Microsoft Teams provides an alternative to Blackboard Discussion boards and Announcements for student discussions and communication within a course. This tool allows for discussion that is easier to participate in and is more conversational in nature, to provide the ability for your students to chat with each other and with you, and/or to help facilitate group work. It’s available on multiple platforms (browser, desktop, and mobile) and requires minimal clicks to make a post.
For instructions on how to Request a Team for a Course please see Getting Started with Microsoft Teams.
There are many ways you could set up Teams to be used in a course, the information below provides a good starting point for most courses.
If you have more than one section for your course and would like to have one Team for both sections, please see Using Microsoft Teams in Merged Sections.
For a typical course, it will likely make sense to have a channel for each module so that students can ask questions related to the module topics and respond to the module Discussion prompts. Because of this, a typical Team setup would likely include the following channels:
- This channel can be used for announcements from the instructor and general questions related to the course as a whole, such as those pertaining to language in the Syllabus, course policies, logistics, etc.
- Module 1
- Module 2
- Module 3
Note: It's recommended when creating the channels to select the option "Automatically show this channel in everyone's channel list." However, MS Teams currently has a limitation that allows only 10 channels to display automatically, so courses with 14 modules will have some channels hidden. You can provide instructions to guide students on how to always keep these channels displayed in their list.
For group work, it typically makes sense to either create a private channel for each group or to have students create a group chat to communicate and collaborate. This is because the rest of the class doesn't usually need to see the individual communication of the groups.
Each semester you will have a different Team space which has a unique link. Therefore, for maintenance purposes it is best to link to Teams on the Blackboard course menu rather than from items within the actual modules. Otherwise, you will have to update the module Item links with the new Team link each time the course runs.
To provide a link to the course's MS Team on the Blackboard course menu:
- Go to the course Team in MS Teams.
- Click the three dots next to the Team name.
- Click Get link to team.
- Click Copy.
- Go to the course in Blackboard.
- Click the plus icon to add a link to the course menu.
- Click Web Link.
- Name the link "Microsoft Teams" and paste the Team link into the URL field.
- Click Submit.
For more information, check out the Microsoft Support information for getting started with Microsoft Teams. If you have difficulty logging in or accessing Microsoft Teams, please contact the Help Desk.