Microsoft Teams is a fantastic program for engaging with students both synchronously and asynchronously, allowing for chatting, video & audio calls, and even sharing presentations with students while on a call. However, because of the many features it has, it can be a bit intimidating to get started with. Below are guides on the basics: starting a 1-on-1 chat, and starting a classroom Team for group or singular at distance instruction.
Using Teams to chat or video call with a student 1-on-1 is simple, and a useful way to connect with a student if they are out of town but still need assistance with office hours or have some other mitigating factor that doesn’t allow them to meet in person. Below is a guide on how to start up a chat with a student.
Click on the “New Message” button to the left of the search bar, at the top of the screen – it looks like a notepad or message pad with a pen on it.
Start typing the name or email of the student you want to chat with. Since Teams has access to UP’s directory, it should display a list of possible students, faculty, and staff accounts you can add.
Press enter or click on the user’s name to open a chat with them. You can continue to add users, or just hit “Enter” to confirm and start chat.
You can use the three buttons in the top left to start a video (the camera), audio (the phone), or screenshare (the screen) call.
You can also chat using text or upload files to share with the user using the chat bar below.
Creating a Class Team
NOTE: The video above leaves out the step of going to manage team->pending requests to approve students who click on the join link. These instructions are spelled out below and necessary for letting students join the Team you create.
Creating a Team for your entire class is a process that gives you a living space where you can chat with your students and foster discussion among the class. You can also host a video call with all of the students and have a synchronous lecture or class discussion.
Head to the “Teams” tab and click on “Join or create team”.
Then, click on the “Create team” button on the next page.
A selection of Teams types will pop up. Most of them are very similar to each other, but each of them comes pre-loaded with certain activities that may be relevant to your needs. I’ll be using the “Class” version for the rest of this guide.
Give your team a name and, optionally, a description.
It will give you the option to add students and teachers to the Team – you don’t have to do this, but if you have co-teachers it can be helpful to add them now.
Now your team is created and you can add content to it! Typing into the chat bar can allow you to start conversations, or you can drag documents into the team to share them with your classmates.
In order to allow students to self-enroll, you can grab a link to the team.
To grab the link, simply click on the three dots next to your team name and then click on “Get link to team”.
You can copy this link and send it to your students, who can click it to join the team and the discussion. Once they click the link, you will receive a notification to approve their entry to the team.
In order to accept students, you’ll need to click on the three dots next to your Team name, and then click the “Manage team” option. Then, click on “Pending Requests” to view students who you need to accept into your Class Team.
In order to start a video or audio meeting, click on the camera icon underneath the conversation bar.
A screen will pop up where you can turn your camera on or off, and choose whether you want to start the meeting now or schedule it for later. When you’re done making sure you’re framed up appropriately, you can start the meeting and students will be prompted to join in!
This is a great way to keep students engages in a synchronous meeting.
Those are the basics of getting started with Teams. Microsoft has a lot more documentation on the program, including a playlist of Teams training videos that may be useful to anyone looking to delve deeper into the functionality and potential of using this tool. If you have any questions, feel free to email ATSI@up.edu for more information.