College is a major life transition for students as they take on greater responsibility for managing their schedules and fulfilling their academic and extracurricular obligations. Juggling classes, clubs, volunteering, work, sports, and internships can leave students feeling overwhelmed. To provide students with one connected experience, Microsoft created a digital home within Teams for Education that centralizes all the resources students need in one, easy to access place.

Creating a digital home in Microsoft Teams for higher education with Viva Connections for Education

Microsoft Viva Connections for Education is a digital platform that aims to simplify college students' lives. This platform is integrated into Microsoft Teams for Education, making it easy for students to access all the tools they need in one place. Each student has their own personalized dashboard which acts as a digital home base for their academic journey, including important deadlines, events, and opportunities. 

Home screen of Viva Connections for Education on a full screen and mobile device.

Viva Connections for Education recognizes that students need support to simplify their academic experience. The platform offers access to their institution's intranet, enabling students to collaborate with peers and educators on relevant content and files. Students can also connect to third-party applications such as the institution's LMS or other internal services, further streamlining their workflow.

The platform's dashboard cards can be tailored to each student's individual needs, based on their area of study, extracurricular interests, and other preferences. This allows students to manage their academic and personal lives from a single location, with features such as organizing their courses, assignments, extracurricular activities, tuition payments, internship opportunities, scholarship applications, and more.

Viva Connections Dashboard student view.

Institutions can easily share updates in real time, so college students can stay up to date on class registration deadlines, recently chartered clubs looking for members, or upcoming speakers visiting campus. Additionally, students can select their preferred language and access the platform on their mobile devices, making it even more convenient. Students get what they need to be successful all in one place.  

Learn more about Viva Connect for Education.

More new updates to Teams for Education

Aside from the Viva Connections integration, two new features are coming to Microsoft Teams for Education assignments in April! The first helps you prioritize what students see in the active assignments tab. You can now mark assignments as inactive to help organize the assignments list. This is especially useful for optional assignments that don't require a submission or aren't required for every student. By marking these assignments as inactive, you can clear up the assignments list, allowing students to focus on what's most critical. Don't worry, though! When an assignment is marked as inactive, it's still accessible in the completed assignment list and gradebook for you and your students.

Demonstration of how to mark an assignment inactive.

We’re also pleased to announce an update to streamline the creation of Teams assignments! With more space for instructions, a quick new scheduling option, and a simplified selection of options, you can now create assignments in less time, making the process more productive and efficient than ever before. These updates will provide a clean, modern experience across mobile, web, and desktop platforms, allowing you to quickly build assignments without the need for additional dialog boxes.

Reimagined Teams app for Windows

A new and improved version of Microsoft Teams that promises to be faster, simpler, and more flexible is in the works. The new Teams desktop app for Windows is now rolling out for public preview.

Here are some of the features you can expect from the new Teams:

  • It is twice as fast as the old version. This version of Teams will start up faster, you can respond to messages faster, and work better when you're presenting in a meeting. 
  • It uses 50% less memory and battery life, which means your computer will run more smoothly. 
  • You can use multiple accounts and tenants more easily. Stay signed in across them all and receive notifications no matter which one you are currently using. 
  • It is more reliable, secure, and easier to manage. 

Please note that the new Teams interface is only available for Windows Desktop.

To get started, you can opt-in to the new Teams when your roll out arrives. Simply look for a toggle button in the top left corner of the Teams Desktop in your current version of Teams (Classic). Turn the toggle on and access the new Teams experience by clicking "Get it now" to install the new client. If you want to go back to the Classic Teams version, you can simply toggle off the button in the top left corner.

Find out more about the new Teams app for Windows.

Learn more about these updates in What’s New in Microsoft Teams for Education | April 2023.

See what you missed from last month’s updates to Teams for Education.