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#43 - Use a Teams-based chat channel with instant notifications

  1. There are times when we want students to be working independently, but still potentially in touch with the teacher and the whole group.
  2. We don't want students and teachers to become overwhelmed with messages, but they should be able to contact each other with an instant message if required.
  3. Microsoft Teams is Warwick's collaboration platform, and includes a messaging system that can be used to for instant notifications if necessary. By mentioning a specific person or team using a special code, a notification is sent to them.
Solution overview

Microsoft Teams provides a more instantaneous form of discussion. When a user has the app installed (Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android phones) they receive an on-screen notifications when a message has been posted to a channel that they have access to, and the message "mentions" them, or the while team (type @ followed by the person's name or the team name). Messages that do not mention specific people or the whole team do not fire-off a notification, but can be read by visiting the team in the Teams app. Teams also includes full Microsoft Office online and collaborative editing, so that discussions may work around documents. Students can use Teams for their own projects, and are likely to encounter it in the workplace. Individuals can also manage the way in which they receive notifications, so that they are not overly disturbed by them at the wrong time.

  1. Check to see if you already have Teams installed on your computer. If not, the simplest way to get it is to open Outlook web mail in your web browser, and look for Teams in the App Launcher (top left of the page). Follow the instructions. You can also use the Teams app Apple, Android and Microsoft mobile devices.
  2. Create a new team for your teaching-team, and add your colleague as members - you can add any member of the university, including students, as well as people from outside (for example, external examiners). If you have lots of students to add, you can create a joining code that allows them to self-enrol.
  3. You can create and share a link that takes the students directly into the team. Don't forget to also give them the joining code if you have created one.
  4. You can start conversations with team members (type @ in the message box to choose to notify individuals or the whole team). Instant notifications are sent to the people you mention in conversations using this mechanism.