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Microsoft Teams – launch update

04 Aug 2020

Microsoft Teams set to launch for all staff and postgraduate research students

Microsoft Teams logo

Teams will be the new digital hub for communication and collaboration across our University – providing a space to chat, hold meetings, make calls and share files, all together in one place.

IT Services is working to launch Teams for all staff and postgraduate researchers in the week of 17 August, with students getting it later, in September.

The introduction of Teams will allow us to:

  • Make and receive voice and video calls with others across the University.
  • Set up and attend Teams meetings online.
  • Use the chat and messaging features.
  • Collaborate on documents and file share with others inside our University.

Support for Teams and Microsoft 365

Teams is part of Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365), which gives you access to a whole ‘eco-system’ of useful applications – some of which will be available straight away.

As we have accelerated the launch of the Teams platform to be in time for the start of Semester 1, an interim support model of ‘self-serve first’ will be in place.

In terms of guidance and support, colleagues in IT Services have worked with Microsoft to take advice and best practice from other universities that have already launched Teams. The model of ‘self-serve first’ is widely used, mainly because of the range and quality of Microsoft information and training that already exists online. This model means that colleagues will be able to learn about Teams and the Microsoft 365 suite of applications at their own pace using the Microsoft Training Centre , Microsoft Instructor Led Training and Microsoft for Education resources.

A website dedicated to Microsoft Teams is being developed on StaffNet and will go live as part of the launch. There’ll be information on how to download and install Teams and a range of ‘how-to’ guides covering functionality such as meetings, calls, files, collaboration and chat. There’ll also be an extensive range of FAQs for topics such as accessibility and data storage.

Technology Champions

As part of the ‘self-serve first’ support model, there is now an established group of colleagues from across the University who have agreed to be Technology Champions. Their role is to provide support, advice and guidance on getting the best use out of Teams, to encourage new ways of working and to support communication cascades when features or functionality change. A list of Technology Champions and the areas they cover will be available.

Teams for Teaching and Learning

The expectation is that existing Virtual Learning Environments, such as Blackboard, will continue to be the primary mechanism for the delivery of scheduled online teaching (eg discussions, presentations, tutorials etc) for Semester 1. However, Teams will provide text chat, video and audio capabilities and document sharing that will support the Teaching and Learning community to engage with, and between, students outside of their scheduled activities.

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will get access to Teams and the Microsoft suite of applications in time for the start of Semester 1, however some of the features and functionality will be slightly different to what staff will have.

Using Teams

Initially, Teams is not expected to replace applications such as Zoom video conferencing, but it will absolutely enhance and strengthen our communication and collaboration capabilities – especially for our academic and student communities. Teams replaces Lync/Skype for Business, which will be decommissioned in the very near future.

When Teams is launched, you won’t be able to set up your own Team at first - it will be by request and a process for this will be in place. Guest access options are also being explored so that we can communicate and collaborate with external organisations too - the options for guest access are progressing through governance and will be communicated when that decision has been made.

Talking Teams

A small number of colleagues from Professional Services, Teaching and Learning, and Research communities have been using Teams for some time. Watch the first in our series of ‘Talking Teams’ videos, featuring Bernard Strutt, Head of UK Student Recruitment in the Directorate for the Student Experience.