There are a range of new features that have recently been added (or are soon to be added) to Teams in order to help you to enhance your online learning experience.

What is available now?

Raise Hand

The raise hand feature allows participants of the meeting to alert the organiser that they wish to speak. This can help to create some organisation within an online session, and prevents participants from speaking over each other. The raise hand feature can also be used as a quick and easy way to poll participants about their preference of what to cover next or response to a simple question you set. This short video explains how to use the raise hand feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTrBTODvXSs

Change meeting options in the participants panel

There are several different settings you can change as the organiser of the meeting. You can decide whether someone can join the meeting instantly, or if they must be approved to enter the meeting. You can also choose to be notified when a participant joins or leaves and choose who can present the meeting. For further information on how to change these options, follow this link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/change-participant-settings-for-a-teams-meeting-53261366-dbd5-45f9-aae9-a70e6354f88e?ui=en-us&rs=en-us&ad=us

Custom video backgrounds

When broadcasting your video during a Teams meeting (on a desktop device) you can now select to use a custom background, as well as those provided as standard (don’t forget – you can also blur your background if you choose). The custom background feature could be vital in your online delivery. One suggestion could be to supply your students with the same background to use, so that your students are all seeing the same setting. Another idea could be to host a fun competition to see who can create the best background! This video explains how to use the custom backgrounds feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjPapIyutHI

Attendance reports

The attendance report feature is great for your online teaching, as it means you can keep track of who is regularly attending the Teams meetings, and who tends to miss them. Please note: with this first release of the Attendance Report, you must download the report during the meeting, before the session ends. This short tutorial shows you how to download the attendance report for your meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBJ3hQx0-GE

Kahoot available as an app

Kahoot – the popular game-based quizzing/learning application – is now available to be integrated as an app within Teams. You will have full access to your kahoots from within the Kahoot Teams tab and you will be able to launch live games in meetings or assign self-paced challenges in channels without leaving Teams. This article guides you through installation, using Kahoot and collating results: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/education-blog/make-distance-learning-fun-with-kahoot-and-microsoft-teams/ba-p/1412939

What is coming soon?

7×7 video support on desktop – coming Autumn 2020

Students and educators will be able to see up to 49 participants on screen during a Teams meeting, imitating a real-life classroom.

“Wait in lobby” for students – coming Summer 2020

This update will mean that the academic can make students wait in a lobby if they join the meeting before the academic does. This prevents students from using the meeting space on their own without supervision from the tutor.

Breakout rooms – coming Autumn 2020

A feature much requested by the Teams community, breakout rooms will soon be available for live events and video calls. This is great for group based active learning, as it means you can schedule when these meetings are going to take place and can switch between rooms to supervise the conversations taking place. Other features that are expected to come with this are as follows:

  • Option to assign users to a specific room
  • Option to random assign users to a specific room
  • Breakout rooms have a time limit for how long they last before everyone being bought back to the group
  • The ability to appoint a moderator of a breakout room

One thought on “New Features Available in Microsoft Teams

  • July 14, 2020 at 09:57
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    Hi, some of these such as changing your background are only available on a PC/Mac or laptop, not on an iPad. This makes them difficult to use as we don’t want to alienate those students whose only kit is a university iPad.
    It will be interesting to see which of the new features are available on the iPad. I’m hoping all of them, but I’m not holding out much hope!

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