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25 August 2021

Supporting student project work using Microsoft Lists

There is a lot of information to keep track of in the teaching and learning space. With a greater focus on remote and blended learning in recent times, the need for educators to use practical tools that can improve the online learning experience has increased. Microsoft Lists is one such tool that can help students, especially with collaborative project work. 

Dr Hamid Abdi, a senior lecturer at the Deakin School of Engineering, implemented Microsoft Lists in his Engineering Entrepreneurship unit to support students in developing teamwork and project management skills. 

The main collaborative assignment in this unit is developing a business plan, which students worked on in Microsoft Teams. Each student group had a designated private channel to discuss, schedule meetings, and share resources. Creating a specific channel provided a social space for students to share supplementary resources and ask questions. However, there was a need to help students structure their group work and track the progress of their group tasks better. 

Two tools from the Microsoft Office 365 suite, Microsoft Planner and Lists, were considered to help students manage their group assignments. Hamid eventually selected Microsoft Lists for its functionality to add to students’ private group channels in Microsoft Teams. 

Despite the limited uptake of this tool, Hamid drew some valuable lessons that helped him to implement it more effectively later in the academic year. First, he advises to ‘introduce the tool to the students at the very beginning of the trimester’, so students have the time to familiarise themselves with it. 

Secondly, he suggests that students use the tool to showcase their contributions to the group work, for example, by exporting the tasks to excel and submitting the spreadsheet as part of the assignment. 

Watch the video of Deakin’s Dr Isma Seetal in conversation with Hamid about his experience using Microsoft Teams and Lists. 

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