What is OneNote Class Notebook and How Does it Work?

What you need to know about OneNote for students

Drawing of a teacher using computers and digital notebooks in her classroom.

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OneNote Class Notebook is an advanced version of the free Microsoft OneNote app designed for use in a classroom environment. This version of OneNote allows students to simultaneously collaborate on projects together and privately submit assignments to the teacher to mark. Teachers can create unique digital notebooks for each class while maintaining full control of which students and teachers have access.

How Is OneNote Class Notebook Different From OneNote?

While the basic note-taking and cloud save functionality is the same between OneNote Class Notebook and the regular OneNote app, there are several significant differences.

  • The ability for multiple users to submit content to a notebook that’s only viewable by the admin.
  • Admin tools for adding and removing teachers and students.
  • A content library for resources and media for all users to access within the app.
  • OneNote is completely free to use. OneNote Class Notebook requires an Office 365 subscription for Education.

Where Can I Download OneNote Class Notebook?

The OneNote Class Notebook app isn’t available as an individual download online nor can it be downloaded from the Windows 10 Microsoft Store app store.

Instead, you’ll need to access it from the Office 365 app on the same device you use your Office 365 subscription for Education account on.

OneNote Class Notebook isn’t available for all Office 365 subscription models. Your Office 365 subscription for Education must include OneDrive for Business as one of its features.

Once you open the Office 365 app, the OneNote Class Notebook app can be found within the app launcher in the top-left corner. OneNote 2013 or 2016 users will need to download the Class Notebook Add-in for this extra functionality.

There is no OneNote for Students app for students to install. Students can access OneNote classroom content by logging into the latest version of the OneNote app with their associated Office 365 account information.

OneNote Class Notebook can also be accessed from OneNote Class Notebook website by logging in with your Office 365 information.

How to Create a OneNote Class Notebook

  1. Open your preferred web browser on your computer and go to https://www.onenote.com/classnotebook.

  2. Select Create a class notebook.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.
  3. Type a name for your class notebook, then select Next.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.

    This name can technically be anything, but it’s best to be descriptive so students and other teachers are able to identify it.

  4. You’ll now be presented with a brief introduction to each section of the OneNote classroom. Quickly read it, then select Next to continue.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.
  5. Enter the names or email addresses of other teachers to invite them to collaborate and manage the class notebook. Select Next.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.

    You don’t need to invite other teachers if you intend to manage the notebook yourself. You can also add additional staff at a later time.

  6. Add your students by typing their names or email addresses. When you’re done, select Next.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.
  7. You can now add content for your OneNote students to access. Select the X to remove a section or select the + to add one. Select Next when you’re ready to proceed.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.

    You can add as many or as few sections as you want.

  8. You’ll now be shown a preview image of what your teacher’s notebook will look like. If everything looks fine, select Create.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.

    It may take several minutes for the notebook to be created.

  9. Your OneNote classroom notebook should now be available to view and manage online and within the OneNote app.

    Creating a OneNote Class Notebook online.

Add Teachers and Students to a OneNote Class Notebook

The easiest way to add a new OneNote student or teacher to your teachers notebook is to go to https://www.onenote.com/classnotebook, log in with your Office 365 credentials, then select either Add or remove students or Add or remove teachers.

Make sure you’re logged in with your correct Microsoft account, as certain functionality will not be possible otherwise.

Do I Need OneNote Class Notebook?

As with all decisions regarding technology, you’ll need to compare the pros and cons for your particular situation. For example, OneNote Class Notebook may be a tremendous help to teachers with a large number of students, but if you have a smaller class size, will it really make collecting assignments and collaboration that much easier?

Some points you may want to think about before investing in OneNote Class Notebook:

  • Would OneNote Class Notebook increase or decrease engagement in my class?
  • Will using OneNote Class Notebook improve my own productivity?
  • Are my students all capable of using OneNote Class Notebook?
  • Do all of my students have access to a computer at school and at home?
  • Is internet access available in the classroom for data syncing?

There are a lot of OneNote Class Notebook success stories, but it might not be the best choice, or even possible, for every learning environment.