Last week, DigiKnow looked at Mediasite as a recording/hosting system, this system is Queen’s University specific. We also asked you to consider why and what content should be recorded (i.e., non-live asynchronous instructional videos such as demonstrating Python software) as students prefer real-time teaching and being able to ask questions, etc.

Teaching synchronously (in real-time) is beneficial to students as it provides structure for learning. Giving students time slots for live-teaching helps prepare students for learning and gives students the opportunity to engage with content, to form and pose questions and expel any misunderstandings during a live-teaching session.

There should be opportunity for students to perform activities during the session, this might be discussions, taking part in a poll or a Q&A session. Teacher presence adds value to the learning experience, it’s an important student learning experience to see and hear their lecturers as this supports learning and makes it more personal.

The nuances of facial expression and change in tone of voice really helps emphasize important points during a lecture. A teachers enthusiasm for the subject can really inspire students to learn. These are all very good reasons to teach synchronously.

This week, we look at MS Teams for live-teaching online.

What is MS Teams?

MS Teams is a virtual space where teaching, meetings and learning can happen. As this article is about teaching online, consider MS Teams in this example as your classroom.

Classrooms are used for lectures, large group teaching, small group teaching, tutorials, case-based learning, group work, feedback sessions, etc.

What do you have in a physical classroom? A display. Classroom furniture. Teacher. Students. Teaching materials and activities. Breakout rooms.

In Teams, we don’t have the furniture, but we do have everything else.

Teams is two-way communications tool where you (as teacher) can broadcast a live teaching session to the students in your group. There may be multiple teachers and multiple lecture themes within the group throughout the year, so let’s look at best practice when setting up your Class. This will be from a Teacher perspective and downloads will available at the end of this blog for Teachers, external guests and students .

Staff and students can access Office via Queen’s Online. Once accessed, the Office 365 Apps should appear (external guests can access teams and should refer to the relevant download later in this article). Select Teams.

Office Apps
Example workflow

Not every Team will be set up like this. In a teaching context, a Team can be set up and materials added and organised prior to students having access. This gives teachers time to reflect on structure, content and layout of the the material to an audience.

Below you will find an example workflow of setting up a Class in MS Teams.

  1. Set up Class in Team
    Give it a name and welcome message.
  2. Add teachers (internal/external to organisation as required)
  3. Go to Class Materials folder (read-only)
    Create sub-folders per week and consider naming conventions (i.e., Week01, Week02). Add content to the weekly folders.
  4. Set up a OneNote class notebook
    This could be a log / portfolio / reflective journal, etc. As a teacher, you will see all students work. Students will only see their work, not everyone else’s work.
  5. Add an assignment
    This can be done along the way, it doesn’t have to be immediately.
  6. At the beginning of term
    When students are enrolled and on the system, add students to the group.
How can I set up a Team?

Similar to WhatsApp, a digital space is set up, given a name and people added in. For this to happen, the person setting up a WhatsApp group needs phone numbers of people they want to add.

In MS Teams, we create a new team space by clicking Join or Create Team (1) and Create Team (2).

Joining/creating a team

In MS Teams, there are four Team Options: Class, PLC, Staff and Other. For teaching, choose the Class option.

Team options

Name the team (1), give a Description (2) and click Next (3).

Create your team
What can I do now?

You have choices! Decide whether you want to:

  1. Set up the team with teaching materials / structure and prepare things before you add anyone, or
  2. Add people now and add materials, etc., as you go along

Setting spaces up, adding content and structure, etc., looks more professional and when this is viewed by students, they have a clear structure regards layout and preparedness.

Based on best practice, we cover the first option in this blog and add content / structure before adding students.

Adding Content

In the files section, the Class Materials folder (and anything else in it) is read-only. Add sub-folders here for each week and consider naming conventions of sub-folders so they display properly, i.e., Week01, Week02. These will appear in sequence.

NB: Class materials and sub-folder content are read-only, students/guests can download content to their devices, view them in browser or open in Sharepoint. Students/guests cannot change/delete/move content but teachers can.

Click on the Files tab (1), click the Class Materials Folder (2):

Accessing Class Materials

Within the Class Materials folder, click New (1) and Folder (2):

Creating sub-folders

Name the folder and click Create:

Naming folders

By using Week01 rather than Week 1, it keeps the folders in sequence from 1 – 12. If Week 1 was used, when Week 10 is created, Week 10 would appear above Week 1, whereas 01, 02, 03 … 10, 11, 12, keeps the folders sequential from 1 – 12 (or whatever number of weeks teaching is for).

Including the date in the folder name will help students find and retrieve materials when they want to review/revise content.

Teams allows you (as Teacher and Owner) to:

  • Create Posts
  • Add Read-Only Files
  • View Class Notebooks (students can only see their own work)
  • Create Assignments
  • Track Grades

The + on the top bar allows the adding of additional tabs (all team members can view):

Apps available in Teams
How and when do I add students?

Currently it’s June. Students will be applying for courses and full class lists won’t be available until September. Student’s can be added to the Team last and before teaching starts.

Adding people now

If you have a class list available (when setting up the class), ensure the Student Tab is selected. In Search for Students (1), type in a student number and select the student’s name (2), click Add (3).

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all students are added. Click Close (4) (teachers can be added now).

If student lists are not finalised until the start of term, students can be added later.

Adding students

Teachers and Admin need added using the same steps via the Teachers tab, using staff numbers. Guest lecturers (external to QUB) are added in the Teachers Tab via their email address.

When adding teachers, it is good practice to add additional ‘teachers’ to the Team such as Admin and teaching assistants, as well as teachers from other modules. This gives an opportunity to gain feedback on teaching but also acts as a quality check.

Admin staff are great in a Team. If the class co-ordinator cannot make a teaching session where an external lecturer is presenting, Admin can record the meeting and it will be available as usual for students to re-watch at a later date.

When everyone is added, click Close (4).

External guests

When adding external guests, a notice appears stating the email is external to the organisation and that’s OK. Click Add. Whether internal or external to the university, people will receive an email with instructions how to join the Team.

External guests will need to download the Teams App but they won’t need a license (see the download section toward the end of this blog).

NB: People can be added to the Class Team now or at any point in the future.

I’ve set up the class, how do I schedule a teaching session?

Under General, click the  icon, this opens a New Meeting Window (below).

Add a Title (1), i.e., the lecture topic.

Select the required Attendees (students) (2).

Set the Date (3), Time and Duration, i.e., 1 hour (there is an option for repeat which is handy if you teach the same group of students in the same timeslot every week).

Location can be physical or left blank (let’s assume online learning and we’ll leave it blank).

Underneath in the Editor (4), include any Learning Outcomes for that class and instructions for students to complete before coming to class, i.e., prior reading or tasks.

When these details are complete, click Send (5).

Scheduling meetings

This meeting will appear in the General area of Teams and students will receive the invite on email as well.

A scheduled meeting
Entering Class / Meeting

Students have two options to enter class:

  1. Click on the Team invite via email
  2. Go to class in Teams and click Meet Now

Option 1

Joining Teams via e-mail

Option 2

Joining Teams via Meet Now
When live-teaching

Facilities left to right include:

  • Counter
  • Webcam on/off
  • Mic on/off
  • Share Screen
  • Ellipsis
  • Raise Hand
  • Chat Window
  • Participants
  • Leave meeting
Teams icon bar
Recording Live Sessions
  • The Live Session
    Ensure you (as teacher) are in BEFORE the students. Have your slides open (along with any other materials) and ready to show.
    Ensure your camera is on and audio is working!
  • Sharing Content via Screen Share
    Open the Share Screen icon (below), choose the PowerPoint slides you want to share. The first slide should appear on your screen and your face should appear in the right hand corner (remember to smile).
Share Screen
  • Chat Facilities
    Ensure the Chat window is open for viewing incoming student questions during or after the lecture. Advise students to open their chat window.
  • Recording the Session
    Click on the button and when ready to start the lecture, select Start Recording.
Start recording
  • Ending Recording
    When finished the lecture, press Stop Recording in the option.
  • Ending the Meeting
    End the meeting by pressing the option and End Meeting. This stops the meeting for everyone.

If meetings are recorded, they can be viewed later in Teams or shared (on email or in Canvas) via Stream.

Helpful hints

As a teacher, you need to be in the Class before students. This is to have teaching content organised, open and ready to show.

In the first class, it’s best practice to set boundaries and expectations. Students need to know the etiquette of online-teaching. Similar to being in a physical classroom, students need to know the time of teaching, the location, the subject, any prior-reading or tasks to be completed, etc.

Communicate these rules of engagement to students. In the first session, these may include code of conduct, when you’re available outside of teaching for queries, Q&A sessions, tutorials, etc. This can be recorded in the Meetings Notes section.

Help orientate students in this digital space, show students where to find class content and how to use other features. This could be via screen share or a set of slides (also available via the Files section).

It’s important to communicate with students what you expect of them:

  • Be on time for teaching
  • Respectful to others
  • Complete work on a timely basis, that includes work before class whether it’s task based or prior reading

Whilst conducting live teaching, do be aware that some students may have poor connectivity. The more features used, the more bandwidth is required and students may not be the only people using the internet at their location.

Advise students to turn off their audio/webcam and if you’re showing slides, turn off your webcam to increase bandwidth. Inform students that PDFs of the slides are available for download.

Next week

We appreciate this is a lot to digest. Many people have been using teams for meetings across many industries and it’s not difficult when you use it. This is one option for live-teaching with the option to record teaching.

This is the basic MS Teams overview for classrooms and there’s more that can be done. Do watch out for future posts on MS Teams to build upon this knowledge and if you find a quicker and easier way of using Teams, please get in touch.

Next week, DigiKnow takes a look at Zoom as a live-teaching tool. Join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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