Thinking about using Teams with Students?

With the recent and abrupt transition to online learning and teaching there have been a range of different tools adapted to fit a variety of purposes. Coping with this massive change through using ‘what you’re comfortable with’ is understandable, but with all new tools there are implications.

A regular question in this time of moving teaching online is whether Microsoft Teams should be used with students. Teams is part of the Office 365 suite and provides a shared workspace where you can chat, meet, share files, and work with business apps.

In some instances, teaching staff have begun to adopt Teams for use with their students. Indeed, Teams has the potential to create spaces for students to collaborate and drive the thinking around their own learning and, as such, can be a powerful tool for student collaboration on group projects.

Remember however, that using Collaborate for your workshops and tutorials and Kaltura for your lectures and audio and video content is always the preferred method of online teaching delivery. Teams should never act as a substitute for these core technologies. Tools like Collaborate are supported, and indeed more flexible and integrated in the FLO ecosystem.

You are not missing out by sticking with supported tools in the FLO ecosystem. Students are already using existing technologies to collaborate and co-author, and the tools that exist in the core and recommended ecosystem at Flinders are regularly backed up, supported and can be troubleshooted for staff and students. At this time, Microsoft Teams is not a core learning technology, meaning that support for staff and students to troubleshoot is limited due to lack of ‘administrator’ access.

While using Teams is a choice open to Topic Coordinators and Tutors it should be made in consultation with both Teaching Program Directors and your eLearning Team. We need to emphasise that Teams should never be used for:

  • delivery of topic materials;
  • as the only channel of communication with students;
  • delivery of tutorials and workshops; or
  • assessment

In addition, before deciding on Teams as an option, please be aware that there will likely be an overhead of administration and management given that you will be the Team ‘owner’. This might make Teams unsustainable particularly for topics with large student numbers.

If you are considering Teams, it is a good idea to discuss first with your local eLearning team and to consider using other FLO tools. We are here to help you choose technology that supports student learning and collaboration, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

Written by Aidan Cornelius-Bell
Learning Designer (HASS) – CILT

Posted in
Ed tech

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