Author: Neesha Ridley – Senior Lecturer (School of Community Health and Midwifery)
As a course leader for the undergraduate direct entry midwifery course, I was aware of the potential that Microsoft Teams could have for the students and staff working on the course. I heard about colleagues that they were using this tool successfully, resulting in increased engagement for students and increasing communication by providing a safe space for students to engage with lecturers and lecturers to engage with each other, creating a sense of community.
When I considered the many different methods of communication we use on the course (Blackboard discussion boards, emails, Whatsapp, Facebook and many more), I realised that using Microsoft Teams would be able to provide that one space, by replacing the multiple platforms of communication, creating a sense of community within our lecturing team. We could all communicate on one platform, share evidence, research and information that we feel may be beneficial for our students and allow discussions to occur within this community space. A challenge we often experience on the midwifery course, is keeping in touch with our students, especially as they spend 50% of their time in clinical placements.
I saw the benefit that Microsoft Teams could have, by being able to communicate with students in one place and allowing them a place where they could share positive experiences, questions and worries whilst out in the clinical environment. I began by introducing the idea of using Microsoft teams to the midwifery team and after some supportive guidance from Chris Melia, I arranged a team meeting where I demonstrated the advantages of using Microsoft teams to the lecturers.
I recognised that for Microsoft Teams to work and in order for all the students to be able to use it to its full potential, we had to encourage the lecturing staff to use it well and encourage students to engage with this method of communication. I was delighted to see that all the team were excited by the idea, seeing the advantages of a community space to share ideas and thoughts.
As a result of all the team using teams as a method of communication, we have all decided to work towards our DigiLearn awards, inspired by the ease of using Microsoft Teams. To support each other and create a collaborative approach, members of the team have buddied up with each other to support learning within the team.