Digital Learning: Microsoft Teams

Overview

The college will be promoting the use Microsoft Teams as the primary tool for synchronous virtual conferencing. This tool is made available for all college employees/students as part of the Office 365 suite.

  • Support Staff & Administrators - the Teams application can help coordinate digital collaboration and team meetings.

  • Faculty - This is an optional digital resource that is available as part of your teaching toolkit. Faculty may choose to use this tool to connect with their students via a synchronous meeting as part of their alternate delivery but the use of the tool is not mandated. It's important to design with intent so Faculty should make best use of this resource in their teaching by avoiding common pitfalls replacing their 3 hrs class with a 3hrs synchronous session. Alternatively, Faculty should strive to use the application to engage with students in smaller interactions such as virtual office hours or shorter sessions to enable more flexibility for students.

  • Students - the application will be made available to students via an ITS initiative whereby they are placed within a specific TEAMs based on their course enrolments. They may also choose to connect with one another outside their own courses.

These resources (the next two in particular) will help you get started with using Teams for synchronous course delivery.

Teaching Spotlight

Dr. Rajni Dogra, Professor School of Business - Kingston

"My Macroeconomics class enjoyed participating and learning thorough MS Teams group work. Students collaborated and enjoyed the group activities on the Teams the way they used to collaborate and enjoy in-class. Microsoft Teams works really well for the group activities. You can conduct different types of group activities (including video) by allocating participants into sub-groups. In addition, it is easy to share documents and files within a sub-group."

MS Teams: Teaching Tips

We recommend that Faculty use the KISS (Keep It Simple and Strategic) principle when exploring the Teams application with their students.

MS Teams is great for:

  • conducting virtual office hours (e.g., setup a recurring meeting in Outlook and sharing the link with students).

  • group work and synchronous collaboration with students

  • engaging students in instructional activities by referencing materials that have been uploaded to Blackboard

  • building social/teaching presence by adding a human element to your teaching - i.e., use your camera to share a laugh or story with your students

Faculty should avoid:

  • using MS Teams to host files - both Faculty and students have the ability to add/delete/modify files. Keep your files and assessments in Blackboard. This is familiar space for students.

  • receiving official assignments via the chat function - some files can get buried in long chats so it's important that students use Blackboard to submit their assignments.

  • introducing new tools without having a clear intent - students can become frustrated if you are trying something with no value. Focus on easier and key functions (e.g., chat & sync meetings).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who has access to MS Teams?

  • Anyone with an SLC account has access to Microsoft Teams as part of the larger Microsoft Office 365.

  • A SLC employee can create a team meeting invite and send it to an external representative to join the meeting. They will join as a "guest".

Can I still use Skype?

Although Skype is still available until June, this application will be replaced by MS Teams so the Information Technology Services (ITS team is encouraging employees to start transitioning to MS Teams.

Who do I ask for help?

  • Contact the ITS@sl.on.ca service desk for technical help

  • Contact the SCTL@sl.on.ca if you want to discuss a teaching strategy using teams