MS Teams contains many useful features, however understanding if it is the right program for you is a crucial first step. By familiarizing yourself with MS Teams including what it can do, and how you can use it, is an excellent way to ensure you have a successful experience.
Announcements can be made within each channel and certain individuals can be notified via the “@” action. An alternative notification method would be emailing your class via MS Teams. Lastly, using connectors allows external updates to be integrated into MS Teams.
By utilizing “Meeting Lobbies”, you can queue students in designated time slots.
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 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.
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.
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 they are not 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.
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.
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. For a high definition group video call, the minimum bandwidth requirement is 2 Mbps. Running a live meeting with many students is complex, and a 10 Mbps connection speed is recommended. Also, closing unnecessary applications that require internet connection may help improve audio/video quality.
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.
MS Teams allows you to bookmark important messages within your team. This helps you keep all your crucial messages in one place.
MS Teams allows you to easily view the participant list and change their permissions if needed.
MS Teams collects data about your team and provides a summary of how it is being used in the analytics section.
It is important to recognize that teaching online has differences when compared to teaching in person. Learning from home comes with its own set of new challenges that make it difficult for students to focus. Understanding these struggles can help make collaborating with students significantly easier.
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.
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 you desire 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.
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.
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.