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#6 - Collaborative document creation and editing

  1. People often collaborate on documents by sending to each other through email. This is a clunky, slow, inefficient approach, that frequently results in duplicate copies of files that then need to be manually merged back together.
  2. Online document collaboration, which may work with multiple people editing at the same time and being able to communicate with each other live, is far more efficient.
  3. This is now standard practice in most professions and industries, so we should endure that students are familiar with working in this way.
Solution overview

In some cases it makes sense for discussions to focus on, and take place within the context of, documents. This might be an already written document, to which comments are added. Or it might be a document in development, to which edits are made. Office 365 (the online version of Microsoft Office that is built into Microsoft Teams) provides all of these facilities, including the ability to start a discussion from inside the Office interface. The discussion may be text-chat based, or video and audio. Use the Microsoft Teams notifications system to instantly alert other team members, asking them questions or getting them to review edits. We can even run polls in the chat (using Polly).

  1. You can invite people to collaborate on an Office 365 document (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) on an ad hoc basis from within the software itself, but we find that it is easier to manage this process within Microsoft Teams.
  2. Refer to the recipe for "create a team-teaching online collaboration space" to learn more about using Teams.
  3. In a Teams channel, upload the file you want to collaborate on (or create a new one) in the Files tab - you can create subfolders to organise files better if required. You can also upload a file by writing a message in the Conversations tab, and using the upload button (and at the same time mention people you want to notify about the file, to invite them to collaborate).
  4. Open your new file for editing in Teams.
  5. Click on the Comments link to open the discussion thread in Teams (Windows/Mac versions). You can mention specific people, or the whole team, to notify them.