What is the right tool for the job? A lot of applications used on a day to day basis, have features that can simplify the way the app is used. It’s never as simple as hammer for a nail anymore.
Outlook or equivalent email programs help manage the email inbox. See Tip 1 and 2 below to help reduce the clutter in your Inbox.
Microsoft Teams is an application within Office 365 that all CDU staff have access to. It comes as either an application that can be installed on your computer (via CDU software center) or via the O365 web interface. It is designed to allow small groups of people to work together either as part of an existing team or from different areas working on the same project or interest. Chat, shared Files, Channels and an Activity stream helps you connect and work together. There are many apps that can be linked into Teams. See Tip 3, 4 and 5 below.
Microsoft Flow allows you to perform automation across many applications. Start with Templates that outline typical sets of actions. See Tip 6 below.
For an open tool, try Slack. This free and open tool is an alternative to Teams and has similar functions. Wendy uses Slack to participate in a Software User Group that shares development ideas and best practices while networking with user of the software across the world. See Tip 7 below.
Take a look at the activities under ‘Try’ and finally, share your thoughts and comments below.
Choose at least two of these activities to try.
- Outlook – Create a rule to move a group of emails into a folder (10 minutes)
- Teams –
- Introduction: Open Teams from the Office 365 area and explore this area. (10 minutes)
- Experienced: Use the heading function in your next post in Teams. (5 minutes)
- Other programs – Learn a new feature of an application or program you use regularly (15-25 mins)
- Australian National University (ANU) recently posted on sustainability of apps. Read this post and the list of questions to answer before choosing an app for teaching. (20 mins)
Outlook (Office 365)
Tip 1: Setup Rules
To help manage the Outlook inbox use Outlook rules. This can help reduce the clutter in the Inbox. Rules help to split the emails over a number of folders. Right click the inbox and create folders that represent groups of work. When you receive an email that belongs in one of those folders right click on it and select “Always Move …” and then select the relevant folder name. Make sure the “show number of un-read items” is selected in the folder properties the number of new email items are shown for that folder.
Tip 2: Use Quick Steps for common actions
Outlook Quick Steps is similar to rules, it performs an action on emails that are triggered by the user rather than automatically as per rules. For example; If you often receive an email which you move to a folder. Create a quick step that moves the selected email to a folder and mark it as read. Assign shortcut key combinations to make it even quicker! Andrew said he created a Quick Step to move a draft email from his personal draft folder to a shared mailbox draft folder. Now all he has to do is select the email and press Ctrl+Shift+1 (assigned shortcut key) and the email is moved without having to drag it and locate the destination without the danger of dropping it in the process.
Microsoft Teams (Office 365)
Tip 3: Use headings in posts
Each post has a heading function (“A”) which helps the topic stand out. Use the heading function when creating posts in Teams Channels. That way other people can see, at a glance, if it is something that requires more of their attention. Not using a heading is like sending an email without a subject line.
Tip 4: Create just a few channels to start with
Start off real slow when creating channels. Unused channels can end up being digital clutter. Create a few channels and see how the team progresses. The need for extra channels will become apparent from what is being posted.
There is no ability to merge or archive a channel, but you can delete it. Tidying up little used channels can be difficult if you don’t want to lose information contained within.
Tip 5: Use @ for notifications
a. Use the @mention feature to ensure messages are seen. Type @ before the name and then select the correct entry from the menu that appears. Notifications are sent to that person and they have a link to click to go directly into the point in the conversation where they were mentioned.
b. To get the attention of an entire team, try one of these:
- Post something in the Team’s general channel. The channel name appears bold for every team member.
- Type @team_name to message everyone on that team.
c. Type @channel_name to notify everyone who has clicked favourite on that channel.
Microsoft Flow (Office 365)
Tip 6: Use Templates
Templates are grouped into categories to make finding a specific template easy and the number of templates and applications they can access, is growing weekly.
For example: Want to have an attachment from an email automatically saved to OneDrive? Want to have a notification appear on your phone if you receive an email from your boss?
Once you have a created a couple of Flows from templates then move on to editing and tweaking.
Slack (Cloud based tool)
Tip 7: Type emojis to add to chat conversations
Slack has a great range of emojis to add to chat conversations. It can save time by typing :thumbs up: for agree or :clapping hand: to applaud the proposal and Slack will find the emoji for you. Remember to consider cultural differences and choose different skin colours if applicable.
- Add a comment below on an app that you use to help manage your work or personal to do list.
- Do the products mentioned above, help you work more efficiently?
- Comment below or write a short blog post about what concerns you about the sustainability of using apps for teaching and learning.
Reminder: Keep track of your Professional Development using this form Record of evidence form
Outlook Quick Steps
Thing 9 is written by Andrew King and Wendy Taleo