Author:  Val Lawrenson, SFHEA Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching valawreson@uclan.ac.uk  

Since returning after the summer I had been getting along quite successfully dodging TEAMS. To be honest I thought it was just another intrusion. After all, did we really need another internal communication method?

Teams seemed to have a power and control all its own. I wasn’t sure where it came from, when or why? I did know that each time I logged onto the surface pro it was there magically opening, taking over. 

We didn’t set of on a good footing, me and TEAMS.  The relentless notifications only added to the burden of existing emails. I was notified each time someone, somewhere contributed to the myriad of TEAMS I had been assigned to. I can tell you I was nearly going over the edge especially at one point when YAMMER and TEAMS seemed to be in competition. 

Anyway, I quickly found someone who knew something about TEAMS and at least we were able to deactivate the notification function. The application still opens each time I connect to the internet but at least I’ve regained some control of when and if I chose to engage with its content.  

I’d been in a couple of meetings where the “team site” was referenced. However the absence of an explanation or better still a demonstration meant it all remained a mystery. I should have asked, I could have asked. But I was embarrassed so, like lots of academics, l didn’t. The TEAMS page was usually projected onto a screen which meant l was able to disguise my inability. It did nothing to help my understanding or give any indication as to why I should invest in its mastery though.  

Everything was going smoothly, me mostly ignoring TEAMS and only responding to OUTLOOK. Peace rained for a couple of weeks until it became necessary to be able to engage more effectively as part of my CELT/ TELT liaison role. 

That’s where transforming my thoughts on TEAMS first started. I joined an existing TEAM site. One in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing to be exact. It had been established a while and I could see from lurking in the different ‘channels” the types of things colleagues were discussing. 

It was a Learning and Teaching type forum with ‘channels” set up for different themes; assessment and feedback; learning resources; communication and collaboration. It was great. I hardly needed any IT skills. It was intuitive, easy to access and follow previous discussions. Before I knew I was replying to questions posed by colleagues, pointing them to resources I’d found useful and even sharing links to some of my own materials.  

In many cases I didn’t know who I was responding to and yet it felt like a safe and supportive environment.  As I read through the conversations I became more confident.  I could see that other colleagues had discovered solutions to practice challenges I was currently facing. So I asked, via the TEAMS site if I could meet with them to find out more.  

Although I’m not always comfortable with change I’m not afraid to have a go and I am confident that with the help available from TELT and colleagues in the different TEAMS I can make a success of it. I know there is so much more to learn about the different functions of the application but already I think I’m a convert. Why don’t you get in touch and let me know how you and MS TEAMS became an item and how things have now changed in your practice?

Teams Image from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/products/teams/default.aspx 


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