OneNote Class Notebook API updated, adds Teacher Only spaces, Collaboration Space, and more

While Microsoft has arguably pitched OneNote as a catch-all cross-platform quick organization tool, just under the consumer surface functionality of the app is a robust collaborative ecosystem ideally suited for business and educational purposes. Thanks in part to a recent preview launch of the new OneNote Class Notebook APIs, the OneNote team has discovered a resounding interest from IT administrators and Microsoft Education Partners in the automotive processes built into OneNote.

Responding to feedback, the OneNote team is announcing a new web tool for IT administrators and Education Partners to test out the APIs.

To make it easy for IT admins and Partners to try out these new APIs, we created a simple tool for anyone to use. For example, IT admins can use the tool to easily add a Teacher Only section group to the Class Notebooks of the teachers who ask for this functionality.

OneNote Teacher's only space
OneNote Teacher's only space

Alongside the web portal announcement, the OneNote team is also highlighting updates to Class Notebook APIs that include a laundry list of features.

  • New Teacher Only section group—The Teacher Only section group is a private space where only the teacher can see what is inside—students cannot see anything. This has been a top request from teachers and schools. This API allows Teacher Only section groups to be provisioned by the new Class Notebook API, or you can also add a Teacher Only section group to existing Class Notebooks.
  • Collaboration Space Lockdown—A top request we had is the ability for a teacher to make the Collaboration Space read-only (or lockdown) to disallow any students from editing. This API allows the lockdown of the Collaboration Space as read-only but also allows the ability to easily unlock it.
  • Permissioned groups within the Collaboration Space—This is the ability for a teacher to create specific sections in the Collaboration Space that are assigned to specific students. This allows small groups of students to work together, but other students can’t change what other groups have done. It also allows sections to be completely hidden from other groups if that is desired.
  • Custom permissions for feedback and grading workflow—One of the most common requests we heard is to allow the lockdown of reviewed or graded pages, so students cannot change the content after the teacher has reviewed the work. Our new Permissions API allows for this type of scenario. Cal Armstrong from Appleby College has done some great examples of this to automate this workflow.
  • Content APIs—Many schools are looking for the ability to mass-deploy curriculum into the content library of Class Notebooks. With this new Content API, OneNote sections can easily be provisioned along with new Class Notebooks. The first iteration of the API allows for .ONE section files to be inserted into the Content Library, and in the near future, the API will also allow using public notebooks that live on In addition, this new Content API allows an IT admin or Partner to customize the Welcome section, default Content Library section or the default Collaboration Space section.
  • Delete Class Notebook API—We have added the ability for IT admins and Partners to delete Class Notebooks through our API.
  • Option to not send email when creating a Class Notebook—When using our new Create Class Notebook API, you can now specify whether or not to send the Welcome Email message. This helps cut down the spam mail when automating lots of Class Notebook creations.
  • Teacher Transfer Powershell script—Last month, we published a script and code sample to allow IT, admins and partners, to transfer ownership of a Class Notebook from one teacher to another. We put this script out to be used with the intention that this functionality will be built into Office 365 SharePoint Admin in the near future. To learn more, check out GitHub.

For those interested, the OneNote team is encouraging a visit to the MSDN article on OneNote Class Notebook API’s, its own Office Blogs or grab examples from the dedicated GitHub repository.

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