration.
  • A challenge for many PLCs is extending the work and relationships in the times and spaces between physically coming together.
  • It can be difficult for new teachers to ramp up.
    Information is often stored in personal spaces as opposed to one common place that can benefit others.
  • New members need to better understand the journey, story, exploration and history of a PLC, its activities and areas of inquiry.

The new Office 365 PLC groups include one place to collaborate effectively in a community of practice. Each group comes with a:

  • Inbox for group email communication, including Connector for connecting your group to Twitter and following topics or Twitter handles that interest your PLC group.
  • Calendar for scheduling group events.
  • Document library for storing and working on group files and folders.
  • OneNote notebook for taking project and meeting notes.
  • Planner for organizing and assigning tasks and getting updates on project progress.

You can know more about PLC in the Microsoft announcement blog.

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Office 365 Security Analytics Service – Finding and Fixing Risk is Now Easy!

Microsoft released the preview availability of a new security analytics service called the “Office 365 Secure Score”

What is Office 365 Security Score?

Office 365 Security Score is a security analytics tool which will help you to quickly evaluate your Office 365 security settings based on industry standard and give you score for your security adoption. This tool additionally allows you to improve your security score by doing some recommended action.

How the Secure Score is Calculated?

First, the total available points for your tenant is calculated by accounting the services which are active or enabled in your tenant. Next, your tenant score is calculated by checking all the security settings applied to those services. Once both the point is calculated you get your Secure Score.

There are totally 77 security actions are identified and implemented in the current preview.

How to Access this Tool?

You can head to to access this tool. You need to a global admin in order to use this tool.

More Features.

  • Target Score : It allows you to set your target score, and list out the necessary security changes that need to be applied to achieve that score.
  • Take Action  : Helping you figure out which actions to take to improve your score is the purpose of the Secure Score.
  • Compare Your Score : It allows you to compare your score with the O365 average score. The Office 365 Average Secure Score is calculated from every Office 365 customer’s Secure Score.
  • Score Analyser : It shows you the trend map of your score alone with the industry average. This data can be exported to PDF or CSV format.
  • Risk Assesment : It shows the top threats in the tenant and gives the particular configuration and behaviours.

You can see the Microsoft release announcement about this tool here.



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AzureAD Conditional Access for Office365 Exchange & SharePoint preview!!

Microsoft just announced the preview of Azure AD Conditional Access policies for Exchange and SharePoint Online. This option allows us to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) or block access based on network location. These policies will only work on Exchange and Sharepoint Online. This will be helpful to improve the security of Exchange and Sharepoint.

As part of the current preview release, the following rules are supported in Exchange and SharePoint Online:

  • Always require MFA
  • Require MFA when not at work
  • Block access when not at work.

Microsoft recommends enabling these polices alongside risk based Conditional Access policy available with Azure AD Identity Protection. The risk based policies give an advanced baseline of coverage, challenging users for MFA or blocking access as risk is detected. Then apply a per-application policy, like always requiring MFA, for services with additional security or compliance requirements.

External Links:
>Know more about conditional access
>See the Microsoft Announcement

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Advantage of Office 365 Groups over Traditional Distribution Groups

When you try to create a new group in Office 365 Admin Center you will be  provided with 4 options.
office 365 group
  • Distribution lists : Allows you to send email to all members of the list. You can even allow people outside your organization send email to a list.
  • Security groups : Allows you to control access to OneDrive and SharePoint and are used for Mobile Device Management for Office 365.
  • Mail-enabled security group : Security groups with mailing option.
  • Office 365 groups :  This is  a great way for teams to collaborate by giving them a group email and a shared workspace for conversations, files, and calendar events.
In the above list, there will be always some confusion about Office 365 Groups as it is the new addition. Now let us see the benefits of Office 365 groups over Distribution lists.
1. Every Office 365 Group has a shared mailbox with a searchable history of email conversations within the group, so new members have access to all of the content and context that predates their membership
  • With a Distribution Group, new members only see discussions starting from when they joined
2. By default, Office 365 Groups are ‘public,’ i.e., discoverable for users within your Office 365 tenant. That makes it easy for people in your organization to search for a topic name and/or description and join any related groups.
  • Distribution Groups are often searchable by name only
3. Office 365 Groups provide a convenient self-service option for an organization’s users to create new groups, as well as join or depart groups
  • Creating Distribution Groups, as well as adding and removing members, is usually done by the organization’s Exchange administrators on behalf of the users.
4. Group members also have access to a shared calendar, document library, OneNote notebook, etc. for collaboration needs beyond email
  • Distribution Groups are designed for collaborating via email. Separate sets of manual steps are required to set up and use addition collaboration tools such as a shared calendar or a OneNote notebook.

It’s a Time for Upgrading your Distribution Groups

 If you are impressed with Office 365 Groups over Distribution Groups then it’s a time to upgrade your Distribution Groups to new shiny Office 365 Groups.
You can do this in Exchange Admin Center as shown above or you can do this bulk using powershell. You can get more information about upgrade in this Microsoft article.


Currently, all the Distribution Groups can’t be upgraded to Office 365 groups. Check out the limitation as below.
  • Nesting – a Distribution Group which has another Distribution Group as one of its members
  • Moderation – messages sent to the Distribution Group must be approved by a moderator before they’re delivered to the members
  • Hidden groups in the Global Address List – Distribution Groups can be hidden, so that they don’t appear in the organization’s Global Address List.
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