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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

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 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 host your session - rather than the entire Team ['general'] 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.

Please contact if you have any problems with accessing your sessions! 

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. 
  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 add some fun.


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

Attending the Virtual Classroom

The Virtual Classroom aspect of the PAL Facilitation Training 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 training session is due to happen, you will be added to a Teams group. If you click on the calendar tab within Teams, you should be able to see the timetabled training 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.  

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. 

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 will have added you, and the students in your seminar group to both your Departmental teams, and your correct PAL private channel within the team. Once they are added, the student will receive an email notification from '', 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 programme, 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

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