Live Teaching with MS Teams

As a unit lead or member of staff teaching at unit level, I want to be able to teach students synchronously using video, chat, polls, quizzes and breakout rooms.

Teams offers a great alternative to Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate, connecting staff, students and external guests in a live meeting with up to 1,000 participants (20,000 in view-only mode).

Teams meetings now offer polling, file sharing and interaction through polls and reactions for up to 1,000 users. Breakout groups work for up to 300 participants. More information about Teams limits.

Teams Solution

Within Teams meetings you can:

  • Share files, websites and screen views.
  • Share video and audio.
  • Create interactive learning experiences – text-chat, quizzes and polls to add a more responsive and social experience.
  • Present in Teams from PowerPoint.
  • Use breakout rooms. Currently only meeting owners (the person who created the meeting) can start breakout groups. Microsoft recommends advising participants and presenters use the Teams app (rather than Teams through a browser) for breakout rooms. 
  • Record the meeting (and set it to record automatically).
  • Assign additional presenters, in advance or during the meeting.
  • View 49 participant videos at once (in full gallery view).

Teams is developing fast, with a new presenter mode and live captioning on the roadmap. Note: in a public channel the calendar appointment will appear in all user’s calendars. You cannot schedule meetings in a private channel. Guests cannot schedule meetings.

Case studies

Getting started

Once you have set up and activated your unit Team, you can conduct synchronous teaching sessions through Teams meetings. We recommend using the Teams app (rather than the browser) to run meetings. 

Setting up a meeting

  • You can start an instant meeting or schedule meetings in the general channel or any public channels you have set up
  • You can start instant meetings in private channels, but not schedule them
  • Once you have scheduled a meeting, you can set certain options in advance, by selecting the meeting in the calendar and going to meeting options. These include:
    • Setting the meeting to auto record (off by default).
    • Setting who can present - you will need to invite people as required attendees before you can select them as presenters.
    • Turn off the availability of cameras, mics and chat for participants (on by default).
  • Alternatively, as the organiser, you can edit these settings once the meeting has started (select meetings options).Screenshot with relevant settings highlighted. Who can present is set to Specific people but can be changed, presenters for this meeting can be selected through a drop-down and Record automatically can be toggled.

Running the meeting

  • When you are ready to start, join the meeting from the calendar (in Teams or outlook).
  • You can share your screen or other content (window, PowerPoint file or a whiteboard). You can also include computer sound if you want to share a video with sound or other audio. You may want to mute participants microphones, or ask them to do this themselves, before sharing audio. This will help avoid echo issues.
  • A meeting owner can start breakout groups. You can set them randomly or configure manually. The option to set groups in advance is on the Microsoft roadmap, as is the ability to allow other presenters to start groups (currently it is only the organiser).
  • You can download recordings of meetings. They can be uploaded to Re/Play to be shared with students alongside other lecture recordings. Or, you can get videos into Re/Play with Mosaic (video, 6mins)
  • You can use tools like Padlet, Mentimeter and TurningPoint as you would in Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate, by providing links in the chat and by sharing your screen to show results.


  • Give students the role of attendees to control their contribution through the mic or through screen sharing.
  • Start the event early and have a slide on screen with some information about the class/event, including timings and any other relevant info. This also helps people know they are in the right meeting.
  • If presenters are required, invite them separately (even if in the Team). You can select who can be presenters from the meeting options in advance.
  • When sharing webpages, zoom in. This helps your attendees see what you’re showing. Ctrl/Cmd + = will zoom in most browsers. Think about the content you are sharing: will it be suitable for viewing on smaller screens?
  • You can see up to 49 people on screen at once. If the meeting has more than 10 participants, you can switch to Large gallery view from the settings menu accessed from the three dots icon (…)
  • If it is going to be a large meeting, usie the meeting options in advance to mute micsand cameras. You can ask people to use the raise hand button before using their mic or camera.
  • Make students aware of meeting etiquette.
  • Set expectations about how you want them to interact, for example, if using reactions, chat, cameras and breakout groups.
  • Depending on the room in which you are presenting, you may wish to blur your background to avoid distraction.
  • For hybrid teaching, see the DEO guide.
  • It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with how you can customise the meeting view. As the presenter or owner you can spotlight an individual video so that is the only one seen. 'Together mode' lets you see videos of users as if in one location.