Teams in 2021

It’s safe to say we use Teams a lot here at Oxford! Between 15 December 2020 and 15 January 2021, there were nearly 40,000 active Teams users at Oxford who organised almost 62,000 meetings and made around 113,000 reactions to a huge number of chat messages.

Microsoft has continued responding to feedback and even more features are now available to support education - they’ve been working hard, it’s a long list! As you can imagine, security is at the forefront with more control over access to meetings and lobby settings.   

Keeping track of all the new functionality can be tricky, so here is a quick update on some of the latest features to be rolled out or coming soon. 

New features

  • Teams breakout rooms - here at Oxford we were privileged to have early access and provide feedback for this resource which has now been rolled out more widely. Breakout rooms guidance is available on IT Help and the CTL website.
  • For illustration only: Teams channel calendar screenshot

    Teams channel shared calendars - Teams automatically creates a new post, which will appear in the activity feed, when a channel meeting is created. Any user who has notifications turned off will see the event only when they open the channel calendar.

  • Tightening of guest/anonymous access to Teams meetings – another handy feature in case meeting links fall into the wrong hands.
  • New pre-meeting lobby settings - to ensure that only ‘Invited users’ can join a meeting directly (coming soon).
  • Picture of Teams meeting participants with various emojis showing on their image (not just in the chat at the side any more)

    Meeting reactions - give someone the thumbs up, a heart, or a surprised expression using the standard Teams message emotes within meetings!

  • Vevox polling app integrates with Teams and Canvas providing an easy way to get feedback from meeting participants - more info about Vevox.
  • Miro whiteboard - this third party whiteboard app has now been made available within Teams – find out how you can add Miro. More about how other apps will be deployed at Oxford is below.

More information about lots of new features, and how to use them, is available on this Microsoft blog post, and the Microsoft 365 roadmap looks further ahead so you can see what’s planned.

Nexus Evaluation Group (NEG)

This newly formed group has been set up to evaluate third party apps, such as Miro, and make recommendations about which should be deployed in Teams, or not, at Oxford. Check the Nexus365 User Group (NUG) Team (info below) for more information about the NEG.

How to get Teams help, advice and training

Just a quick reminder of how you can find help and advice on Teams features and how to use them. Any member of Oxford University can join the Nexus365 User Group and ask questions or see the latest news. You'll also find tips, tricks, quick start guides and more. It’s easy to join:

  • In Teams, go to 'Join or create a team' (at the bottom of your Teams list)
  • Select 'Join a team with a code' and type in LNJVOFR
  • Click 'Join team' and you're in!

To learn more, you can also join one of our courses, instructor-led or on LinkedIn Learning. Find out what's on at the IT Learning Centre – just search for ‘Teams’ in the course listing. You’ll also find Teaching with Teams courses and more.

Top tips

Enhance and customise your Teams meeting experience with these audio, video, and collaboration tips - Tips for Teams meetings.