Use MS Teams like a pro


That’s an attention grabbing headline, but the message behind it is simple: You can use Teams for videoconferencing, and it’s OK. But that’s like using an aircraft carrier to sail across the village pond. Teams is a fully featured collaboration platform.

Essential to this is live document collaboration – perhaps the most underused, but significant, aspect of Teams. Upload an Office file to a channel in a team (or create a new one directly there), and all of the team members can edit it at the same time (or in their own time). Editing permissions are automatically granted. Then join each other in a video or audio conference at the same time, and you can discuss your work as you do it.

Participants can work on documents that directly relate to the knowledge being developed (e.g. history students co-writing an article on the origins of WWII). Or they might co-edit documents that help them to organise and reflect on learning activities. In their excellent guide Leading Groups Online, Jeanne Rewa and Daniel Hunter provide examples of slides that they use for this purpose. For example:

©Rewa and Hunter, 2020.

This approach enables a more fluid kind of collaborative working. Software developers, designers, and many other professions use this approach as a normal practice, to collaborate just-in-time in a more focussed way.

Here’s a demo of how it works.

Dr Robert O'Toole NTF

Senior Teaching Fellow, Arts Faculty, University of Warwick. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, National Teaching Fellow, Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence.

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