At UCT, Teams is the recommended method for hosting online sessions as well as for sharing information.

In addition to meetings, it can be used to chat, manage files, take and save notes, manage tasks, view videos, and you can even add your favourite apps.

Microsoft Teams forms part of the Office 365 productivity suite and can be installed for free on your computer or mobile device. You can also access it online using one of these recommended browsers. We recommend installing the desktop application on your computer though for the best user experience.

Once you’re signed into Teams everything happens on the platform. This means you don’t have to share your personal phone number or details. UCT staff and students can then connect with you via your Teams’ profile.

Download and install Microsoft Teams

Install Microsoft Teams via the Office 365 portal
  1. Navigate to and enter your then click Next.
  2. On the UCT sign-in page, enter your UCT password, then click Sign In.
  3. When the Office 365 portal opens, click All apps > Teams.
  4. The Microsoft Teams web portal opens.
    • 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 
       in the top right corner (it will contain your initials or profile pic) and click Download the desktop app.
  5. Once you have successfully installed Teams, you may be required to log in. Enter your and UCT password and open the application to get started.
  6. This infographic provides an overview of what the Teams landing page contains.
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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 StoreSign in and get started.

Interlink with other Office 365 applications

Microsoft Teams forms part of the Office 365 suite which means that you can work in most Office 365 applications directly in Teams. These include creating or editing an existing Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint. You can create or update existing Forms and access recordings via Microsoft Stream. You can even work on OneNote notebooks in Teams. Documentation saved in Teams is also stored on OneDrive for Business or SharePoint, making it the ideal central location to do everything.

Find out more about working with Office 365 applications in Teams as well as other available apps.

Learning spaces in Teams


You may have already been invited by your lecturer to join a team for a course that you’re doing. A team is a central location for a group of people who are managing and attending a course or workshop, to view content, share documentation, communicate, and collaborate.

Each team has a General tab, that cannot be renamed, where your lecturer, and if allowed, you can make announcements as well as share files and additional information.

There is also a Files tab where existing documentation can be uploaded, or new files created.

These files are visible to everyone who has access to that channel.  All attachments uploaded in the General tab are automatically saved in the Files tab.

Additional information


Each team consists of channels, which is where most of the work actually gets done. If you think of it as a filing cabinet, the team will be the filing cabinet and the channels will be the various drawers. In the case of your academic studies, a team may be created for a course and each channel is a separate topic or section related to that course.

Some channels can be made private, meaning it can only be accessible to certain members who are added to the channel.

Channels that have unread messages will appear as bold.

Additional information

Activity feed

Keep track of all activities in the teams and channels that you’re a member of via the Activity feed in the Teams’ left side bar.

You can also filter the feed to show specific content such as unread messages, replies and @mentions.

A red circle will appear on the Activity button each time a new action takes place.

Find out more about the Activity feed and notifications.


Announcements can be posted in either of the General tabs of a channel. These posts are visible to all team members who can then respond accordingly.

When the team is @mentioned, a red bell will appear on that particular team icon, indicating a new message or activity.

The team owner sets who can post new announcements. Additionally, you can put settings in place that only allows you to make announcements via the Posts tab in a team or channel. This means that students can only respond to what you post by clicking Reply under the posted notice instead of starting new conversation.

Important notices can then be pinned to the top for easy checking.

Posts can also be translated to another language via the ellipses that is available on each post. Additionally, students can use the Immersive Reader to have messages read out to them.

Instead of having each student respond to a post, advise them to use one of the reactions (emojis) to indicate that they have read it.

When you add a file in a chat it is automatically uploaded to the Files tab.

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Manage assignments and access grades

While these features are available in Teams, you must continue to submit your assignments via Vula until further notice. Grades will also be accessible in Vula only.

Join an online Teams meeting

You will receive a meeting invitation or a notification informing you about an online class. If a meeting invite, ensure you click Accept. If it’s just an email, please ensure that you add the event to your calendar at the provided date and time.

In most cases, when a meeting is started, a pop up appears on your screen indicating that the meeting is underway. You can then click Join on the pop-up. Alternatively, click the meeting link that was sent to you.

Tips for joining an online session

Join scheduled sessions and be present and participate. Check your device settings beforehand to ensure your mic, speaker and camera (if necessary) is working correctly. You also need to ensure that you have a good internet connection. Ensure you’re in a quiet location to avoid too many distractions.

Keep your camera and mic off unless your lecturer advises you to keep it on. Before joining a meeting you can set your camera and mic. Ensure these are off when joining. If you need to turn this back on, use the meeting toolbar.

From the meeting control, you can also set your video background. You can choose to use your existing background, or one of the available ones including the blurred one that prevents people from seeing your actual background.

Should you wish to make a comment or ask a question during the meeting, either type it in the chat box, which is activated by clicking the chat icon, or use the raise your hand feature. Your lecturer will advise when you may speak.

Meeting controls

The meeting control bar allows you to do a number of things in the meeting. This includes:

  • Control audio and video
  • Set your device settings
  • Turn off incoming videos (switch off individuals’ videos that are displayed on your device to use less data)
  • Participate in a chat
  • Share your screen, if allowed
  • Mute
  • Remove/promote participants
  • Start and stop recordings
  • Set video backgrounds
  • Zoom in on a shared screen
  • Insert link
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Chat to attendees during and after meetings

Each scheduled meeting has its own chat. This allows there to be a central location where they can ask questions and refer back to past the session.

Teams also caters for one-to-one chats, allowing students to engage directly with their lecturer. This is discussed in more detail under the chat section.

Chat functionality

Each team and channel also have designated Posts tab, which is like the chat feature, but is accessible to all members.

This is ideal for sharing information with all team members.

A new chat can also be created with any UCT staff or student. Click the Chat button > New chat <insert icon>. Search for the person you want to start chatting to and start chatting.  Additional people can also be added to any chat via the Add people button <insert icon> in the chat window.

Chats cannot be deleted. Each person can only delete or edit their own messages that they sent.

When you add a file in a chat it is automatically uploaded to the Files tab.

Go from text chatting to video or audio call

Teams’ chat functionality allows you to also either chat via text or you can make an audio or phone call.

File sharing (upload, share, download)

Each team and channel come standard with a Files tab. Files can also be uploaded in meetings as well as in chats. This way you can simply go back to that scheduled meeting or chat and access the shared files.

Click the Files button in the left column of the Teams window for a quick view of all files shared with you via OneDrive for Business, Word, Excel or other Office 365 application.

When you add a file in a chat it is automatically uploaded to the applicable Files tab.

All files that are uploaded to Teams are saved in OneDrive or SharePoint.

Collaborate on documents

You can either upload and edit an existing file that was shared in Teams or create a new document, which is automatically saved.

Upload videos

Currently, session recordings are saved by default in Microsoft Stream. This is set to change in future, but more information about this will be communicated in due course. These video recordings can also be downloaded and saved in other cloud solutions such as OneDrive for Business and Vula.

OneNote class and staff notebooks

OneNote class notebooks can be integrated into Teams. Each student is assigned their own private workspace, which is only visible to them and their lecturer. There is also a dedicated space for a lecturer to share handouts as well as a collaboration space for everyone in the class to share content and collaborate.

Search capabilities

There are numerous ways to search for content in Teams.

Emoji, memes and GIFs

These features have been enabled at UCT.

Add some fun with stickers

Additional resources

Remote learning with Office 365 for students

Tips for successful online learning

Attending Teams meetings

Troubleshoot common issues in Teams

Use Teams for schoolwork when bandwidth is low

Get up to speed via online courses

Watch LinkedIn Learning’s Microsoft Teams starter kit for a quick introduction to the platform.