Microsoft Teams for staff

Microsoft Teams is a shared space for conversations, file storage and teamwork. Teams can contain members inside and outside the University.

All staff can use the chat function of Teams: either use it online or download the desktop or mobile app.

Get started with Teams

  • Have ongoing conversations 
  • Organise conversations by topic by creating different 'channels'
  • Run online seminars or virtual meetings that can be recorded for playback later
  • Store files for others to access and collaborate on: see who is editing a file in real-time and view the version history. 

Access Teams online from anywhere with any device: there's no need to use the VPN from off campus.

We recommending downloading Teams to your computer as it gives you more features than the browser app. 

Download Microsoft Teams for Desktop or mobile


Teaching with Teams

Every taught module at the University will have a Microsoft ‘team’ created for it. All students will be automatically enrolled onto module teams, alongside academic staff.

Use Teams to run teaching sessions online.

  • Students are automatically enrolled into the team as 'students'
  • Convenors and teachers are automatically enrolled as 'teachers'
  • You can schedule meetings, share documents and post messages within your module teams.

There is no link between the student timetable in SDS and Microsoft Teams calendar.

Module sub-groups (such as seminar groups) are not automatically created (see Seminar groups below).

Seminar groups aren't created for you in Teams. 

You could create a public channel for each seminar group. Each member can chat about seminar topics and discuss or highlight the resources in Moodle. However, if you schedule meetings in the channel, all students and staff on the module will be invited, not just members of that seminar group. Your communications would need to make it clear that only members of that group should attend.

How to invite seminar group members only 

  • Open the Teams app on your computer
  • Click on Calendar in the left menu to see your work calendar
  • Double-click on a day/time in your calendar to schedule a meeting and manually invite the relevant students only. This meeting will then be held in Teams but won't be attached to the module team. It could be set as a recurring meeting for the duration of the term.  

For any meeting in Teams, the event attendance list can be exported from the meeting participants menu.

Training and support sessions

Ask us about using Teams at the weekly Wednesday drop-in, 10.00 - 11.00. Paste this link into your calendar: Join the M365 support meeting via Teams

To find out how to do everything you’ll need to do with Teams, book onto a virtual training session. The session will cover how to:

  • Activate your module teams
  • Use module class teams
  • Set up channels
  • Collaborate on files
  • Schedule meetings
  • Present in meetings
  • Create and managing recordings

How to book

The first session is on 8 September: click on a date in this booking calendar to see what times are available, and click a time to book.

Self-paced training on using Teams for teaching is available as part of this new Moodle module Teaching with Microsoft 365

Chat/call with text, audio or video

Even if you're not a member of a team, you can use the chat features.  

Start a text chat

There are two ways to start a chat:

  • Click the Chat icon in the left menu
  • Click the pen and paper icon at the top of Teams, next to the search box

Once the Chat section is open, click New chat and add contacts as needed.

Start an audio or video call

You can start an audio or video call from a text chat, or:

  1. Click Calls in the left menu
  2. Click Contacts to find someone at Kent

Calling external or personal contacts

Naming group chats for easy reference

In the Recent chats list (in the left menu) it shows your recent individual and group chats. 

To make the group chats more identifiable:

  1. Click one of the group chats so it opens in the right window 
  2. To give the chat a useful name, click on the pencil icon next to the list of contact names, and give it a group name

View or add chat participants

If the chat's group name doesn't list the participants, you can still view the participants, and add new ones:

  • Click the 'View and add participants' icon in the top right of the window

Hide chats you don't need anymore

To tidy up your list of chats on the left, you can also hide any that you don't think you'll need to use anymore. 

  1. Click on the ellipses ... for the chat in the left menu
  2. Choose Hide

Creating a team

  • Initially, use your organisational arrangement as a guide for grouping. Create one team for your section, and use channels for each team within your section
  • For example, instead of creating a separate teams for Admin and one for Finance, have one team for a group named Business Support, and create channels for Admin and Finance
  • As you become more familiar with Microsoft Teams, you can add more your departmental teams or for topics such as projects
  • Recommendation: start with as few teams as possible and add teams as you identify where distinct teams are preferable to channels

Benefits of this approach

  • It's better to start with fewer teams, and add as you need them, rather than start with too many and reduce them
  • It promotes cross-section collaboration and prevents information silos, with shared channels visible to all members
  • There will be fewer teams to monitor, and team owners can see all channels for an easy overview

Do not use ‘special characters’

Your team name can't include any of the following characters:

~ # % & * { } + / \ : < > ? | ' "

It will affect functionality such as meetings.

If your team name uses these characters, don't rename it. Information Services are currently investigating the best way to deal with this issue.

Information Services has responsibility for managing names, and may need to delete your team if a name is confusing. This would mean losing its history (chat, files etc).

Prefix your team name with your departmental name (or its abbreviation) or use KENT. Make it identifiable to everyone at Kent, and use the same prefix for all the teams in your department.

For example, Estates-Customer Services or EST-Customer Services is OK;  Customer Services as a teame name won't work. We can't have duplicate names across Kent.

We recommend that you set the following default settings on your Teams by clicking the three ellipses (...) next to your Team and selecting Manage Team. These are recommendations to start you off; Team owners can change these settings later as needed.

Recommended settings:

  • Let members delete their messages
  • Let members edit their messages
  • Let members create and update channels
  • Let members create, update and remove tabs  
  • Don't let members create private channels  
  • Don't let members delete and restore channels  

  • Open Teams 
  • Click Teams in the left side bar
  • Click Join or create a team then Create a team 
  • Choose Build a team from scratch 
  • Choose Private (a Public team would be open to anyone at the University, including students) 
  • Enter a name (following the naming guidelines above), and click Create
  • Add members to the team by name or email 

If you get an error when creating a team, try to create it outside of business hours 09:00 - 17:00 if possible. Microsoft servers are busiest during those times as usage has surged to meet the national increase in home working.  

Add channels

Team owners can allocate permissions for who can create private and public channels. If you can't set up channels and you think you should, contact the team owner. To see who the team owner is, click on the ... next to the team name, then on Manage team.

Your team comes with a General channel but it’s a good idea to set up more as soon as you can. 

We recommend adding channels for each function within your team. Channels enable you to create separate discussion spaces and file storage areas around a topic. 

  • Click the … button next to your Team name 
  • Click Add channel and give it a name:
    - don't use any of the following special characters in its name: 
    ~ # % & * { } + / \ : < > ? | ' "
    Channel names also can't start with an underscore (_) or period (.), or end with a period (.) 
  • Choose between Standard (open to anyone with access to your team) or Private (open by invitation only)
  • Tick Automatically show this channel in everyone’s channel list to show the channel to everyone in your team. If you don't tick this, team members will see a hidden channel heading: when they click on it, it opens to reveal the channels below it

Do not use ‘special characters’

Your channel name can't include any of the following characters:

~ # % & * { } + / \ : < > ? | ' "

Channel names also can't start with an underscore (_) or period (.), or end with a period (.).  

It will affect functionality such as meetings.

If your channel name uses these characters, don't rename it. Information Services are currently investigating the best way to deal with this issue.  

Hold a seminar / meeting and providing captions

All staff can use Teams to host or join virtual meetings.

Meetings in Teams can be audio or video conference sessions that allow people to connect from any device. They can be arranged with specific attendees only, or can be set up in a channel.

Organise meetings with specific attendees 

  1. Click Calendar in the left menu in Teams 
  2. + New Meeting button
  3. Add Title, attendees, time etc 
  4. You can add a channel now or later 
  5. Save to send out invites to attendees and put the meeting in your calendar 

To start the meeting, click on it from your Calendar in either Teams or Outlook 

Meeting in a channel 

If you organise the meeting in a Team channel, there will be a notification posted to the team members. Members join by opening that channel in Teams and clicking join. This signposts the meeting to everyone in the team, so you don't need to add them individually.

Meet now 

  • The Meet now button on the calendar tab creates a private meeting space where you can invite attendees from the team
  • To create an instant meeting in a channel, go to the posts tab and click the meet now button at the bottom
  • For a 1:1 video call you can also use the Chat section of Teams

Present in a meeting 

  • You can present content with the Share button at the bottom of the screen
  • You can present your Desktop, a Window or a PowerPoint 

The PowerPoint option will show any presentation stored in the team. You can present others with the Window option if you have them open.

Tips for running virtual seminars / meetings and using captions

  • Turn on live captions: click the '...' and it brings up the attached menu where you can switch on: full instructions for live captions
  • Ask everyone to take turns to speak, to face their camera and speak clearly
  • If anyone asks a question or makes a comment: repeat it to make sure everyone heard it correctly
  • Record your meeting so your students / colleagues can watch it back for revision or to check what was said if they missed anything in the moment
  • Check the captions afterwards and correct any anomalies 

Watch a Microsoft video on setting up meetings or follow the steps below. 

Discussion panel 

There's a discussion panel for text conversations in meetings. Open or close this with the conversation button at the bottom.

If you meet in a channel, any team member can open the meeting and read the conversation history after the meeting has finished.

File sharing and collaboration

All staff can use Teams to share files and collaborate on files within Teams.

Prefer to watch? Microsoft video about working with files in Teams 

Uploading files to Teams 

  • Each channel has a Files area 
  • Drag and drop from Explorer 
  • Use the upload files button 
  • Post in the team conversation 

Where files are stored

Files are stored securely in the channel/team. Files are accessible anywhere with internet access, no VPN is needed.

Who can access files? 

  • Only team members, guests and owners have access to files 
  • Once on Teams, the files do not belong to any specific person, and any member can read, edit or delete them 
  • To see team members, go to the  next to the team name and click manage team (all members can do this) 

Collaborative editing 

  • Many people can work simultaneously on a file
  • Work on Microsoft Office documents directly within Teams 
  • It shows you who's got the file open, and any changes happening by different users in real time
  • A new version is created every time the document is closed, not every time a change is made during live editing
  • You can roll back to an older version - see Recovering information below

Recovering information 

A recoverable version is created each time a file is closed, not each time it's saved

When editing bear this in mind

  • Not all changes are recoverable
  • Close the file if you want to create a new version

Find previous versions

Open the file in SharePoint or OneDrive in the browser and then:

  • Go to document menu ()
  • Then Version history
  • From there, you can view or restore previous versions 

If the file was deleted, you can find it again in the recycle bin: 

  1. Open the file in SharePoint or OneDrive in the browser  
  2. Find the Recycle Bin in the left menu 
  3. Select the file and click Restore in the bar above 

Downloading files 

You can download a local copy of a file with the Download button. This will not update the original on Teams so avoid this when multiple people are working on a file as versions won't be in sync.

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