Teams is Microsoft’s collaboration software that allows groups to communicate and share information efficiently.
For an introduction to the application and an overview of how it is designed, watch this short video on the the Microsoft introduction website.
What is a Team?
Teams are collections of people who gather together around a common goal.
For example, members of a department in an organisation – such as Information Security, or tutors in a school, students enrolled in a course, a working committee or a reading club and so on.
Any content or communication in a Team is visible only to the team members.
There are two main roles in Microsoft Teams:
- Team owner – The person who creates the team. Team owners can make any member of their team a co-owner when they invite them to the team or at any point after they’ve joined the team. Having multiple team owners lets you share the responsibilities of managing settings and membership, including invitations.
- Team members – The people who the owners invite to join their team.
What are Channels?
Channels are created within teams to focus on specific topics, projects or operations. So some team members might participate in certain channels, but not others. Channels are where most of the action takes place.
By default, the General channel is created for you when you create the team. There are many useful purposes for this channel:
- Use it to share an overview of what the team wants to achieve such as a project charter or who’s who in the team.
- Use it for announcements that all team members need to receive.
- For new or single purpose teams, it may be the only channel at the beginning as you decide how Teams can best support your goals.
When you first start using Teams it is tempting to keep everything in the General channel of your team. Avoid this by creating channels for particular themes or purposes.
Depending on the purpose of your different channels, you may want to customise things like the notification settings. Access the channel settings from the ellipses menu next to the channel name.
You may want to check your notification settings to control the type and frequency of notifications you recieve.
Use the manage channel settings to customise general settings.
The third area to be aware of is the tabs area. This allows you to add certain apps into a channel. In the image above, the General channel is active, and the Posts tab is being used. Posts is for posting comments and questions, as in a group chat. The other tabs in this channel are Files, which is for uploading and managing files to a channel, and there is a Staff notebook, and a Learning tech notebook – these are both OneNote notebooks, which can be used for a variety of purposes. There are many other tabs to explore, view these by selecting the +.