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Microsoft Teams

As in a virtual workspace, many teaching and learning settings can be mapped and (agile) projects managed in Microsoft Teams.

In a nutshell: What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a virtual workspace where members (of a team) collaborate in real time. You can make use of its numerous features, such as private and group chats, file and document storage, task planning, channels, and video conferencing.

Range of Features

  • Chat (group or individual chats)
  • Channels for organized conversations
  • Task organizing (esp. Kanban Board)
  • Wikis
  • Office integration
  • Videoconferencing
  • Whiteboard
  • Breakout rooms
  • Streaming with Microsoft Streams


  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Project seminars
  • Group work & colloquia
  • Unsuitable for confidential content
  • Unsuitable for counselling

Step by Step

Microsoft Teams is available to all teachers and students at the TH. The Microsoft Teams desktop client is either pre-installed on your computer or it can be downloaded here.

Access Microsoft Teams from this website using your normal university credentials. Sign in with your TH Köln email address. You will then be redirected to the university login screen, where you can log in with your campusID.

Click on Teams in the sidebar and then on the Join or create a team button at the top (see video tutorial on creating a team (German)).

Picture: © Microsoft, Create a team, Screenshot Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE)

In the next window start the wizard by clicking on Create team. The first step will offer you four different presets (team types) for collaborative work.

Picture: © Microsoft, team types, Screenshot Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE)

Class: Every Class team comes with its own Class Notebook by default for distributing files and tasks. Team members (students) only have write permissions in certain areas. Teachers are team owners and manage the members.

Professional Learning Community (PLC): This type is suitable for larger groups in which everyone has the same read and write permissions. New members can be added at any time. By default a notebook is created with areas for meetings, planning templates, and evaluations.

Staff: The Staff type is suitable for working together in different work groups, where members should only have limited privileges. Team owners invite new members to join the team. The notebook contains sections for work groups, planning, and collaboration.

Other: Because there is no default notebook and all members have the same read and write permissions, this type is ideal for project work or group work on a topic.

Microsoft Teams offers a chat feature for exchanges in real time. You can create both individual and group chats. Audio and video calls can be made and files can be shared through chat.

Picture: © Microsoft, Chat, Screenshot Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE)

A team can consist of several channels. You can dedicate each channel to a specific topic, department, or project, and add files, task planning, minutes, or a wiki. Meetings can also be held in channels.

Picture: © Microsoft, Channel General in Team Project, Screenshot Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE)


Start videoconferencing in a chat or channel. To divide participants into smaller groups for discussions, group projects, etc., use breakout rooms. NOTE: Breakout rooms can only be created from a client version of Microsoft Teams.

Picture: © Microsoft, Calls, Screenshot Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE)

Collaborative work is quite easy in Microsoft Teams when using a shared whiteboard. Once the whiteboard canvas has been started, participants can type in text or draw with ink at any time. Additionally, you can turn other apps into tabs at the top of any channel.

Picture: © Microsoft, Apps, Screenshot Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE)

Microsoft Teams & Microsoft Stream

Make it easy for your team to collaborate using video by adding a Microsoft Stream channel or video as a tab in Microsoft Teams. For more information and detailed text instructions, click here.

Video: “Screencast Stream Tutorial”, TH Köln, Lizenz: CC BY 4.0

Good Practices

  • Michéle Seidel

    Michéle Seidel (M.A.) is a research assistant at the Center for Academic Development at the TH Köln University of Applied Sciences with a focus on hybrid/digital teaching, social online learning environments, science communication and research.

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