Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

OneNote – A Practical Tip

We started using OneNote with our Year 9 English classes in 2009 and continued with the process as they moved into Year 10 in 2010. Our Year 9 students that have just received their laptops have now also begun the process of using OneNote as their English book. (Please see my previous post for how we set up the OneNote notebooks as templates for the entire cohorts.) This has been going swimmingly, and apart from spelling tests and in-class writing tasks, we have rarely used their exercise book since.

This led us to a unique challenge though. We collect student books once per term to check on their work, mark work and give feedback as to progress, etc.  How do we do this now their books are in OneNote? Thinking I was clever, I worked out how to save their notebook as a single file package and we had students save their notebooks and submit it this way.  BIG MISTAKE. When you open a single file package, OneNote automatically saves it as part of your library of notebooks on your hard drive. Now let’s do some maths: 4 classes of 30 students = 120, multiply that by 4 terms and there are 480 notebooks now on your hard drive with it being difficult to tell which is the latest submission. A minor nightmare to be sure.

The good news is that there is a solution! Do NOT have them save their notebooks as a single file package.  Instead, from the File menu, have them choose Publish as a PDF. Within this option they can choose to save the current page, section or whole notebook.  They can send the PDF to their teacher via whatever the preferred method is: email, Edmodo, Moodle, etc.

This has worked wonderfully! Not only does a PDF compress the information so that it doesn’t take up as much room on your hard drive, it also opens as a PDF and not as a OneNote notebook.  This is also useful for teachers that do not have OneNote at home – marking is still possible as they can open the PDF.  Also, for those of us that have Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, you can then add sticky notes to the submitted work and make comments, prior to sending it back to the students.

A practical tip within this process: get students to make the file name their full name and the date submitted e.g. John Smith 110610. This way you can easily see which is the latest version and to whom it belongs.


June 13, 2010 - Posted by | Digital Education Revolution (DER), OneNote | , ,


  1. I am the administrator for VHS Moodle.
    We have just hit the problem of students using Onenote on the laptops which is not an extension accepted by Moodle. Could you please tell me how you overcame this?
    Thank you,

    Comment by Julia Birmingham | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi

    I am looking to using OneNote as a tool for external/online students. You mention students submitting via Moodle, this is the LMS we currently use and I would appreciate any tips you have – particularly if you have uploaded a Onenote Notebook into moodle, but any handy tips would be greatly appreciated.


    Comment by Liz | September 15, 2010 | Reply

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