The Microsoft team has become one of the fastest developing digital collaboration platforms in recent times. Use in the education sector is now increasing, with teachers beginning to adopt teams as a ‘go-to’ for teacher collaboration and communication. The next logical step, then, is to see how the student experience can really benefit from all that Microsoft teams have to offer.
Working with academic colleagues at the University of Central Lancashire, we have been exploring the use of teams with our students for over two years now and have learned a lot during that time.
Here are some of the main ways that Microsoft teams can change the student experience based on learning from our own journey.
1. Fuel Support
Collaborating on a group project, student co-operation around a table is important to a student’s development, helping them to engage with subjects, improve inter-personal skills, and even become more creative. The Microsoft team allows students to collaborate on documents simultaneously in real-time, while giving them the ability to engage in multiple forms of communication – from text, to voice and video conferencing. This basically helps them with business ideas, allowing for better, more informed work.
2. Foster Community
The teams actively support the facility of biological student learning communities, where students can actually begin to build relationships with their learning peers. The nature of teams means that, no matter where students are, they can come together as a group and support each other in the form of pool resources and knowledge.
3. Encouraging social education
This helps those who may not have an active voice in the ‘traditional classroom’, allowing them time to think and reflect before sharing their ideas. These students can observe and offer their own input in their own time, and in their own way.
4. Facilitate peer-to-peer support
Tech’s active environment encourages students to support and respond to each other’s questions and concerns – relying less on the academic team and increased transparency in group communication. This not only reduces the pressure of faculty members, but also helps all students involved to consider new ways of thinking on different topics.
5. Develop netiquette skills
The teams are a secure, digital space for students to develop their professional online voice and presence. This can be especially important before they start participating in more public social arenas such as Twitter. It is almost like a training ground that is not online – and is not allowed – and it is also completely safe.
6. Create an inclusive learning environment
Students access teams using their university accounts – either through their own devices or the IT and library facilities of their institution. Its ease of usability encourages more out-of-hours and flexible work, fitting more easily around any other personal or work commitments.
All students need is their phone and they are instantly connected through the Teams app. This should make them less stressful, allowing them more freedom to work in their own way and on their own terms. Because great ideas do not come strictly during work hours.
7. Help Students Control Their Own Learning College students using Surface Book
In some cases, students are pro-active to establish their own places for feedback and to add to their tutors as moderators. The convenience of simple voting can allow students to tell what they want to learn or discuss about it, as they actually begin to take ownership of their own learning. It is at the core of learning, particularly about higher education. Teams help nurture this mindset, providing students with the necessary tools for their work.
8. Provide a learning environment
Teams can use the often familiar features of contemporary social media platforms, but in a safe, personal and professional environment. This can have a substantial impact on both enhancing and maintaining students’ engagement with the learning platform.
9. Prepare students for the digital workplace of the future
An example of this, often involves their ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with others in an online environment. As the modern workplace continues to evolve, with digital transformation at its heart, equipping students with the right skills is critical to everyone’s success – as individuals and future employees.