How to use Microsoft Teams for Instructional Purposes

If you want to use Microsoft Teams to host an instructional learning session, here is an easy step by step guide based on the workflow of our own Training Department. This uses Teams Meetings which is available with all Microsoft Office 365 licenses.

    Microsoft Teams has a lot of great uses for keeping your staff together even when working from different locations. Since it is included with an Office 365 license (and just now being opened free for users), people are finding a variety of ways to incorporate Teams into their regular workflow. This article breaks down some steps and helpful tips for using Teams meetings to provide instruction. Whether is distance learning or a quick demo, Teams is an adaptable tool that can be leveraged for educational purposes.

    Please note, these instructions use Teams Meetings as opposed to the Live Event feature available on some Office 365 licenses. 

    How to schedule the meeting and invite participants

    From within the Teams app, click the calendar icon on the left.

    Click +New meeting button in the upper right.

    Add a clear title, set the date and time, and add any relevant details to your participants. I recommend putting in the details your requirements, that a camera is not required but attendance online to watch the session is.

    Next, enter the email address of all participants before saving. This will send them an invite directly from teams.

    You will have to invite someone before a meeting link will be generated. If you prefer, you can invite one email address, such as an info@ email, to generate the link and then copy and paste that link in a separate email.

    After the Teams video meeting link is generated, you will also be able to edit meeting options at the top, next to the time zone. Click this to open the options menu.

    Adjusting these options may vary based on your needs, but my general recommendation is the following. Leave who can bypass the lobby as everyone in your organization, but change who can present. If you are the only instructor, make it “only me”. If you are having a guest or co-instructor, you can choose “specific people” and enter their email address.

    Starting the meeting

    To start the meeting, first go to your Teams calendar (or Outlook calendar) and click on the event. Then, in the upper right, click join.

    You will have time to review what your camera sees before joining the meeting. You can take this time to blur your background, turn off your camera (you will still be able to screen share), or mute your mic. Click “join now” once you are ready to be seen and heard.

    Quick tip: To reduce background noise and echo, we recommend using a headset instead of the built-in microphone and speakers of your laptop. 

    When presenting an instructional meeting, keeping people on the same page is essential. There is a meeting setting I recommend changing before starting your meeting called private viewing. Click the … more actions button in the lower center of your screen (if you don’t see this bar just wiggle your mouse to wake it up), and go to show device settings. 

    Scroll to the bottom of device settings and turn off private viewing. This will prevent participants from advancing any slides you present.

    While waiting for participants to join, click the show participants button. As outside participants join this will display them as “in the lobby”. You will have to grant them access to the meeting. Click the check mark next to the participant name.

    What about participants entering once the meeting has started? No worries. Once you have started the meeting, if participants join late you will receive a pop up that they are waiting to be admitted. If you miss the pop up it will also have an orange number next to the show participants button to let you know how many people are waiting. You can quickly click to admit them, and get back to your lesson.

    During this Teams meeting, you can mute attendees by clicking the dot dot dot next to their name in the participants view and selecting mute participant. Once there are 4 people, any additional participants will be automatically muted as they join. Keep in mind that any participant can unmute themselves at will. 

    Time to present your learning and instruction session

    Open the meeting chat on the side of your meeting by clicking the show conversation button on the actions bar.

    Make sure you are unmuted and let participants know you are about to begin.

    I recommend asking participants to save questions until you pause for a Q&A break or to type the questions into the meeting chat. That way you don’t have to be too diligent about checking this chat while you are teaching. 

    If you wish to record the lesson, click the more actions … icon and click start recording. Participants will get a notification, but it’s a good idea to give them a heads up as well.

    To share your screen, using the share icon in the middle of the action bar.

    This will bring up the option to select a single window to share, share your whole screen (good for if you need to frequently tab between windows/programs), or open a whiteboard. There are usually integrations with PowerPoint as an option as well.

    If you are sharing a video or any other media with sound from your computer, make sure you check the box that says include system audio in the upper left of this menu.

    Quick tip: before presenting your screen, close out of any application that may cause pop ups such as email, and close any personal windows or internet tabs you wouldn’t want anyone to see.

    While screen sharing, click near the top of your screen to bring up the presentation options. From here you can give control to a co-instructor or click to stop presenting your screen. This will keep the meeting going but will only stop your screen share session.

    To end the call, just click the hangup button.

    Short checklist for starting your instructional meeting

    1. Close out of programs with pop ups or any private windows before starting a meeting.
    2. Preview your camera view (or turn off camera) before clicking join now.
    3. Turn off Private viewing in device/meeting settings.
    4. Click to admit participants as they arrive (mute participants as needed).
    5. Open chat view (recommended).
    6. Click record (optional).
    7. Start your meeting.

    We at Valiant use Teams for a lot of functions, from having virtual meetings and video conference calls, or more lighthearted office morale activities and channels. Our training department has used it many times for remote training sessions, using the steps above. To learn more about Teams and its various uses, or to explore other uses for remote connection and collaboration, visit our knowledge-base

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