SIUC Dept. of Communication Studies RSOs
The Communication Career Council provides Southern Illinois University Carbondale students with career-ready skills training and job preparation in business communication and organizational communication. Because we are preparing ourselves for the workplaces of the future, we try to stay ahead of workplace trends. Therefore, when Covid-19 came onto the scene and led to cancellation of classes and in-person meetings, we thought to ourselves— “no problem!” We'll just keep using Microsoft Teams.
While many people were adjusting to working and collaborating online, it was business as usual for us. This is because we were already proficiently using Microsoft Teams before C-19 hit. Of course, in-person meetings would have been preferred. But we did not fall apart. In some ways, we were more productive.
We are a student-led class that adheres to a mantra never stop training. So we were super excited when we received a note that the Microsoft Store – Oakbrook Center was offering a webinar on Microsoft Teams. We immediately signed up.
Wowzah! We are thrilled that we joined this session. The host and trainer, Paul Roumeliotis, did an amazing job. He was very thorough and patient. We not only learned things we did not know about Microsoft Teams but, as a bonus, we observed how to deliver effective online training sessions. In this post, we offer three things that impressed us about Teams, which we hope will impress you too.
For those nervous about using Teams, note that it can be used in a browser, PC or Mac app, or phone/tablet app. Functionality may change across these devices; however, using Teams is just as easy as using Zoom. Anyone can join a meeting without installation of software.
For those using Office 365, Teams is available in the waffle menu of Outlook or via the chat icon (see Image 1)
How to Get to Microsoft Teams via Outlook
Image 1. Menu in MS Outlook
#1. The Search Bar is So Much More!
The search bar is located at the top of the Teams window (see Image 2). Here are a few things users can do in the search bar:
Image 2. Search bar in MS Teams
When we type /call [space] options appear. If we then type Craig Engstrom this person will populate. (See Image 3.) Because this is connected to Outlook, all users (faculty, staff, advisors, students) will be in the database.
Image 3. Calling in MS Teams
#2. Chat is Not Just Chat
Chat keeps a record of users’ conversations with students and colleagues, which can be saved, shared, or assigned. Teams is better than email for quick side conversations. To get to chat, just click the chat icon (item 1 in Image 4).
Image 4. Menu tab in chat menu.
What is more awesome than awesome? Users can add apps by clicking the “+” in the menu (see item 2 in Image 4). (FYI: this is a feature in the Teams Channel as well. See Image 5.)
So many apps! Go forth and be productive!
Image 5. Screenshot of Apps menu in MS Teams.
Other things to note about chat:
Image 6. Screenshot of Chat in MS Teams
Image 7. Editing text in MS Teams. Photo by Microsoft.
#3. Teams is a Fully Functional Communication Portal and Learning Management System
Image 8. MS Teams as an LMS
Everything in the Microsoft universe is now fully integrated. If users save a file in Teams, it is in their OneDrive. If they schedule a meeting, it is in their Outlook Calendar. If they are not logged into Teams, they will receive an email with the voicemail or text message.
Teams can create a SharePoint portal that links back to the Team platform. Video calls that are recorded are saved in Microsoft Stream, making them easy to share.
As highlighted in the image below, users can schedule assignment release dates, due dates, and accept submissions (which can be in MS Word for immediate online editing—saving instructors time). Use the Planner to schedule tasks.
Set up a private channel for specific members of a team or class. Users can integrate their phone system and make and receive calls directly through Teams.
A few practical tips:
Bonus: Want More? Just click on Apps/Help