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#51 - Use Microsoft Teams for collaboration

  1. Providing a good, simple, effective platform for collaboration can make a big difference to students' ability to work together.

  2. Ideally, we should be able to leave the students to work in teams, dropping in occasionally to see what is happening and offer advice, but also remaining contactable if needed.
  3. Teams enables just this, in an industry-standard platform, with an efficient notifications systems and many features.

Solution overview

Microsoft Teams is a widely-used professional collaboration tool that brings together Microsoft's tools into a well organised, accessible, project base. Versions are available for Windows and Apple computers, tablets and phones. You can create a team space and add students as members. Or students can self-organise their own team space. The space consists of 'channels' that you set up for different purposes. Each channel contains a discussion board and a file sharing space. Microsoft Office documents uploaded into the file space may be co-edited. Members can be immediately notified of new messages. Other features include videoconferencing and the ability to include many other tools (such as Trello) and web pages.

Process
  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 Teams in 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.
  5. Teams has many other great features for collaboration, follow the link in the tools section below for more information.