This article is for FET staff interested in using Microsoft Teams for teaching and learning.
Over the past year you have probably had some experience of Teams, whether for meetings, project groups or team administration. It has also been used successfully within the Faculty for teaching and learning activities. As with any system, there are pros and cons, and there is currently no requirement for you to use Teams in your teaching. For most modules, you can do everything you need in Blackboard, using Collaborate and making use of groups.
However, there are some cases where using Microsoft Teams may be of benefit.
- Teams, unlike Blackboard, is not linked to modules. So it can be a good solution where you want to get students together from different modules, programmes or even institutions.
- Teams is designed for open collaboration and joint ownership of documents and resources. It is great for project and group work. Although these things can be done in Blackboard, they are very much teacher-led. You have to set up the groups and decide which tools they have access to. If you want your students to have more flexibility and take more responsibility for how they work, Teams may be a good solution.
- Familiarity with Teams is useful for life after university. Teams is used in many workplaces, so you will be equipping your students with real world skills.
- Teams works well with Office 365 and other apps. In the Teams environment, students can make use of planners, wikis, notebooks, whiteboards, surveys and more. It is easy to collaborate on and co-author documents, with multiple students working on one document at the same time.
We are still in the early stages of using Teams as an institution, so there are some important caveats to bear in mind.
- There is currently no link between Teams and Blackboard/ISIS. This means there are no automatically populated Teams based on module enrolment, so you will have to consider how students will be given access to any Team you create.
- There is no way to grade within Teams and pass marks back to Blackboard.
- Students cannot currently record or view recordings made in Teams.
These things may change in the future, but for the moment it is important that you do NOT use Teams for summative assessment or key module or programme announcements. Blackboard and Panopto are still the expected ways of providing teaching material to students and keeping them informed.
Please read the staff Intranet Using Microsoft Teams Guide for more information, including how to get further support using Teams. There are instructions for how to join the Teams user community (where you can ask questions and share ideas) and a list of Teams champions.