Launching Microsoft Teams for Education
Prior to launching Microsoft Teams college-wide I conducted a pilot of the system with teaching staff and their cohorts. During this trial the participants unanimously voted to use Teams over Moodle, feedback included; the accessibility features, simplicity of the layout and the need to deliver live lessons online. In addition, I conducted a review of our existing course content, during this investigation I found that our Moodle course pages to date had been created for multiple student groups to access, the majority of our staff body were using PDFs / PPTs for lesson resources, only a handful of our tutors felt confident with feedback loops online and they struggled to confidently create new forms of lesson content.
We launched Microsoft Teams organisation wide in June 2020. This was challenging for a number of reasons, first of all we had limited capacity in departments due to the furlough scheme, secondly we were manually creating Teams pages per student group which resulted in a total of 400+ class pages and finally there was a noticeable digital skills gap within our staff body due to the very nature of our vocational courses.
To address these issues I preempted staff queries by creating a series of bitesize (5 min max) introductory videos to guide users through setting up Teams pages and expectations for teaching in the next academic year. Secondly, I created an online handbook, knowledge tests and a staff forum within Teams to respond to frequently asked questions. Finally, as a department we ran structured continuous professional development sessions to cover online assessment (lead by the quality team), pedagogical top tips when teaching online (lead by the teaching and learning team) and technical support (lead by learning technology).
By September 2020 all our our course pages and timetables were ready to go and I prepared daily drop in sessions for remote support for a month duration and an new online induction programme for students prior to enrolment.