Written by Hamzah Teladia, Student Digital Champion
Microsoft Teams, part of the University’s chosen Office 365 platform integrates several interactive pathways allowing for streamlined collaboration. Although it can be tricky to find your way around the first time, getting used to it does not take long at all once you have found where things are.
If you have used it, you know how useful it can be in group tasks: if not, you might want to consider it. The main usefulness of Teams from a personal opinion, and being a fan of centralised platforms where you don’t have to have several apps open, is that everything you need is in one application. You can access; the Instant Messaging function to speak to individuals or groups rather than creating lengthy email trails, your calendar to create or join meetings in a click, recently accessed files, a link to all other Microsoft apps and an FAQs section if you’ve lost your way. Downloading the Teams app on your phone allows you to access these features too, and enabling push notifications allows you to instantaneously receive any updates, or if you have been tagged in anything which requires your attention.
The primary function of Teams however, is the Team function itself. Here, you can create spaces limited to groups selected by the admin, who would have management functions over the Team. This means you have a private space to interact, where channels can also be created for specific purposes to organise activities. You can see your recurring or ad hoc meetings, if scheduled with the Team attached and importantly, have a repository of shared files in the files tab and being able to see this history in one place allowing you to track progress. See the Teams guide to learn more about these individual functions.
Word docs, PowerPoints or anything else can be created within your Teams which allows changes to be made in time and be seen and accessed by people in your Team – be careful to run things past your Team in shared documents to keep them aware of changes. This function still exists through OneDrive, by creating a document, but requiring invites to be sent to people to view or edit. In the case of group work this would work the best with a Team, as all the documents would be in one place. The IM function especially is useful in day-to-day updates or just staying connected, whereas meetings would be useful for more in-depth discussions or periodic planning or progress updates.
As difficult as group work can be at University, Teams makes it easier by allowing you to work and communicate in one place. This also contributes to your digital upskilling, allowing you to collaborate digitally, more important now than ever.
Useful links for further information:
- Digital Education Office Support page
- MS Teams for learning video (5mins)
- IT Services: MS Teams
- Office 365 Support