5 Microsoft Teams Tips to Improve Your Virtual Teaching

02 Feb 2021

Virtual teaching can be overwhelming, stressful, and downright exhausting. Here at OKIOLABS, we understand that any tiny nugget of potentially time-saving, stress-reducing, or productivity-enhancing information can go a long way toward making things run a lot smoother. In this article, we’ve assembled a list of Microsoft Teams tips that will hopefully do just that! Let’s get going!

Caption this!

It seems like something straight out of the future, but Microsoft Teams can actually automatically detect what participants say in a meeting and present captions in real-time. This gives everyone an extra way to follow along with the conversation or lecture, but it is particularly useful for the hearing impaired or those with lower levels of language proficiency. And with virtual learning, not every student has an ideal learning environment at home. Most students will have some level of background noise to deal with (raucous siblings or excitable pets, for example), and this feature will also be invaluable to them, too.

To turn on live captions, while in a meeting, click on the More actions icon.

Followed by Turn on live captions.

Nobody misses out on knowledge

Similar to other popular video conferencing apps, Microsoft Teams lets you record your meetings. For virtual teaching purposes, this is a truly indispensable feature, allowing you to record your online classes and upload them to online learning platforms such as Google Classroom for your students to watch and review at a later time.

Unfortunately, sometimes internet connectivity issues occur and students are unable to attend online classes. Having the ability to ensure that they’ll be able to watch your prerecorded lessons and not miss out on any educational material is excellent, not to mention a huge stress reliever.

To turn on video recording, while in a meeting, click on More actions > Start recording.

To turn off video recording, select Stop recording (the Start recording icon will change after the recording is started). Alternatively, you can simply wait until the meeting is ended and the recording will be automatically stopped.

Get the discussion going

Microsoft Teams has excellent support for note-taking, making it great for facilitating both student-teacher and student-student discussion. During an online class, all participants are able to see each other’s notes and respond to one another.

I’m sure most teachers can name at least one student who refuses to turn on his or her webcam and never contributes to verbal class discussions unless prompted to do so. Well, this feature could potentially give those students a chance to contribute in a way they are more comfortable with!

To turn on meeting notes, while in a meeting, click on More actions > Meeting notes.

Hotkeys to save you bags of time

Microsoft Teams is no different from other apps in that it has a whole host of timesaving keyboard shortcuts. Here are 4 of our favorites for both Windows and macOS:

Windows

Mute/unmute yourself: Ctrl + shift + M

Toggle your camera on/off: Ctrl + shift + O 

Increase the size of the UI: Ctrl +

Decrease the size of the UI: Ctrl + 

macOS

Mute/unmute yourself: Command + shift + M 

Toggle your camera on/off: Command + shift + O 

Increase the size of the UI: Command +

Decrease the size of the UI: Command + 

Get creative with your background

Similarly to Google Meet, Microsoft Teams has the option for users to blur or change their backgrounds. As we mentioned in that article, this feature can really come in handy when you’re pressed for time and unable to tackle the housework! Instead of your students getting an eyeful of your messy home office, you can get creative and transmit to them straight from a robotic laboratory, outer space, or even a picturesque landscape that would look right at home in The Lord of the Rings!

Be sure to play around with the options because there are lots of really fun ones that your students will have a great time with, too! If your style is a little more understated, you can instead opt to blur your background — still granting you the privacy, but not quite as out-there.

One of the ultra-cool virtual backgrounds in Microsoft Teams

To change or blur your background, while in a meeting, click on More actions > Apply background effects.


If you have any questions regarding any of the information mentioned above, please submit a support request here.

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