In this book, we are going to go in depth showing you how to best create assignments in Teams as well as offer you some best practice tips and ideas that we have gathered along the way. One thing to note is that the assignments tab is only available in class Teams. We love the fact that there are so many options when creating assignments in Teams. Another thing to note is that the assignments tab is available in the general channel only. Teachers have the option to create a new assignment, create one from an existing assignment or even create from a quiz. Creating an assignment is very simple as the Teams dashboard will walk you through exactly what you need. Here is a brief list of some of the choices and options that are included when you are creating an assignment: 

  • Title 
  • Category 
  • Instructions 
  • Additional resources  
  • Points 
  • Rubrics 
  • Specific students you are assigning to 
  • Due dates 

Who receives the assignment? 

One of the nice things about creating an assignment is that you can choose whether to assign to multiple classes or even individual students. You can even assign to a group of students. You also have the option as to whether students who join your class in the future should receive the assignment. 

Resources 

Being able to add additional instructions is also an advantage because you have full editing access to explain exactly what you desire for the assignment outcome. Adding resources to the assignment is where the magic happens! During this step, you can add a document from your personal OneDrive, your computer or even create a blank Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document to pass out to your students. By default, these documents will be set to where students can’t edit which means the document will be read-only.  However, we think allowing students to edit their own copy increases the engagement factor. Then, they can turn it in for a grade and receive timely feedback. You can attach up to five files for students to edit but the total number of attached resources is ten, whether editable or non-editable.  

Due Date  

When creating assignments, you have the option to schedule an assignment to post in the future, assign a due date and time or even choose a close date. When a close date is chosen, students will not be allowed to turn in assignments after the due date. 

Points, Rubrics and Grading 

Each assignment allows you to select an amount of points that the assignment is worth. An extremely nice feature is that you can add a rubric to each assignment as well. We are huge fans of rubric grading because it really allows you and the students to know exactly what specific criteria you are assessing and makes the expectations very clear. 

Where Assignment Notifications Post 

During the assignment creation process, you will have the option to choose which channel you would like the notifications for the assignment to post. By default, the notifications for the assignment will post to the General channel unless you specify otherwise.  Assignment notifications will not post to private channels. One thing to also note is that when you assign to multiple classes or to individual students, the notifications will only post in the General channel. 

Grading 

Grading assignments is super easy when you access the Grades tab in the General channel of your Team. 

Assignments will appear in rows and your student’s names will appear in a column. Assignments will also be listed with the most recent due date at the beginning. You can grade going across the columns or down the rows.  Assignments will appear with specific statuses 

  • Viewed 
  • Turned In 
  • Returned 
  • Blank 

When you are ready to begin grading, simply click the three dots next to the assignment status and you can then give specific feedback and enter points if you so desire. If the assignment is a OneNote page, you can actually write directly on the document with feedback and even insert editable stickers. If it is another type of document, you will need to select “edit document” and then you can choose either desktop app or the browser. To grade the next assignment, simply click the arrows to advance between assignments. When you are finished with each assignment, select “Return” and the student will be notified of your feedback and will receive their grade. 

There may be a time that you want to grade more than one student’s assignment at once. In order to do this, simply click on the Assignments tab and then you can enter feedback and points without opening the individual student work. This would be a great opportunity to simply give feedback to any students that have not turned their assignment in. If you check the checkbox to select all of the students and then click the speech bubble/text box for each student, you can then give feedback and return the work to all selected. 

Another nice feature of Grades is that grades and feedback can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet.  

Insights 

“Insights in Microsoft Teams uses at-a-glance data views to help you catch up on all your students’ Teams activity, from assignment turn-in to engagement in class conversations. With spotlights on important trends in student activity, your Insights dashboard can save you time in planning, giving feedback to students, and providing help where needed.” 

Educator’s guide to Insights in Microsoft Teams – Office Support 

We strongly recommend that you add the Insights app as a top tab integration in your class team. You can locate the Insights app by using the app integration feature in the We space of your team. 

*Insights is available only in class teams and it cannot be added to the staff or a PLC Team. 

With the Insights app, you will have access to data from across all of the channels within your class team. This makes tracking student’s activity and progress easier than ever. Here are a few of the different features available for your classes in Insights: 

  • Inactive students 
  • Active students per day 
  • Average time spent per day 
  • Meeting absence 
  • Missed assignments 

“Insights is a game-changer for how we teach and help our students. We can see the data behind how our students are engaging and use it to personalize learning to meet their needs. It’s especially critical now with many of our students learning from home, or going between home and the classroom. We can still gauge how they’re doing.” 

– Alberto and Mario Herraez, eTwinz and Global Educators (@eTwinzEDU)

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