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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Project News

Wave Two Wrap Up

We’ve now completed Wave 2 of our Office 365 Engagement and Enablement project and we’re moving onto supporting the Faculties and students during Wave 3.

Wave 2 was focused on supporting Colleges, Experience Durham and the Students’ Union to get ready for welcoming students digitally. We also completed our support for a small number of PSS departments who had been paused due to the priority to support the July Open Days during Wave 1.

We have now started Wave 3 and our focus for this wave is to work with students to improve their skills on Office 365, as well as start to do some of the foundation work for the Faculties.

For students, this wave will include launching a “My Digital Skills” platform that will complement the “My Digital Durham” programme. Working closely with DCAD, Careers & Enterprise, Student Support & Wellbeing, Experience Durham and the Students’ Union, content will be developed across x 4 themes onto an accessible hub page.

For the Faculties, we will be using the next 12 weeks to do some fact finding and understand the needs the Faculties have. Of course, if there are any opportunities to put some of this work into practice quickly, we will do that too.

During this wave, it became apparent that we needed to add a sixth theme based on the work we did to support the Virtual Fresher's Fair; Communication Sites. Read a bit more about this theme, along with the other five, below.


As with the first wave, we saw some automation use cases in our second wave. The Academic Office led the way with some interesting use cases to help them manage some of their team processes, including an appeals process and a change of personal details process.

More information on these use cases and our other automation success stories can be found on the Learning Hub.


A theme that runs throughout everything we do so we’re keen to support teams to consider accessibility in every use case. Simple things like showing people how Stream automatically captions video content has made videos more accessible using tools from within the Microsoft 365 platform.

Our virtual open days made great use of the accessibility features baked into Microsoft 365 products. Each event that ran benefitted from live captions for those who needed or wanted to use them, and attendees could select from six pre-determined languages to translate these live captions, in real time throughout the event!

Communication Sites

Communication sites provide a new way for you to publish content to an internal audience. They allow you to quickly build an enaging and responsive site using out of the box webparts to build your page with no experience of web site creation required!

We will be delivering some content on this theme shortly, so keep your eyes peeled in the Durham Digital Champions team or in our Learning Hub for more information.

Meetings and events

With everyone making the switch to Teams in March, we didn’t have to look far for use cases on Teams and getting the most out of the platform.

One of the most interesting examples was from HR who wanted to run their leadership summit virtually, rather than cancel due to the Covid-19 situation. Teams Live Events enables users to broadcast video and other content to a large online audience.

Over 100 leaders from across the University joined the session on the day to hear speakers from inside and outside Durham University provide updates about Durham and the Higher Education sector.

The experience of running this event in Teams Live gave us a great head start in planning for our virtual open days, (all 300+ of them) which has contributed to the positive feedback the open day events have been getting this month. All areas of the University have come together in a massive collaborative effort to deliver the open days and Microsoft 365 has been at the heart of it all.

Teaching and Learning

While Wave One focused on Professional Support Service departments, we did still get a Teaching and Learning use case to shout about.

The DCAD team used Microsoft 365 as a platform for their own learning and development as Digital Champions using a ‘Class’ Team type with associated class workbooks and assignments and Microsoft Forms and Quizzes to test knowledge.

The impact of working in this way is that the Digital Champions in DCAD have opened up a totally new way of thinking about Teaching and Learning.

“All along the learning experience has been fun whilst also providing a platform and importantly confidence to explore ideas, and also not to be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. Great Stuff.” Ben - DCAD

Document Management and Collaboration

University Libraries and Collections have worked with their adoption lead to prepare themselves to make the transition to storing their team documents in the cloud.

Moving to Microsoft 365 isn’t something that can be done overnight but the Library and Collections Digital Champions have given themselves and their team a great starting point. By creating guidance that will inform and empower colleagues to feel confident about moving, storing, creating and sharing files they have laid the groundwork for successfully making the transition.

A top tip shared by the team is to offer some basic training on SharePoint and OneDrive to your team up front which will allow for a better understanding and adoption of OneDrive and SharePoint.

See the full details of this success story in our Learning Hub