Enhancing synchronous Teams sessions

You are probably becoming more familiar with using Teams to run what were your face-to-face teaching sessions. Once you become more confident, you can consider how to increase student learning through incorporating more activities. These tips are taken from the experiences of people working in Teams over the last few weeks.

  • Be strategic about which sessions become Teams sessions. Neither you nor your students want to be in Teams for the whole day.
  • Find ways to break up your session into smaller units, e.g. present 5 slides then pause, to allow you to check the chat for student questions, problems etc.
  • Sessions that in face-to-face teaching are over an hour and highly interactive won’t work as one long Teams session. So start with a short Teams presentation, then set tasks for students to undertake outside Teams, and then meet back in the main Teams space later to report back.
  • Try to work with a colleague – it is great experience for you to see each other’s practice and gain confidence, and to have another pair of eyes/hands, for example monitoring the chat for questions and muting people’s mikes if they’ve forgotten.

In the session:

  • Arrive in the Teams space early
  • Give students clear instructions before they enter the session about microphone, video and chat use, and reinforce this by having a slide with the same messages up when they enter the meeting. See these tips for Teams teaching.
  • Try to say hello by name as they enter the meeting. You’ll see people arrive in the participants list – ask them to say hello in the chat – this is another way to get a feel for how many students are attending and participating.
  • Make the most of being able to see students’ names – say their names, write their names in the chat, encourage them to address each other by name.
  • Leave time at the end of the session for students to keep on chatting. You can stop the recording but leave the meeting running. Give people a couple of minutes warning that you’ll be closing the session in the chat and over the audio, and maybe suggest they carry on in personal chats if they’d like.

Interaction in Teams

You can do some simple activities in the chat function within the Teams session, beyond students asking questions.

  • Students can ask questions, and you can ask other students to like their favourite/most relevant/important questions
  • Ask a numbered question and ask students to reply in the chat starting with Q1 etc, so these responses are easy to spot.
  • Ask students to start their chat message with a word that their contribution relates to e.g. Question, Comment, Link.
  • Ask students to rate their confidence in a particular topic using emojis or Gifs.

Other activities to run during Teams sessions

  • Send students on web quests. You can leave the Teams meeting running while they find information online and then return to share links in the chat.
  • Students can work collaboratively in groups on a file e.g. a Word document. This can be held in the files area of the Teams site, and worked on in Teams or ideally opened in a web browser.
  • Students can also undertake group work by coming out of the Teams meeting and using new channels to run their own live meetings, before reporting back to the main Teams meeting.
  • Use the Microsoft Whiteboard tool to complement the session, as you would in a face-to-face session, but they are also shareable and provide another way for students to interact with you and each other.

If you’ve made a recording it will appear as a link in the Teams channel that the meeting took place in. Copy the link and post it into studentcentral for students who couldn’t attend to access. Chats are also saved in the Teams channel so you and students can refer to them later.

Keep referring back to other sections of this blog, and the Remote Teaching Teams site for further information or to report any problems.

NEXT STEP – Enhancing engagement and interactivity in studentcentral pages >>>

Skip to toolbar