Microsoft Teams is a powerful collaboration tool available via Microsoft’s Office 365 suite. The application allows teams and groups to create a virtual space where they can collaborate with colleagues on tasks and projects.
Although the collaboration opportunities are endless, at UCT, Microsoft Teams may only be used for operational or academic purposes.
Teams is available to all current UCT staff and students. It’s easy to use and very useful in times of disruption and disaster, as it allows you to continue working with others even while you’re off campus.
You can collaborate on documents, send instant messages, and even hold online meetings or video conferences.
Install Microsoft Teams via the Office 365 portal
- A computer or mobile device that has internet connectivity
- A correctly configured email client or web browser
- A minimum of 4GB RAM is needed with 8GB being optimal
- UCT specifications to run Teams
- Use the desktop app for meetings, calls and when producing and presenting live events rather than the web version, since the web version of Teams is not as feature-rich as the desktop app.
- However, the web version can be used on devices that may not meet the recommended specifications as no installation is required and it uses less memory.
- View the recommended desktop, web and mobile clients.
- Navigate to https://portal.office.com and enter your email@example.com then click Next.
On the UCT sign-in page, enter your UCT password, then click Sign In.
When the Office 365 portal opens, click All apps > Teams.
The Microsoft Teams web portal will open.
The desktop app can be downloaded by clicking the Download the desktop app option in the bottom left corner of your screen or click the round icon
Once you have successfully installed Teams, you may be required to log in. Enter your firstname.lastname@example.org and UCT password and open the application to get started.
This infographic provides an overview of what the Teams landing page contains.
Install Microsoft Teams on your mobile device
You can either download Microsoft Teams from the Microsoft website, or via the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Sign in and get started.
Get up to speed via online courses
Watch LinkedIn Learning’s Microsoft Teams starter kit for a quick introduction to the platform.
Create a Microsoft Team
After opening Teams, in the left-hand column, click Teams > Create or join a new team > Create a new team.
NOTE: To avoid confusion, include your project, department, or society in the team name. Also avoid using any forbidden words in the name.
Once you've created the team, invite people to join it. You can add individual users, groups, and even entire contact groups. You can also change the team icon.
Team owners can invite external guests – people who aren’t members of the UCT community – to their teams. In your team, click More options ˙˙˙ > Add member. Enter the external person’s email address and when prompted to confirm the email address, click the drop-down. Click Add > Close.
Once a team has been created, you can indicate who the team owner should be. It can either be the person creating the team or another member. To set this up, go to More options ˙˙˙ > Manage team.
From the Members tab, indicate who should be team owners. Under Role, click Owner.
NOTE: It is recommended that each team has at least two owners in case one leaves the university.
- Helpful tips for team owners (video)
- Getting started with Microsoft teams and channels
- Assign team owners and members
- Set up channel moderation
- Customise and manage your team
- Go to guide to team owners
- Reorder teams
- Hide a team
Create a channel
You can think of a ‘channel’ as a folder. It allows you to organise your team’s content into specific sections – e.g. Finance, HR, Technical documentation, etc. Essentially, a channel is where most of the work will get done.
In each channel, you can post content and save files. All documentation saved in Teams is stored on Microsoft SharePoint – which is a cloud-based system.
- In your team click More options ... > Add channel.
Please view Microsoft's specifications for channel names. You can then either make a channel viewable to all members or create a private channel and indicate which members may access it.
If certain individuals aren’t given access to a private channel, they won’t even know that it exists. However, if a team owner is not given access to a private channel, they can see the channel, but cannot view its content.
However, meetings cannot be scheduled in private channels.
See how channels can be used for group and committee meetings.
- Example of setting up a team and channels
- Recommendations on when to use a private channel
- Organise channels in your team's list
- Standard and private channels
- Private channels
- Work in channels
- NEW: Set up a shared calendar in a channel
- Send email to a channel
- Manage notifications
- Pin posts
- Show and hide channels and teams
- Delete a channel
Recommendations for using Microsoft Teams at UCT
When to use Teams:
- To send low priority messages, or informative and inspirational communications.
- When group decision-making is required.
- To communicate with the same group more than twice a week.
- Where you require feedback from others.
- When you want to store historical documentation
- To maintain a record of communications.
When not to use Teams:
- To send formal communications to mailing lists or groups.
- When you require help or crowdsourcing.
- To share information that doesn’t require feedback.
- For Short-term projects.
- For document approvals.
- As a learning management system. (UCT uses Vula for this.)
- As a repository for documents and policies that already exist.
- To store or communicate confidential information.
UCT-specific Microsoft Teams online meetings recommendations
- In the case where multiple people are joining a Teams meeting in the same venue, ensure that only one device is used, which can then be connected to the projector allowing everyone to view the screen. Any additional devices will create feedback in the room making it hard to hear. Feedback occurs when there is more than one device with a live mic in close proximity to each other.
- Headphones are ideal for people joining the meeting by themselves and are situated in open-place office, and not a private room.
- Mics all on all devices should be muted except for the speaker to avoid unnecessary noise.
- Further, the person creating the meeting request, does not need to participate in the meeting as those required can simply click the link provided in the meeting request. A participate can then click More options ˙˙˙ to record the meeting.
Any data you upload to Teams will be stored locally – i.e. within Microsoft’s South African data centres.
If you have existing data that is stored anywhere else (other than on Teams), then don’t upload it to Teams. Instead, just create a link to that storage facility within Microsoft Teams.
Caution: For compliance reasons, if you have data stored outside of Teams, try to ensure that the data is stored in South Africa. Where this is not possible, ensure that your data is stored in line with that specific region’s compliance regulations.
For any new data related to the work that you’re doing, you can save it your team’s Files tab, which is available as one of the tabs in the General folder.
Also, when communicating with others via email, if the content is stored in Teams, don’t send it again as an attachment. Instead, rather send links to where the documents are stored in Microsoft Teams.
Outdated or unused Microsoft Teams sites
ICTS will archive any Teams sites that are inactive for 12 months. We will contact Team owners beforehand so that they can download any content that is still required.
If you will use Microsoft Teams on your mobile device, ensure that you’ve installed an anti-virus app on the device. This will keep your Team site protected and secure when you access it. It’s also crucial to keep your device’s operating system and applications up-to-date.
Into the future with Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is here to stay, and in the future, it will replace several services – including Skype for Business.
We will communicate these changes as they occur at UCT, but for now, we invite you to take advantage of the powerful collaboration features within Teams.