Tools for Learning Activities: OneNote

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The information in this article is correct at the time of writing, please check our TEL Blog for the latest information on Technology at the University of Reading.

OneNote is a Microsoft Office application that can be used for collaborative and individual work, with options for collaboration, document mark-up, and portfolio-style work.

OneNote has two versions, a generic version and a T&L focused version called Class Notebook. Class Notebook has some additional functionality, including discrete areas for individual student/instructor interactions.

Availability:

  • Free (university subscription)
  • Online (browser-based)
  • App (Desktop, Android, iOS)

Key features:

  • Collaborative working in real-time
  • Document mark-up
  • Freehand drawing tools
  • Integration with Teams
  • Maths notation
  • Record audio, insert video, add files
  • Tag work for completion
  • Autosaves progress
  • Work privately or collaboratively in discrete areas (Class Notebook only)
  • Resource areas for access to files without the ability to edit (Class Notebook only)
  • Instructor-only areas for discussion (Class Notebook only)

Benefits

  • Integrates with other Office products
  • Simple interface
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Saves automatically to the cloud
  • Collaborative worksheet-style sessions
  • Extremely customisable
  • Promotes transferable skills with Office products

Considerations and limitations

  • Annotations are anonymous – requires trust in students 
  • Requires set-up
  • Requires a reliable internet connection
  • To collaborate remotely in real-time, requires students to access OneNote and communicate in a separate call/meeting application
  • Smaller screens may find navigation & annotation difficult
  • Annotation works best with a pen/tablet

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