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PAL Central: Using MS Teams

An online hub of guidance and resources for our PAL Leaders and their Level 4 students.

Using MS Teams

The platform you will be using to run your PAL Sessions will be Microsoft Teams. The Central PAL Team will invite you to your Microsoft Team - which will be grouped per department - as well as inviting you to your dedicated seminar channel where you will run your PAL session. The Central PAL Team will also add the Level 4 members of your seminar group - so need for you to worry about that!
On this page, you will find guidance on how to use this platform (including short videos), and how to find your session. You may already be familiar with Teams as we used it to run the Online Facilitation Course.

For guidance to give to your Level 4 seminar group on accessing your online PAL sessions, please refer to this guide: Attending your Online sessions

Your Channel in teams

Once PAL Central have added you to your Team, you will be able to see the space where you will be running your sessions - this space will be a 'channel'. Each Department will have it's own 'Team', and your seminar group will be a private channel within this. You will only have access to your own channel, and the name of your channel will correspond with the name of the seminar group as indicated on your timetable. For example, the channel name for a Business Studies seminar group will be something like 'BABAM4', alongside the name of the PAL Leader running that group. It is important that you use these private channels to host your session - rather than the entire Team for your department!
To begin your PAL session, you need to select the 'Meet' button which will start a meeting that your students can join.

You are welcome to make this space your own and personalise it how you like to help engage your students, please see the 'Personalising your space' box for more information and ideas!

Please contact PAL@bournemouth.ac.uk if you have any problems with accessing your sessions! We are working to get your teams, channels, and fellow seminar members set up quickly.

For a step-by-step pictographic guide on how to access your Team and channel, see the photos below:

Microsoft's guide to Teams for students

Microsoft have published a guide on using Teams specifically for students and people in education: Microsoft Teams education guide.

This guide has more information on signing in, using channels, uploading posts and files, notifications, calls, and the toolbar. 

Data Protection

When delivering your sessions online, it is important to be aware of Data Protection. As you will be running your sessions online it may be easier to retain personal information from your students, so please be aware and keep to our data protection guidelines. We have more information regarding Data Protection here

Attending the Virtual Classroom

The Virtual Classroom aspect of the PAL Facilitation Course will be held on Microsoft Teams. Before attending your session, we recommend that you download the app to your desktop and get familiar with it. See the section on this page titled 'Download the app' for more information.

A few days before your session is due to happen, you will be added to a Teams group, and your dedicated seminar channel by the Central PAL Team. If you click on the calendar tab within Teams, you should be able to see the timetabled session there. If you click on the session, there will be an option in the top right-hand corner to 'Join' the meeting. You will also get an automatic prompt to join the meeting once it has been started.  

IT tips

Audio quality
Have you experienced an ‘echo’ audio effect during your PAL sessions? This is often due to your device’s speaker being too close to your microphone, and can easily be fixed by using some headphones, instead of a loudspeaker. 

Alternatively, you can check if your microphone/speaker set up is okay by making a test call to an automated bot. You can do this by going into Teams, clicking your profile in the top right corner > settings > devices > ‘make a test call’. The bot will record your words and play them back to you after about 30 seconds of recording time. This is a great feature to use so that know what you sound like (and if you are giving an echo, or having any other audio-quality problems!).

 

Download the app

Some of you may have already used Teams for University work, but for those who haven't here are a few tips on how to use it.

There are two ways in which you can access Teams, via the webpage and also as an app. We recommend that you download to app to access Teams, which you can do through this link. Once you have downloaded Teams, you will need to sign in using your Univerity Login. 

Below is a tutorial video on the basics of using Teams. 

An Overview of Teams

Navigating the tool bar

In these short videos below, you will see instructions on how to use the toolbar on Teams, and how to use the screenshare function. 

Teams Etiquette

From your first PAL Session, it is a good idea to set up an etiquette with your students. For example, when you are giving instructions, to avoid everyone talking over each other, you can ask everyone to mute themselves. If they have any questions, they can use the 'raise hand' button to alert you they have questions and can then unmute. 

It is important to have this etiquette as it can help sessions run more smoothly and more efficiently. You may want to add a file or a post to your channel so that everyone can understand the etiquette and read through before attending the session. 

Personalising your space

A good way to encourage engagement from your students is to personalise your Teams space. Below we have listed a couple of ways to do this:

  1. You can create a Welcome Post in the main chat of your channel. By using a program such as Canva, you can create something visual that your students can engage with stating basic information such as who you are and when your PAL Session will take place. You can adapt the elevator pitch that you created for the PAL Facilitation Course and put that information into this post. I have put a quick example below. 
  2. Within your channel, you will be able to add files and videos that you can share with your students. This is a good way to share information/resources/worksheets that they can access outside of your PAL Sessions. 
  3. You are able to add different 'apps' such as Onenote, Youtube, Kahoot, etc. You can add these to your channel to help make your sessions more interactive. It may be more time consuming to get started with these apps, but it can be very effective. 
  4. You are able to change the background of your video calls through the toolbar on your call. While this can be distracting at times, it also can be used to personalise your space and as a bit of an ice breaker. You can get your students to change their backgrounds to make a relaxed atmosphere. 

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Breakout rooms

Within Teams, you will be able to use 'breakout rooms' to help facilitate your sessions. Similar to what we did in the Facilitation Course, you will be able to use these breakout rooms to split our group into smaller groups to work on a task.

Once the breakout rooms are available for use, we will update this area. Please keep an eye out for when this is updated. 

Guidance you can share with your group

You can use the information on this page along with your own experiences to help guide your students on using Teams.

The PAL Central team are currently adding you, and the students in your seminar group to both your Departmental teams, and their correct seminar group/private channel within the team. Once they are added, the student will receive an email notification from 'noreply@email.teams.microsoft.com', saying that they've been added to a Team. When they then open their team, the student will be able to see only the seminar group that they are a member of. This private channel will be listed to the left of the screen, and will be titled with your timetabled PAL seminar group code, along with the name of your PAL Leader.

For more guidance on how Level 4 students can access your PAL sessions (along with information on etiquette, engagement, and using the Teams functions), please direct them here: Attending your Online sessions