3 Teams features that help keep online classrooms connected

For many educators, the shift to remote and hybrid learning has meant increasingly long hours and creative lesson planning to ensure an inclusive learning experience for all students. These stories are the inspiration behind creating new ways to improve learning experiences for educators and students alike.

A new set of Microsoft Teams updates can help by making it easier for educators and students to stay engaged and empowered. More than just video calls, Teams is a comprehensive learning hub that integrates with learning management systems (LMS), giving educators what they need to create inclusive, student-centered classrooms.

“I started using Teams with OneNote Class Notebook. [Teams] gives me options—it’s a chat space, our assignments, the grade book—so it’s really like an LMS. I’ve loved using these tools not only for my classes, but in my other roles as an administrator, as a student advisor, and as a researcher in my field.”

– Valentina DeNardis, Director of Classical Studies at Villanova University

With the current need to limit in-person interaction, schools are recognizing that orientation shouldn’t be one single event, but an ongoing program that keeps students engaged throughout the year. So, how will institutions continue to present all their welcome and informational sessions each quarter or semester when classes may be online or hybrid, and when many students may not physically travel to campus?

See how everything comes together in Teams with the following updates that help students feel connected and give educators the confidence to run successful classrooms from anywhere.

1. Together Mode Together Mode offers an alternative to Gallery View, the video conferencing feature that frames students in a grid format. If selected, this option will bring students out of their individual tiles and transport them into a shared setting, whether an auditorium, a conference room, or coffee shop—all Together Mode virtual venues coming this fall. This helps faculty set the tone for their meetings and brings an in-person feeling to the virtual classroom.

2. Professional Development Training With dozens of on-demand resources and tailored group sessions guided by Microsoft Store associates, professional development training on Teams and other tools helps support inclusive, student-centered learning. The sessions are not only beneficial for faculty but for the whole school, as they help educators learn new ways of engaging with students through technology.

3. Education Insights Organized by class, Education Insights offers a window into students’ activity, from attendance to engagement in class conversations. With spotlights on important trends, the Education Insights dashboard helps educators understand the needs of their classes and save themselves time in planning, providing feedback, and offering help where needed.

“I’ve loved having the Insights tool within Teams. I think it’s especially useful during remote learning because it can be hard to gauge how much students are engaged with the course material. If you see a student slipping, you can use the Insights tool in Microsoft Teams to see how often they’re logging in and working with the material.”

– Valentina DeNardis, Director of Classical Studies at Villanova University

We hope these and other new Teams features help your faculty continue to connect and collaborate with their classrooms, leading to a more positive and productive experience for students.

Start integrating these rich education resources with your institution’s LMS. And if you don’t have Teams yet, get your school signed up for free today.

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