How to Have Safe and Secure Meetings Via Microsoft Teams

More and more learning is being done online and Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool to achieve safe and secure lessons and meetings. To ensure that you have a successful virtual lesson there are a few tips and tricks to put in place to keep yourself and the students safe. 

Firstly, I would highly recommend installing and using the Teams desktop app. It adds more functionality and if it is kept up to date, more and more functionality is being added all the time.

To start with you need to schedule your lesson, you can do this by following these easy steps:

1) Log into Microsoft Teams and click on Calendar

2) Select new meeting

3) Add a title i.e. Year 10 Maths Lesson

4) Now add the required attendees, you can either add them individually or as part of a group (if they are available)

5) Set the start and end time

6) If you have Microsoft Teams channels setup you can add the details here and the meeting will appear on the channel

7) Finally, add a location and any details about the lesson such as what resources are needed i.e. textbook, paper or pen

8) Then click save

Now when you click on Calendar within Microsoft Teams you should see your scheduled meeting listed under the time and date you specified. If you click on the meeting you will see a link called meeting options, click on this link. This will open a webpage with some options you can change to your meeting settings which will improve the safety and effectiveness of your lesson.

Who can bypass the lobby? When attendees join a meeting, you can either hold them in a virtual lobby and manually admit them into the meeting or you can allow them to automatically join the meeting. I recommend setting this to “Only Me” as this will stop students from being able to join or start the meeting without you. It also gives you full control of who is attending your lesson. I also recommend setting the toggle to "No" for the setting. "Always let callers bypass the lobby" for the same reasons.

Announce when callers join or leave. I recommend setting this to "Yes" so you know when an attendee has left the meeting so you can keep track of who is or isn't present. 

Who can present? I recommend setting this to “Only Me”. This will add the students to the lesson with “attendee” permissions. and will stop them from being able to share content, take control of someone else’s PowerPoint, mute other participant’s, remove participants, admit people from the lobby and change the roles of other participants. They will still be able to take part in the meeting chat and speak and share their video but will keep you in full control of the meeting.

Allow attendees to unmute. I recommend setting this to “No”. If you want to talk to the class without interruption you can mute all attendees during the lesson, this option will stop them from unmuting their self. 

Once your meeting has started click on show participants

When the students start to join, they will appear under “Waiting in lobby”, you will need to click on the green tick next to their name to admit them

If you want students to be able to speak during a meeting click on the 3 dots in the participants section and select “Allow attendees to unmute”

When the students have finished talking you can change this back by going to the same section and selecting “Don’t allow attendees to unmute”

If you have admitted someone to your meeting that you need to remove, click on that person in the participants list and select “Remove from meeting”

When you have finished your lesson press the down arrow next to Leave and select "End meeting". This will make all attendees leave the meeting and ensure students aren’t left unsupervised in the virtual lesson.

Distance learning has become the new norm for many classrooms across the country during the coronavirus pandemic and is likely to continue in some shape or form for many months to come. Here is how to maximise the effectiveness of online learning for your students.

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