How McMaster instructors are leveraging Microsoft 365 teaching tools
As we head into the fall term, instructors across campus are busy preparing their courses. Microsoft 365 offers a suite of teaching and learning tools for online learning. The three cases below show unique approaches to combining Microsoft 365 tools for virtual and online classrooms. Each of the instructors below were introduced to 365 applications in recent months and have now adopted these tools and implemented them into their classroom environment and course curricula.
Name: Katie Moisse
Katie’s MS 365 teaching toolkit: Microsoft Teams & Bookings
I love using Microsoft Teams to communicate with classes of students and give them more ways to communicate with their peers and the instructional team. For each of my courses, I create a Team where students can ask questions, share links and discuss course content and assignments. I share reminders and announcements over Teams as well as on Avenue to Learn. I encourage students to create their own Teams for group work, and this fall I’ll host virtual tutorial sessions over Teams using different channels. Most of my courses have group project presentations, so we use Teams to share and discuss student work.
I also love using Teams to communicate with individual students. I encourage students to send me questions or concerns over Teams, so I can answer quickly. I also hold virtual office hours over Teams. I’ve just started using the Microsoft Bookings tool to manage my office hours. Students can book a 15-minute appointment in one click. They then receive an email confirmation with a link to a Teams meeting. The meeting instantly goes into both our calendars, and students get a reminder the morning of the appointment. Best of all, you can embed the Bookings tool into your Avenue to Learn course homepage. It looks great and makes things easy for you and your students.
Name: Behrouz Bakhtiari
Faculty: DeGroote School of Business
Behrouz’s MS 365 teaching toolkit: Microsoft Teams, Planner, PowerPoint, Excel, & OneNote
I’ve been using Teams for two consecutive terms. In the winter term, we had to go online very quickly, and I was looking at different tools. Because of many reasons, I decided to use Teams–it proved to be a very effective and capable tool to use for teaching large classes. Because of the capabilities that it provides in creating teams and channels, managing courses, maintaining curriculum, and assessment tools I decided to use Teams for the spring term as well–with plans to use it again in the fall term. That is the platform I’ll be using to deliver virtual classes, and I’ll be using different apps. At least one of them is particularly important to me, the Assignment Tab integrated in Teams.
I also use PowerPoint to provide and write notes during my virtual lectures. If I want to document something, and I don’t want to write it on PowerPoint, I will use OneNote. I use PowerPoint, OneNote, Microsoft Excel heavily in my courses, and I can’t imagine ever teaching a course without those tools.
I couldn’t be happier with the level of support I’ve received from Christa Morrison (Microsoft 365 Business Systems Specialist). She has been a star in providing support, specifically for Teams, and I can’t thank her enough.
Name: Stine Hansen
Stine’s MS 365 teaching toolkit: Microsoft Teams & Stream
For 90 per cent of my things, I use Teams, and within Teams, I use Stream for my videos. I started to incorporate Stream because I use the transcribing function, which is great for my students and seems to be the most accurate option for transcribing lectures. Also, I use Word, PowerPoint, and many other 365 applications. All of those together were easy to integrate with the Teams. Once you learn how to put your Stream videos into Teams and link it through tabs, it’s a powerful tool that’s user friendly.
I think, by using Teams, in general, they’re going to have a more interactive experience. But it’s all up to the instructor to get it going and engage. And that’s the same with in-person classes. If the instructor stands at the front of the class and doesn’t engage, that will be the experience for everyone. It’s the same in an online space, if you engage, then others can follow.
McMaster offers a ton of support surrounding the various Microsoft 365 tools. I know Christa Morrison from the MacPherson Institute, so we already had a professional relationship prior to me teaching this summer. The first thing I did was attend training sessions with UTS and Microsoft. In March I hadn’t used Teams, I hadn’t opened it up and I didn’t know anything about it. And now I’m advising people on how to use it because of all the support I’ve had. Christa was super engaged in the Microsoft sessions and made sure that we were getting the information that we needed. I’ve also been reaching out to Christa and asking, “do we have this feature” or “how can we do this or what is this going to look like for students” and it’s always been a really quick response rate. If other instructors are looking at 365 tools for teaching, there’s lots of support.
For a quick demonstration of how Microsoft Teams integrates Stream, click the link.Office 365