Paul Greatrix

May 31, 2017, by Sharon Caine

UoN Office 365 – Sway as a communication platform

This is the fourth in our series of blogs looking at how UoN staff can best use the range of O365 tools in our University workplace. Today’s blog focusses upon how internal newsletters have been transformed using the O365 presentation and story-telling tool, Sway.

The scenario
Every month, Paul Greatrix, University Registrar, produces a newsletter for the staff based within his department. The aim of the publication is to celebrate success, highlight achievements, common points of interest and relevant sector developments.

The former Registrar’s newsletter was a static email, featuring text and photos. Paul asked Tara de Cozar, Head of Internal Communications, to look at the format and make it more engaging. Tara was a member of the O365 early adopters group and quickly saw how using one of the new O365 applications – Sway – could potentially transform the Registrar’s newsletter into a more dynamic and visual publication.

What is Sway

Sway is an application that helps users create interactive presentations, newsletters and reports. Sway provides a number of pre-built templates and designs that can get you started, or you can customise your own. The author simply adds in text, images and video via ‘cards’ to quickly and easily build a presentation. Content can be pulled into sway from all sources – an internet search engine is built into the application. Once content is identified, the user can drag and drop content to create a bespoke presentation with a unique look and feel. Users don’t need design skills to showcase material in Sway – the application does this for you. Once you’ve created your presentation, it’s easy to share and collaborate. Sway provides you with a link so that your audience can view materials via the web, without signing in or downloading anything.

How the Registrar used Sway

The Registrar’s newsletter was completely re-vamped using Sway. Tara worked with the Registrar to identify a suitable format in Sway for the newsletter. They chose a template with minimal design and colour to replicate a magazine style format that was fully accessible. They were able to use striking, full-page photography within the Sway for impact and also incorporate video that can be viewed directly within the presentation.

Tara said, ‘using Sway for the first time was really easy. I could quickly drag and drop content into the application, preview how it looked and then swap it around until I found it flowed in a way we were happy with. Being able to incorporate video and display photographs in innovative ways was a real bonus. The end result was a transformed user experience – we’ve had nothing but positive feedback about the new look and feel of the newsletter’.

Paul said, ‘I’d like to thank Tara for her terrific efforts with the newsletter and I’m really delighted with the work she has done on this’.

View the latest Registrar’s newsletter in Sway here

We would remind colleagues when sourcing online images to be mindful of copyright law. Some content, such as public domain content, is free to use because it is not subject to copyright protection. Other content might be subject to copyright but the copyright holder licenses content with certain restrictions, such as under the Creative Commons license. Bing’s image search lets you limit results only to Creative Commons-licensed images (after running an image search, click “license”). Read more about Microsoft guidance on copyright here.

How to find out more

  • Watch a Microsoft tutorial regarding how to use SwayYouTube
  • Access training on Sway via ‘Imagine Academy’ 
  • Follow the Microsoft Sway blog and facebook page

Sway – your O365 tool for creating dynamic, visual web-based presentations with minimal effort

Dates for the latest Office 365 campus roadshows can be found online here:

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