Vals Roving Reports – Transforming thoughts about teams

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author:  Val Lawrenson, SFHEA Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching  

Since returning after the summer I had been getting along quite successfully dodging TEAMS. To be honest I thought it was just another intrusion. After all, did we really need another internal communication method?

Teams seemed to have a power and control all its own. I wasn’t sure where it came from, when or why? I did know that each time I logged onto the surface pro it was there magically opening, taking over. 

We didn’t set of on a good footing, me and TEAMS.  The relentless notifications only added to the burden of existing emails. I was notified each time someone, somewhere contributed to the myriad of TEAMS I had been assigned to. I can tell you I was nearly going over the edge especially at one point when YAMMER and TEAMS seemed to be in competition. 

Anyway, I quickly found someone who knew something about TEAMS and at least we were able to deactivate the notification function. The application still opens each time I connect to the internet but at least I’ve regained some control of when and if I chose to engage with its content.  

I’d been in a couple of meetings where the “team site” was referenced. However the absence of an explanation or better still a demonstration meant it all remained a mystery. I should have asked, I could have asked. But I was embarrassed so, like lots of academics, l didn’t. The TEAMS page was usually projected onto a screen which meant l was able to disguise my inability. It did nothing to help my understanding or give any indication as to why I should invest in its mastery though.  

Everything was going smoothly, me mostly ignoring TEAMS and only responding to OUTLOOK. Peace rained for a couple of weeks until it became necessary to be able to engage more effectively as part of my CELT/ TELT liaison role. 

That’s where transforming my thoughts on TEAMS first started. I joined an existing TEAM site. One in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing to be exact. It had been established a while and I could see from lurking in the different ‘channels” the types of things colleagues were discussing. 

It was a Learning and Teaching type forum with ‘channels” set up for different themes; assessment and feedback; learning resources; communication and collaboration. It was great. I hardly needed any IT skills. It was intuitive, easy to access and follow previous discussions. Before I knew I was replying to questions posed by colleagues, pointing them to resources I’d found useful and even sharing links to some of my own materials.  

In many cases I didn’t know who I was responding to and yet it felt like a safe and supportive environment.  As I read through the conversations I became more confident.  I could see that other colleagues had discovered solutions to practice challenges I was currently facing. So I asked, via the TEAMS site if I could meet with them to find out more.  

Although I’m not always comfortable with change I’m not afraid to have a go and I am confident that with the help available from TELT and colleagues in the different TEAMS I can make a success of it. I know there is so much more to learn about the different functions of the application but already I think I’m a convert. Why don’t you get in touch and let me know how you and MS TEAMS became an item and how things have now changed in your practice?

Teams Image from 


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