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Peer Support Leader Guide: Using MS Teams

This guide is designed for our Peer Support Leaders to contain all the information they require to carry out their role, including key contacts, the process for the observations and how to claim their pay.

Using MS Teams

Alongside your face to face sessions, you will also have your own MS Teams channel for your seminar group. 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). You may already be familiar with Teams as we used it to run the Online Facilitation Course.


Using MS Teams alongside your face-to-face delivery has a number of benefits including:

  • Having a consistent area your students can revisit in between PAL sessions
  • Using it as a communication channel for discussing topics for upcoming sessions
  • The use of apps such as forms and surveys to vote/get feedback before or after sessions
  • The use of file sharing
  • Enhanced GDPR (with less boundary issues than using Whatsapp or your personal Facebook profile)

Your Channel in teams

Once PAL Central have added you to your Team, you will be able to see your PAL group - 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 channel, which will be named after you and the programme of your PAL group. You will also see a channel called 'general'. Please avoid this channel, as any content you post will go to all members of your departmental team - which can be up to 500 students!
It is important that you use these private channels to communicate with your group - rather than the entire Team ['general'] for your department!

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

Personalising your space

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

  1. Create a Welcome Post in the main chat of your channel. By using a program such as Canva, you can create something visual with introductory 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. See our 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, Polly, 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. 


Breakout rooms

In December 2020, Microsoft Teams released the Breakout Rooms function. Please see the following PDF for a illustrated step-by-step guide of how to set up breakout rooms in your PAL sessions.

Please note: In our example, we have created the rooms 'manually'. Creating rooms 'automatically' is more straightforward and follows similar instructions. For further details on using the 'automatic' function, please see the following video: How to use new breakout rooms in MS Teams

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!).


File Sharing

Teams acts as a sharepoint between the members of your seminar group as well as being a platform for you to host your PAL sessions.
You can share a file with the other members of your group so that they can access, view, and edit by following these instructions:

Go to your channel > go to the 'Files' tab > 'Upload' > Upload files/folder > Select your attachment and click ‘open’ > Your file should now appear as a shared file for members of your channel to edit in this tab.

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. 

For more information on 'Netiquette', please see our tab here: Netiquette

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. 

Please see the sections on this page titled 'An Overview of Teams' and 'Navigating the Toolbar' for more information on the basics of 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. 

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