Getting Started with Teams

Learning to use Teams can be difficult if you don’t know the terminology, tools, layouts, features, etc. This guide will help you learn a little about the system to help you create your Team workspace.

About Teams

Screen shot of the Teams program after it opens

Teams is a communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. –LSC faculty, staff, and students can use Teams to:

  • Organize your team’s or class’s communication, brainstorming sessions, files, and tasks in one location.
  • Create Channels for focused discussions for specific topics, project tasks, subcommittees, groups, etc. while the General Channel is used to share an overview of the team goals, announcements, and project information.
  • Add additional tools like OneNote to organize your meeting and project notes or Planner to create tasks for team members to complete.

Screen shot of the Office 365 apps

Because it’s a Microsoft product, Office 365 tools are accessible through Teams. For example:

  • Outlook address books and calendars are available to communicate and schedule meetings.
  • OneDrive files can be shared and stored in Teams.
  • Online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are available for collaborating on new projects.

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Logging into Teams

Screen shot of the Lake Superior College website with an arrow pointing to selecting the Login drop down menu and selecting the Email and Office 365 option

You can log into Teams from the Login dropdown menu on the Lake Superior Collage website using the Email & Office 365 or OneDrive links.

Screen shot of the Microsoft Sign in with the Star ID login area highlighted and an arrow pointing to selecting the Next button

Enter your StarID@minnstate.edu and password to access your Office 365 account. Note: Students would use their StarID@go.minnstate.edu and their password.

Screen shot of Outlook Online with arrows pointing to the Access your Office 365 apps icon and Teams app icon option

In your Outlook email or OneDrive account, select the Access your Office 365 apps (nine dots) icon in the upper left corner and select Teams from the menu.

Screen shot of the Teams program after it opens

Teams will open.  Note: The first time you enter Teams, a message may appear in the lower right corner asking if you would like to receive notifications from Teams, select the option that works best for you.

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Teams Navigation

Screen shot of the Teams program with the navigation bars, the options panel, and the work area highlighted

  • A navigation bar across the top that allows you to create a new chat, search your teams, and change account settings.
  • A second navigation bar down the left side that has icons for Activity, Chat, Teams, Assignments, Calendar, Files, More Added Apps, Apps, Help, and Download Desktop App.
  • Information panel that change depending on the icon selected in the left navigation bar.
  • Work areas that you can have conversations in, create meetings from, add files to, etc.

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Activity

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Activity icon and information panel next to it is highlighted

Activity is the first icon on the left side navigation bar. This panel will let you know when someone from your team or a contact has mentioned you, sent you a message, or replied to one you sent to them. Activity has a “Feed” that will show the work area with the most recent information.

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Chat

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Chat icon and information panel next to it is highlighted

Chat is the second icon on the left side navigation bar. This panel will allow you to have conversations with people in your team, at Lake Superior College, and in the Minnesota State System. The work area on the right side will allow you to see your most recent conversation and start a new one. Files can also be shared in a conversation and will appear in the Chat work area as well as in the Files area.

You can also make “calls” from the Chat tool by clicking the telephone icon after selecting someone to chat with.  This will allow you to talk to people without knowing their phone number.  You can also have a conference call by adding more people to the call.  Note: This works best using the Teams Desktop App.

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Teams

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Teams icon and information panel next to it is highlighted

Teams is the third icon on the left side navigation bar. This panel will show the last team you were working in. To return to the list of teams you belong to, select the All teams link in the upper left corner of the panel. The work area on the right side will allow you to see the most recent actions in the Team and allow you to post messages to your team, add files, and add other tools to the team navigation bar.

Screen shot of the Teams panel with an arrow pointing to the more options menu and the list of options available for Team owners

If you click the three dots to the right of the team name, a More options menu will appear. If you’re an owner of a team, it will allow you to manage your team by approving or rejecting membership requests, as well as adding and removing channels and members. Adding a channel can help organize your team’s actions or responsibility.

  • You could have a channel for the different types of information that your team will need to communicate about or projects you’re working on.
  • Channels have a More options menu as well, but it’s limited to making changes to that individual channel.

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Calendar

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Calendar icon and information panel next to it is highlighted

Calendar is the fifth icon on the left side navigation bar. This panel will show either an agenda view or day view of your Outlook calendar. The work area will show events in your calendar. You can use the New meeting button in the upper right corner to create a meeting.

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More Added Apps (three dots)

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the More Added Apps icon and the available tool apps highlighted

More Added Apps is the sixth icon on the left side navigation bar. This is flyout menu will have other tool apps that you can add to your team. For example, if your team meets regularly and there are notes, OneNote might be an app you would like to add. Only add apps that you know your team will need. Some apps may have licensing fees not already included in our Microsoft license.

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Calls

Calls is one of the options in the More Added Apps (three dots) on the left side navigation bar. The Calls feature allows you to contact other LSC and Minnesota State System Teams users with audio and screen sharing capabilities. Once added to the navigation column, this panel will have the people you’ve called or have been called by recently listed. The work area on the right side will show the History with the All, Missed, Incoming, Voicemail, and Filter tabs that includes the length and date of the call. Note: The Teams Desktop app is needed to use the Call feature.

Checking Device Settings in Teams is recommended.

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Files

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Files icon and information panel next to it is highlighted

Files is one of the options in the More Added Apps (three dots) on the left side navigation bar. You’ll be able to upload files to Teams from this tool. Once added to the navigation column, this panel will have the file storage locations you have access to – Recent, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive. The work area on the right side will show the files available after Recent, Microsoft Teams or OneDrive have been selected.

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Apps

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Apps icon

Apps is near the bottom of the left side navigation bar. This will take you to the Microsoft Store to add apps to your Teams area. Make sure you read the app description and know what it will do before you add it. Only add apps that you know your team will need and have been approved for campus use.

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Help

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Help icon and the available help options highlighted

Help is the second to the last icon on the left side navigation bar. A menu will open that will allow you to see:

  • Help topics
  • Training
  • What’s new
  • Suggest a feature
  • Report a problem
  • Give feedback
  • Ask the community

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Download Desktop App

Screen shot of Teams with an arrow pointing to the Download Desktop App icon and the Opening Teams Windows file highlighted

Download Desktop App is the last icon on the left side navigation bar. This will allow you to download the Teams app to your computer instead of having to go online each time you want to access Teams. If you already have the Teams app on your computer, it will allow you to get the Mobile app for your phone if you would like to use it there.

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Best Practices

These are some suggestions that will help you create successful Teams.

Identifying Channels

Screen shot of a Team with the different channels highlighted

Channels can help focus communications, projects, etc. within the team. What different areas of communication, collaborations, project goals, information, etc. will your team be needing? You don’t need to create every channel at once, but have somewhere for your team to focus their conversations and files in. When you create each channel, be descriptive in the naming of it. Each channel will have its own Conversations, Files, and other tabs (OneNote, Planner, Office programs, websites, etc.).

Private channels can be created for smaller working groups or committees within your Team. The only time a channel can be made private is when you’re creating them, so make sure you change the Privacy setting to Private. You can add members while you’re creating the private channel or later by editing it. Note: To be able to add someone to the private channel, they must first be added to the Team itself.

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Know When to Start a New Conversation

Screen shot of the Posts area with arrows pointing to conversations, replies, and where to start new conversations

Here are some tips to help you know when to “Start a new conversation” or reply to an existing conversation:

  • When it’s a new topic that no one has already started, you’ll want to post a new conversation.
  • When someone has already started a conversation on the topic, a reply option will appear under their comment, you’ll want to use that to add to the existing conversation.
  • If a new conversation is started each time a person in the team wants to comment, it could become very difficult to understand which comments belongs to which conversations.

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More Tool Options

Screen shot of the Add a tab window with the tools available for use highlighted

The tabs across the top of the channel working area allow for quick access to many things. There are a couple of the Microsoft tools that having quick access to could be beneficial to your team:

  • OneNote – for meeting and project notes.
  • Planner – create tasks and assign them to team members for the projects within the team goals.
  • Word, PowerPoint, Excel – if your team will be using these tools regularly, you can add a tab to the Team navigation bar. Note: The Word, PowerPoint, or Excel file needs to be uploaded in the channel you’re adding the program to.
  • PDF – if your team will be viewing a PDF regularly, you can add it as a tab to the Team navigation bar.  Note: The PDF file needs to be uploaded in the channel you’re adding the program to.
  • Website – if your team frequents a website for information, you can include it as a tab at the top of the team channel.

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