15 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks for Teachers

We all want to make online teaching as easy as possible! Microsoft Teams is one of the main platforms for online teaching. While Teams is pretty easy to use, there are so many different features that it is hard to know which ones are the most useful! Below, we’ve listed the best (& easiest!) Teams tips and features for you to transform your classroom without changing the way you teach.

Table Of Contents

Teams Tips for Before Class 

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1. Hard mute attendees: To ensure that students do not unmute themselves, change your meeting settings. To do this you must be the meeting organizer. Edit your upcoming meeting, and click on the Meeting Options. A new window will pop-up with customizable options. Switch “Allow attendees to unmute” to “No.” Then, set who can present to “Only me.”

Quick Tip! Control+Shift+M to quickly mute and unmute your mic.
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2. Set specific people to present/share: If you have a co-teacher or a student you know will be presenting in class, you can set specific people to present. In the same Meeting Options, you can set the exact participant(s) that you want.

Tip 1 & 2 can be edited during your meeting as well! During your class, on the top toolbar, click the "..." (More Actions button) and click on the meeting options. You can then change your mute and presenter settings. 
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3. Don’t allow students to start class without you: To be the only one who can begin your class, you can edit who can bypass the lobby. This way, students cannot be in the meeting without your permission. In the same Meeting Options as in Tips 1 & 2, change “Who can Bypass the Lobby” to only you.

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4. Disable chat feature for your meetings: Some teachers want students to be fully concentrated on the class without having the distraction of the chat being open. To disable students to type in the chat, head to your Channel Settings. Then click on Manage Permissions check the box so that you are the only one to post messages.

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5. Turn on noise suppression: The noise suppression feature of teams is great. In your Profile, head to Settings, then Devices. You will see a box for the level of noise suppression you prefer. The high setting will block out all noise around you, however, it does take up quite a bit of your computer resources. The low setting will be able to block out the dogs barking, sirens, or any fans you have in your room.

Teams Tips for During Class

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6. Use the Spotlight feature: The Spotlight feature of Teams allows you to highlight a particular video. If you want your students to focus on your video instead of the whole class, you can spotlight your video so they see it full screen. Students are not able to spotlight themselves or other people, but you can spotlight a student’s video if they are doing a presentation. To use this feature, open the Participant tab during your meeting. Then if you right-click, or click on the “…” on your name or a student’s, you can choose ” Spotlight.”

Read this next: 5 Pieces Of Advice For More Engaging Online Teaching

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7. Get a transcript of your class: If you would like a transcript for yourself or for any students that have missed class you can now do so in Teams! First, your meeting must be recorded. Then, you can download and open it in Microsoft Stream. From there, you are able to view the transcript and edit any mistakes for a more accurate transcription.

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8. Turn on live captions: If you or your students do not have a strong connection, your audio might cut in and out. To help with this, turn on live captions. Your students will be able to see what you are saying along with hearing. In the More Actions button (“…”) click to turn on the Live Captions. As of now, English is the supported language.

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9. Download attendee list: To track your students’ attendance, you can now download a report that tells you exactly when students entered and left your class. This report must be downloaded before your meeting ends! To download, open the Participant tab, and click on the “…” Then click to download the attendance report. Then you can open the excel document. After the meeting has ended, only your IT department will have access to the report.

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10. Use Breakout Rooms: This feature of Teams has been much anticipated by so many teachers. Using Breakout rooms allows you to easily split your class into different groups for students to discuss and collaborate with each other. To use this, go to the Breakout Room icon on the top toolbar and choose to split your class Automatically or Manually.

Teams Tips for After Class or Anytime 

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11. Check out the Insights tab: To further analyze how your students are utilizing teams, check out the Insights tab. Within Insights, there is a dashboard for students’ activities. You can view how active students are, where they spend most of their time, and which assignments troubled them the most. This is so helpful to see how your students are doing in your class. Filter these insights by student, date range, or a specific activity.

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12. Post an announcement: To highlight an important post in your channel, change the post from a conversation to an announcement. This will allow you to have a banner in a different color to make your post stand out. To do this, create a new post and under new conversation, click to change the post to announcement.

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13. Pin a post in a channel: You can pin any posts in Teams so that when you click on the channel information, you can easily see the post without having to scroll through all other posts. On any post, click on the “…” and click Pin. To view it, click the “i” to view the channel information. Chat messages can be pinned in the same way to create a list of messages you need to respond to, or that you chat in often. You can unpin any messages or posts when you need to.   

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14. Create Polls: Adding Polls to your channel or during a meeting will get your student actively engaged. Add a Forms Poll to any post. In a meeting, click on the Forms button and add a new poll right into the chat.

For more interactive polls & other question types to do with your students during your PowerPoint presentation, use ClassPoint. 
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15. Use emojis: To add an interesting image to your channel or Team names, add an emoji! When naming your channel or team, use the Windows key + “.” and your emoji keyboard will open.

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16. Create a new Team using a template: The next time you create a Team, you can use an existing team as a template. For many industries, Teams has preformatted templates but unfortunately, they have not made any for education yet. Hopefully soon!

Common FAQ’s

Thanks for reading through these Teams tips and tricks. Below are some of the most common questions teachers have regarding Teams.

How do I stop students from starting the meeting without me?

In your meeting options, you can change who is allowed to bypass the lobby. If you change this to “Only Me,” you are the only one who can begin the meeting. You students will have to wait to be admitted into the class until you have begun.

How can I stop students from unmuting themselves?

First, you must be the meeting organizer. Then, go into your meeting options, and switch “Allow attendees to unmute” to “No.” Then, set who can present to “Only me.”

Can I get some sort of attendance report for my class?

Yes! Before your meeting ends, you can download a report that lets you know when students joined the call, if any of them left during class time, and when they rejoined. Make sure you download this from the participants tab BEFORE your meeting ends.

For more information on Microsoft Teams, check out the following articles:

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