Group work is an activity that can form part of your online learning environment. You can use this activity when you believe that your learners can better process and absorb the topic you are dealing with through mutual interaction and exchange, working either in pairs or in small groups.
Various programs indicated a need to support better online interaction among students, which is essential to motivate students and keep them on track. The current recommended solution, Canvas (Conferences), works well for lectures but is not ideal for more “social” gatherings such as online study groups, tutorials, projects and so on. Meanwhile, UT has switched from Microsoft Skype to Teams since 2020 July. We see the potential of using Teams to support education. This guidance document gives a quick overview of using Teams to support teaching and learning activities.
Please be aware that:
- Canvas remains the central Learning Management System for UT. We recommend you use Canvas as much as you can (e.g. online lectures) to avoid confusion for students.
- Currently, not all features of Teams are enabled and configured by LISA. So, this guide will be gradually updated as the implementation of Teams from LISA progresses.
Organize a Team
- Create a Team for a class
Teachers can create a Team per course. A Team is a learning hub that brings conversations, content, and meetings together in one place. More information can be found on this page.
- Add students to a Team
- Teachers can manually add students to a team by following these steps.
- Alternatively, teachers can share a code with students, which allows self-enrollment:
Use Channels to connect your students
Channels are collaborative areas within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, classwork and so on. Each team has a General channel that is created by default and open to all the team members. Teachers can also create additional channels for:
- Student group work
- Course units or topics
- Social activity
For more information about Channels, check out this page.
Create a live online meeting in Channels
Teachers can use Meetings in Teams to connect to students using audio, video, and screen sharing. There are two ways to organize a Meeting.
Start an instant meeting
- Choose a Channel to start an instant channel meeting.
- In the Posts tab, go to where you type new messages (at the very bottom of the app) and select Meet now:
Schedule a meeting in advance
There are several ways to schedule a meeting in Teams:
- Select Meet, then choose Schedule a meeting button in a chat (below the box where you type a new message) to book a meeting with the people in the chat.
- Click on the Calendar button on the left side of the Team app and select New meeting in the top right corner.
- Select a range of time in the calendar. A scheduling form will pop open. Use the ‘Repeat’ option to schedule a recurring meeting with students.
- Click Send once all necessary information has been filled out.
Note: To easily distribute and invite students, teachers can also share the Meeting link with the students (e.g. via Canvas). After scheduling the meeting, click on it. This will open the meeting details page. In the description field, there will be a Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link. Right click on the link, then select Copy Link to share with students.
For more information about Meetings, check out this page.
Using Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams
Microsoft Whiteboard is a digital canvas that allows teachers and students to draw, sketch and write on a shared screen. It makes it easier for teachers to explain complex formulas and equations. It also helps to brainstorm, explain and grow ideas together during an online meeting.
Note: Whiteboard integration in Microsoft Teams meetings is powered by the Whiteboard web app. However, the use of the whiteboard is currently limited on Windows 10, Mac, the web version. The Teams apps for iOS and Android can only view whiteboards that have already been created.
For more information about the Whiteboard, check out this page.
How to get started?
- Open Office.com and sign in with your school email and password.
- From your Office.com homepage, click on the Teams app to open right in your browser.
- Select Teams to see which class teams you’re in. If your teacher has already set up the class team and added you, you'll see one or more (depending on how many classes you have) class team tiles.
Note: Don’t see any class team tiles? Your teacher may have invited you to join your class team with:
- A join code (from the Teams page, select Join or create a team and enter the code)
- A link (check your email!)
Communicate in Teams
Students can send or read messages in a Chat or Channel and participate Video Meetings (online sessions with teachers and classmates, made for tutorials, study groups, presentations, and whenever students need to learn).
For more information, check out this page.
Collaboration among students (Coming up soon)
In the future, students will be able to create their own Teams and Channels, this can be very helpful, for example, for group discussions, working in a project or creating, sharing and editing a document within a group. However, remember that Canvas remains the main communication channel for education
To download other guides for students, check out this page.
If you need more help, check out the Microsoft Teams Help Center.
This page is still under construction. Coming up soon:
- Microsoft Teams Meetings in Canvas
- Breakout room in Microsoft Teams Meetings
- Autonomy for students create their own Teams and Channels