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Microsoft Teams – January update

21 Jan 2021

An update on guest access and new features including breakout rooms

Microsoft Teams image

MS Teams is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications and provides a space to chat, hold meetings, make calls and share files – it is the preferred tool for communication and collaboration across the University. 

Guest access

Guest access allows people outside of our University to be added to a Team – so that together you can collaborate on documents and share files. It is not currently enabled. 

The intention is to open up guest access as soon as is possible, but a number of security checks are still in progress. These checks are to ensure the security measures in place are robust and that guests can only access the data we want to share with them. Several colleagues from specific research areas have volunteered to work with IT Services and the Information Governance Office (IGO) in conducting theses checks during January and early February. We anticipate this work will be completed by early March and a recommendation made to the University’s End User Computing Operational Board, shortly afterwards. 

Guest access for colleagues working in the NHS is being progressed separately as it requires a slightly different solution to comply with NHS security protocols. At the moment this work is experiencing delays due to Covid-19 and we therefore cannot give a timescale for delivery.

We understand that many of you want to use Teams as an external collaboration tool now, but we ask that you understand the need to ensure that our security measures are robust and safeguards are working as expected.

New features

Microsoft regularly introduces enhancements and new features. Last month Teams Breakout Rooms became available, allowing meeting organisers to create up to 50 rooms where you can choose to automatically or manually assign participants to them. This functionality is particularly useful if you want to run smaller sub-groups to facilitate discussions and ideas. Find out how to create and run breakout rooms

Teams usage

In December the number of active daily users on Teams surpassed 7,000, with just short of 1,200 meetings being attended on one day alone. On a typical working day we are seeing around 1,000 one-to-one Teams calls and a staggering 40-50,000 chat messages. We’ve also created more than 1,000 official collaborative groups – known as Teams – for specific working groups, departments, projects and course units. 

Teams has helped reduce the number of emails we’re sending, replacing it with real time communication and collaboration. For many, Teams has been a vital tool supporting remote working, keeping us connected not just with our colleagues but with students too. 

Need help using Teams? 

Help and support is available from our dedicated Microsoft Teams website.

You can also ask question to our Technology Champions via the Microsoft 365 Yammer group.