MCC students use Office 365 to access their college email accounts, but students and faculty alike can use the browser-based software service to store and share documents in the cloud.
Office 365 includes web versions of the Microsoft Office Suite. Users can access their Outlook accounts as well as create and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents from anywhere with a web browser (no need for the software on the computer you’re using). Because all MCC students, staff and faculty have access to Office 365, it can also be a good way to share documents when it’s impractical to email an attachment, or when you want to be able to collaborate on a document.
Keeping documents saved to this site is an example of using cloud storage. This means that the files here are saved on a cloud server that you access through the web, not on your personal hard drive. In this way, Office 365 is similar to Google’s Gmail and Drive products.
Here’s how to use Office 365 for email and for creating, editing and sharing files.
1) In any web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome), go to https://portal.microsoftonline.com (login.microsoftoffice.com also works). In the username field, enter your email address. This includes the domain (the part after @). For students, it looks like email@example.com. For faculty/staff, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not need to enter a password now; just press enter.
2) Another box will open. Type your MCC username and password. Click Sign In.
3) Now you’re in Office 365. Students can access their email by clicking on Outlook in the upper right corner. Everyone can get to cloud storage (formerly called SkyDrive) by clicking on OneDrive in the upper right.
4) In the OneDrive app, you can create documents. Click on + new document, which gives you the option to create a Word document, Excel workbook (spreadsheet), PowerPoint presentation, OneNote notebook, Excel survey or to upload a new file.
6) Once the file is in, mouse over the lock icon to open the sharing settings.
7) Click “Invite People” and then enter your collaborators’ email addresses.
The OneDrive app provides 7GB of free storage (with a 2GB file extension limit), is integrated with Windows 8/8.1 and can provide a nice backup of all your MCC-related documents and files, even if you use a different cloud storage solution in your personal, non-school-related computing.
The Office on Demand app gives you access to the Microsoft Office suite on the go, allowing you to work on documents regardless of the software settings of the computer you’re accessing it from.
All these services work well for sharing between MCC members because the accounts are synchronized and it’s all built on SharePoint, a framework that’s used for many MCC website functions. Instructors can ask for submissions or share files through OneDrive a little more easily because all MCC students have access (unlike Drive or Dropbox, which require accounts for some uses).