The purpose of this guide is to provide instruction on participating in online courses presented using Microsoft Teams. The document is long because of all the pictures and detailed instructions, but the actual process is very simple!
A separate guide for using Teams on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet can be found under the Student tab on the myTC portal.
Why am I learning Teams? Teams differs from TC’s other online content such as TC Online and eLearning, in that it supports live online meetings that approximate an in classroom environment. Many colleges and universities have adopted Teams or similar products during the Corona virus outbreak to maintain as much of a face-to-face experience for students as possible.
Teams may be used from a web browser or as a Desktop application. Instructions for installing the Desktop app can be found on myTC. These are the instructions for using either web or desktop.
Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge is recommended if using a web browser. You may experience some non-functionality if you use a different web browser.
The first few steps below will get you started using the web browser approach. If you already are using TC Email on the web, you have already completed some of the initial steps. If you are using the Desktop application, start the Teams application, sign in using your TC email username and password, and skip to Using Teams.
Logging into Teams
- Browse to: https://mail.office365.com and sign in using your full TC email.
- Click Next.
- You will be redirected to a second sign-on page. Enter your username and password as shown.
- Click Ok.
Note: This method takes you through TC mail to get to Teams. You can also go straight to the Teams website by entering: https://teams.microsoft.com and signing in from there. The sign-in options will be similar whichever method you choose. After signing in, skip to step 8 if you use this method.
- Within your TC email, you will find meeting invitations from your instructor. Opening the message or clicking RSVP and answering “Yes” adds the meeting to your calendar. The invite is then automatically moved to your “Deleted” items.
- To start the web version of Teams, click the “waffle” icon next to the Outlook title bar. If using Chrome, do not click the Google Apps menu (2) – click the Office 365 menu (1)!
- Select ‘Teams’ from the Office 365 menu.
- The first time you sign into Teams you may be asked permission to access your microphone and camera (if you have a camera). Answer Allow. The camera may be disabled, and your microphone muted before joining an online meeting, but Teams needs access. Click through any other first-time user screens that appear. You will then land on the Teams home page.
** Teams has many features, but today’s goal is to familiarize you with only the essentials needed to begin your online coursework.
What’s a Team? A Team represents one of your classes. If you click the ‘Teams’ icon on the right of the screen, you will see one Team for each class you are in. The Team includes your instructor(s) as owners and students in the class as members.
What’s a Channel? Once you select a Team, you will see the channels area on the left below the name of the team. A channel is like a chapter in a book. The team is the book, the channel is a chapter. Channels allow an instructor to divide the course content by topic, week, or some other criteria. The ‘General’ channel is the default and is for communication not related to a specific topic.
To locate content, you select a Team and then a Channel within that Team. Within the Channel, you can read and post messages, view recorded live sessions, and find other content and assignments.
- Click the Teams icon on the left (1). A list of all your Teams or courses will show next to the menu. Select the course you want to work on (2).
- The course will open and you will see content related to the default channel. This may be the ‘General’ channel or the last channel you were using. In the screen capture to the right, there are 2 channels: the ‘General’ channel and the ‘Teams Fundamentals’ channel. Each channel has separate distinct content. If you aren’t finding what you are looking for, make sure you are on the right channel.
- The Channel menu has 3 tabs: Posts, Files, and Notes. Under the Posts tab, you will find active chats for the channel, scheduled meetings, recordings, etc. Your instructor may direct you to information on the Files or Notes tabs.
- In the Channel content, you see a scheduled meeting (1), and an ongoing chat (2). To join a live, online session you would click the blue bar identified with a (1).
- You can also find scheduled events by clicking the ‘Calendar’ icon midway down on far left of the screen. These events also appear in your calendar located in TC email. Click the Teams icon on the left (1). A list of all your Teams or courses will show next to the menu. Select the course you want to work on (2).
- Clicking the bar in step 4 or the event in your calendar will open an option where you may click on ‘Join Microsoft Teams Meeting’. Click the link to join the meeting at the scheduled time.
- After clicking the link in the previous step, you can choose to disable your camera (1) or mute your microphone (2) before actually joining the meeting (3). Ex: camera off, mic on
- Once you have joined, you may see:
- A message saying “Waiting for others to Join”. Congratulations – you are the first one in class, or “Oops” you showed up at the wrong time or to the wrong meeting.
- Pictures, video feeds, or icons representing other participants who have already joined.
- A shared document or PowerPoint the instructor has put in place to start the meeting with.
- If you move the mouse to the lower part of the screen, you will also see a toolbar where you can disable your camera (1), mute your mic (2), share content if directed to do so (3), view conversations related to the presentation (4), view a list of other participants (5), or leave the meeting (6). Clicking the ellipses (7) provides more options, most notable is “Turn off incoming video.” If you are on a slow Internet connection, shutting off incoming video may improve your experience. You will still see the material being presented by the instructor. Another screen capture, showing an instructor presentation and the chat sidebar:
It is good online etiquette to leave your mic muted unless you are speaking. Muting your mic helps prevent echo in the audio stream. Just remember to unmute if you have something to say!
Another screen capture, showing an instructor presentation and the chat sidebar:
One last topic and that is making calls with Teams. Using the “Calls” icon on the left toolbar, you can make calls to your instructor, your faculty advisor, other students, anyone with a TC account.
When you make a Teams call, you can leave a voicemail if they do not answer. What is different about a Teams call and a regular call is the recipient gets an email for missed calls along with a transcribed version of the call. They can return calls to you using the same mechanism.
Teams calls are a good way to stay connected when not physically on campus.
That is the basics of using Teams! While there is a lot more that could be covered, this should be enough to get you started. There is a “Help” icon at the bottom of the vertical toolbar that will take you to additional training on Teams that includes online videos. You may also do web searches on ‘Microsoft Teams’ to find additional training information and what others are doing with the software.
Although you and your TC instructors are faced with the necessity of adjusting to this unexpected shutdown of the traditional classroom, you are learning a skill that will prove extremely valuable in our online world.
Download a pdf version of Introduction to Microsoft Teams.