1 Common Questions



This is my first time using MS Teams, what should I do?

MS Teams contains many useful features, however understanding if it is the right program for you is a crucial first step. Check out our Is Teams For Me? page for more inforation.

Refer to: Is Teams for me?

How can I notify my students about course information?

Announcements can be made within each channel and certain individuals can be notified via the “@” action. Using @general will notify everyone in the Team of an update. An alternative notification method would be emailing your class via MS Teams. Lastly, using connectors allows external updates to be integrated into MS Teams.

How can I host organized office hours?

By utilizing “Meeting Lobbies”, you can queue students in designated time slots.

I receive notifications for everything that happens, how do I change this? 

MS Teams lets you change your notifications for your account and the notification settings for individual channels. Within these settings, there are simplified notification presets, while also allowing you to customize what messages you receive.

If there is a private matter to follow up on, how can I privately message one of my students?

If a conversation must be private, a direct message can be sent. Other students are not able to view the contents discussed in this conversation. Additionally, every member in the team has the ability to create private chats. Private chats can not be deleted.

How should I use channels in my course? (Ex. Breakout Rooms)

Within your team, you can easily create new channels to accommodate any new spaces you require. Having a designated channel for each purpose will keep your files, students and conversations organized. These channels can be used for course related spaces or student collaboration spaces such as breakout rooms.

What if MS Teams doesn’t have the functions I need?


MS Teams allows users to find and use add-ons that are widely available in its app store. By using this, you can find apps that allow you to use polls, quizzes, time management tools and more that may provide the functionality you need. Additionally, MS Teams is always adding new features that are shown on the roadmap link below.

If I find teaching to students with their cameras on to be easier, should I suggest students keep them on?

You may encourage students to keep their cameras on, but it is our belief that they should not be required to do so during class. Students may prefer to keep them off due to privacy and internet connectivity reasons that would otherwise distract others and hinder their own learning experience.

How can I improve the teaching experience for my students and myself?

An easy method is requesting feedback as it allows you to accommodate for the specific concerns of your audience, thus directly improving their learning experience. You can gather feedback quickly by using polls. While this feature isn’t in MS Teams by default, it can easily be added using the app store. In addition, inform your students about what programs you will use and what they will be used for.

My students said they are having a hard time hearing me, what do I do?

It is important to set up your microphone and speaker before conducting any meetings. If you have already done so, it could be insufficient internet speeds, environmental sounds or feedback. Closing unnecessary applications that require an internet connection may help improve audio/video quality.

How do I manage my course files?


MS Teams promotes easy file management using the files tabs located in each channel. These files also link to SharePoint giving you more control over your files.

How can I make sure I remember important conversations?

MS Teams allows you to bookmark important messages within your team. This helps you keep all your crucial messages in one place.

Refer to: Saving Content

How can I manage all the users in my course? 

MS Teams allows you to easily view the participant list and change their permissions if needed.

Are there shortcuts to help me complete common tasks quicker?
MS Teams contains many shortcuts to help you complete your tasks faster and in an organized fashion.

How can I see what’s going on in my Team?

MS Teams collects data about your team and provides a summary of how it is being used in the analytics section.

Isn’t collaborating at home the same as in-class?

It is important to recognize that teaching online is different than teaching in person. Learning from home comes with its own set of new challenges that can make it difficult for students to focus. Understanding these struggles can help make collaborating with students significantly easier.

How can I mold MS Teams into a collaborative environment?

Collaborating with students to foster an accepting learning environment can be difficult when it is taking place online. MS Teams helps you tackle this challenge by allowing you to see student ideas through tools like screen sharing and whiteboard. Collaboration is also promoted by letting users simultaneously work on the same document providing a similar experience to Google Drive.

How do I add someone, like a coworker or interpreter, to a call?  

In some cases, you may need to add someone outside of your team to a meeting. Examples of such situations include students with hearing disabilities requiring an interpreter or that you have invited a guest speaker to join your lecture. Adding another person can be done by clicking on “show participants” in your call controls, and then typing the name of the person required. Once they are found, clicking their name will add them to the call.

For detailed instructions on adding participants, refer to: Can I Join the Meeting?

What can I do for students with disabilities or language barriers?  

Microsoft Teams has the ability to present captions in real-time. This will offer the option to read what is said and help students without access to good quality headsets. For students with language barriers, the translate option provides a quick fix. Furthermore, keyboard shortcuts can be easier for students with mobility or vision disabilities and provides an alternative to using a mouse.

Note: Caption data is permanently deleted after the meeting is over.

The text size in MS Teams is too small. What can I do to make it bigger?  

You can use the zoom feature to suit the font size to your needs. This can be accomplished by holding Ctrl and using the mouse scroll wheel or by holding Ctrl and using the +/- keys on the keyboard.


Last updated on: November 10, 2022


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Teaching with MSTeams Copyright © by Dave Cormier; Anas Al-Chalabi; Bailey Csabai; Chris Nardone; Devin Wacheski; Elijah Annoh-Waithe; Jykee Pavo; Laura Small; Lawrence Villacorte; Lorenzo Pernasilici; Marianne Kantati; Mikayla Bornais; Mitchel Macmillan; Mohamed Eldabagh; Nafeesa Sohail; Norman Ha; Tariq Al-Rfouh; Kristen Swiatoschik; and Ashlyne O'Neil is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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