Corinne Hoisington is the Professor of Information Systems Technology at Central Virginia Community College.
Group projects can be a great way to add professionalism to your class, help students connect with each other, and provide real-life experience working with distributed teams. As educators, we have all dealt with student groups that were not organized in setting tasks, a timeline, or following through on their assignments. Microsoft Planner will help groups organize their project and provide more insight into modern project management.
Microsoft Planner is a project management application that is available on the Microsoft 365 platform. The application is available to premium, educational, and business subscribers to Microsoft 365. Microsoft Planner provides a visual tool to track and manage projects among students and business teams.
Planner is available on the web as well as as a mobile application. It serves as a hub for team members to create business plans and organize tasks, so that others can see and access them. Figure 1 shows that each member of the group can be assigned a task, and they can share their completion with the group.
Log in to Office.com, click the Planner app, and you can get started with Microsoft Planner.
Step 1: Create a new plan and group
Choose “New Plan” to start a new plan.
Choose a name for your plan, e.g. “Group Project.”
You can choose to create a group or add your plan into an existing one (see the next set).
You can choose who can see your plan. Public plans are available to all employees of your organization. Private plans are only visible to those who have been added to the plan. Only public plans will be found when people search for plans within your organization.
To add a description, select “Options”.
Select “Create a plan.”
Step 2: Add Tasks To A Plan
Enter a task name into the box under “To do” then click “Add task.”
Each member of the team can mark their progress once the task has been completed.
You can add tasks to your plan and then sort them into buckets. This will help you break down the tasks into phases, types, work, or departments. A bucket is a grouping of categorized tasks.
Step 3: Visualize Your Plan
To visualize your plan, click the “Charts” and “Schedule” tabs. Planner automatically converts task statuses into pie charts and bar charts, with no setup required. Planner is part Microsoft 365, so it’s as secure as any other apps in the suite. Microsoft 365 connects Planner with Teams (add a Tab), To Do, SharePoint and Power Automate for efficient task management.
The following video will show you how to use MS Planner. Share it with your students.