Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis | Groups

Office 365 Groups

What are Office 365 Groups (aka Open Forum groups) and how are they used?

Our email system, Office 365, has two types of groups. The traditional group that you're probably familiar with is the distribution group. They do what the name implies, distribute mail to the members of the group. We use groups for staff and faculty departments, class groups, etc. Generally members may not opt out of receiving email sent to the group, and we restrict who can send to the groups. For example, we do not allow students to send email to the class distribution groups.

Recently Microsoft introduced a different kind of group they call "Groups". Despite the generic name, these groups are shared workspaces, unlike distribution groups which are only about email. Groups include email, conversations, files, and calendars. Our initial use of these collaborative groups is as a replacement for what we called "Open Lists" or "Open Forums" on the old Lyris system.

You can create and participate in conversations via email the same as you would with any distribution group, but you also have the option to do so via the web in Outlook Web App (http://email.wustl.edu/mail or http://outlook.office365.com). You can find help about groups in Office 365 online.

Open Forum Groups for Staff

We have one Open Forum group for staff. The group is intended for staff to use for open discussion, announcements of social events, lost and found, items for sale, etc. Staff may unsubscribe or remove themselves at any time. The name of this group in the address book is OLIN Staff Open Forum with the email address olin-staff-openforum@gowustl.onmicrosoft.com.

Open Forum Groups for Students

Each student class has an Open Forum group. These groups are intended for students to use for open discussion, announcements of social events, lost and found, items for sale, etc. Members may unsubscribe or remove themselves at any time. While each group is private to the members of the class, students may send email to any of the open forum groups.

The student class open forum groups are include the class or program in the name along with the word "Open Forum". For example, the BSBA Class of 2018 open forum group would be named OLIN BSBA 2018 Open Forum and have an email address of olin-bsba2018-openforum@gowustl.onmicrosoft.com. Other programs will use a similar format.

How to use the Open Forum Groups

You can find help and documentation for the Open Forum groups online: Find help about groups in Office 365

Unsubscribe from an open forum group (online help)

When you were added to the open forum group, you were subscribed to receive group updates via email. Any time someone sends a message to the group or posts in the group, you will receive an email. If you do not want to receive these emails, do the following:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of any email you receive from the group.
  2. Click the Unsubscribe link.

Another option is to unsubscribe via OWA:

Note that you will remain a member of the group and can view any conversations in OWA.

Leave an open forum group (online help)

  1. Sign into Office 365, and navigate to Outlook, People, Calendar, or OneDrive.
  2. If necessary, click More to see all the groups.
  3. In the navigation pane, under GROUPS, you can view the list of groups you belong to.
  4. In the group header, click More actions  and then click Leave.

Join an open forum group (online help)

  1. Sign into Office 365, and navigate to Outlook, People, Calendar, or OneDrive.
  2. If necessary, click More to see all the groups.
  3. In the navigation pane, under GROUPS, locate the group and click Browse Groups.
  4. The group's People page appears and displays all groups in your organization by alphabetical order.
  5. To narrow the list, at the top of the navigation pane, click search all groups, enter a search string, and then press RETURN.
  6. Click on the group that you want to join, and when the card appears, click Join.
  7. If the group is public, you see a confirmation message and you become a member right away.
  8. If the group is private, you need to send a request to the owner. Do the following:
    1. In the Requesting to join pane, enter a reason why you would like to join the private group.
    2. At the top of the pane, click SEND REQUEST.

If the group is public, you will receive a welcome message that contains important information and links to help you get started. If the group is private, you do not receive a message until you have been approved by an administrator of the group. If the administrator does not approve your request, you do not receive an automatic notification.

Have a group conversation

Sending email to an open forum group is the same as sending email to another person. Select the group from the address book and send your message. Your message will create a new conversation in the group (viewable in OWA), and any members who have subscribed to the group will receive your email in their Inbox as well. Replying to a message form the group will add to the conversation.

You can also engage in conversations in OWA. Additional help and instructions are available online: Have a group conversation