IT services

Microsoft Teams launch update

IT Services is working to launch Teams for all staff and PGRs in the week of 17 August.

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

The introduction of Teams will allow you 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 within the University.

Support for Teams and Microsoft 365

Teams is part of Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) and we have accelerated the launch of the Teams platform to be in time for the start of Semester 1. To get everyone started, an interim support model of ‘self-serve first’ will be in place. This 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.

Colleagues in IT Services have worked with Microsoft to take advice and looked at 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, and so we’re sure it will pose no problems here.

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, Technology Champions will 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 as we launch.

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 (e.g discussions, presentations, tutorials etc) for Semester 1. However, Teams will provide text chat, video and audio capabilities and document sharing that will enhance and support Teaching and Learning outside of scheduled activities.

Undergraduate and PGT 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.

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. It will, however, replace 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 we hope to have an update soon.

We will provide updates over the coming weeks as the launch of Teams progresses.

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