PWCS Office 365 General Information and Frequently Asked Questions

What is Microsoft Office 365?
Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based communication and collaboration tool, hosted by Microsoft and managed by PWCS. Office 365 will provide the ability for PWCS students (grades 3-12), faculty and staff to email, store files and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time from school, work, or home, all within a secure online environment.

What is the value of Microsoft Office 365?
The instructional use of Microsoft Office 365 is a very productive instructional classroom tool. Files stored on Office 365 are always accessible and backed-up online in a safe and secure data environment. Office 365s’ intuitive commenting feature is ideal for instructor and student feedback. Also using Office 365 is a great way to prepare students for a society fully of technology. Each account provides users with five free licenses of Office 2013 that can be downloaded to personal computers.

Why is PWCS choosing to use Microsoft Office 365?
The use of Microsoft Office 365 correlates directly with the Virginia K-12 Technology Standards, specifically the standard that deals with Technology Communication Tools. PWCS students will have the opportunity to learn how to use Office 365 for individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities. Students can also use Office 365 to participate in communications among different cultures, and understand the need to place communication in the context of culture. And, lastly students can learn to assume different roles (e.g., leader/follower, orator/listener) on teams in various situations using technology to complete a wide variety of tasks when working in teams. View a detailed list of the Virginia Technology Standards.

How will students access PWCS Microsoft Office 365?
The classroom teacher, Librarian, or Instructional Technology Coach will assist students in activating their Microsoft Office 365 account and obtaining their password from a school computer. Once the student has an active account, there are a variety of ways to log in:

  1. The student can browse to https://office365.pwcs.edu or click the Office 365 link on Forest Park's homepage and log in using his or her PWCS Microsoft Office 365 username (email address) and password.
  2. Students can also go to https://login.microsoftonline.com and log in using his or her Office 365 username (email address) and password.

Will students be required to access Microsoft Office 365 at home?
The instructional use of PWCS Office 365 is optional, with decisions about Office 365 in the classroom often made at the school level by teachers. Since Office 365 is accessible from any device with access to the Internet, students do have the opportunity to log in to his or her PWCS Office 365 account from home to access their information or work on their documents, and collaborate on shared documents with other students and/or their teacher.

What if a student does not have a computer at home?
The use of Office 365 is part of the instructional content and students will have opportunities to work in their Office 365 account during the school day. PWCS Office 365 is safe and web based, which means it can be accessed from the public library or other places where computers are available.

What if another student deletes their work?
The owner is the only person who can delete a document. Once a document is deleted, no one can access it, including those with whom it was shared.

What if a student forgets his or her password?
The student can ask the Instructional Technology Coach, a Librarian, or a teacher for assistance in resetting his or her password.

How will Microsoft Office 365 reflect in their grade?
The use of Microsoft Office 365 will not in itself impact grades. Consult with your child’s teacher/s about individual class requirements.

Can students send e-mail to "outside accounts" with the Microsoft Office 365 account?
Yes, students will be able to send email to outside accounts.

Can students use a Microsoft Office 365 account they have already created?
No, students will be expected to use their PWCS Microsoft Office 365 account when working on school related projects, and assignments.

Can student access Office 365 on an iPad or other tablet?
Microsoft Office 365 documents may be edited using a mobile browser. Students can download apps from the iTunes store on their mobile devices.

What apps are available and how can a teacher use them?
PWCS Microsoft Office 365 will provide students with secure and easy online access to documents, spreadsheet, presentation and communication tools that can be accessed easily from home or school and enhance teacher and student collaboration and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Teachers can use Office 365 to facilitate group projects and use the track changes tool to see the level of participation of each student in a group. Teachers will be able to give feedback to students directly in documents shared with a teacher. Turning in assignments will be as easy as sharing the file in Office 365 with the teacher, or by emailing it to the teacher through the student’s PWCS Office 365 email account.

Can parents use it?
Only PWCS employees and PWCS students in grades 3-12 can access Office 365. However, parents can use the Office 2013 software that has been downloaded to the home computer.

Can Parents see what their student is doing on Microsoft Office 365?
No, there is not a Parent View account in PWCS Office 365. Parents are encouraged to explore Office 365 with their student by logging in together. Parents will be able to have their student log in to his or her PWCS Office 365 account at home and show you what they are currently working on in class, as well as items that have been “turned in” and commented on by the teacher.

What about Privacy?
PWCS has an agreement with Microsoft for access to a suite of educational services described as ‘Office 365.’ Microsoft is identified as a school official for purposes of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) with regard to these services, which means information shared within the core Microsoft 'Office 365' suite of services is protected by both PWCS and Microsoft as confidential under FERPA. Use of Microsoft services or products outside of this core 'Office 365’ suite may not be so protected by Microsoft. Additional information about Microsoft security and privacy may be found the Microsoft website.

Who has access to a student's account?
The Microsoft Terms of Service agreement with PWCS contractually ensures that our institution (students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data. Microsoft will only access content stored on Apps when an administrator from PWCS grants Microsoft explicit permission to do so. One example would be to investigate inappropriate use.

Does a student retain copyright of their creations?
The same copyright rules apply to content in Microsoft Office 365 that would apply to any other creation, provided the student is the sole owner.

What protection will PWCS provide so a student is not accessing inappropriate content?
PWCS filters and monitors Internet activity on our network in compliance with Virginia legal code §22.1-70.2. View acceptable Internet use policies for public and private schools and the Federal CIPA law, (Children's Internet Protection Act).

Does a student have to have a Microsoft Office 365 account?
The instructional use of Microsoft Office 365 is a very productive instructional classroom tool. Files stored on OneDrive are always accessible and backed-up online in a safe and secure data environment. Implementation of Office 365 in the PWCS classroom is a teacher decision, but parents do have the option to opt-out of the use of Office 365 for their student. If a parent/guardian feels it is not in the best interest of their student to use Office 365, they can print and complete the PWCS email Opt-Out form (PDF) and return to your school.