Microsoft Teams is available as part of Oxford’s Nexus365 service. It offers a convenient workspace for collaboration, and provides a range of tools and features. It has been approved as a secure platform for storing and working with University data.
A Team within Microsoft Teams
A group with a shared space on the Teams platform is also referred to as a Team. IT Services provides a helpful Overview of the features available.
It is possible to use the Teams platform for some purposes (for example, attending online meetings) without being a member of a Team. However, it is worth considering setting up a Team for your research project or group, as this will give you access to additional collaboration tools, including the ability to organise files and share these with other members.
Introduction to Teams features
If you are new to Teams, Microsoft has created a series of videos which provide an overview of the various features available, as well as links to further guides and training resources. Your Team within Microsoft Teams can also be given a shared mailbox if required, in order to provide a single point of contact.
Setting up a Team
When you request a new Team, two individuals are given ownership of the Team: they need to take ownership and responsibility for important administrative tasks on the Teams site, as well as responsibility for adding and removing individuals from the Team.
The IT Services Help pages provide useful guidance on making sure you use Teams in a safe way. Your funder may have specific requirements for data storage, and you should check that Nexus365 and Teams meets their guidelines.
The members of your Team are not restricted just to Nexus365 users in Oxford – you can also add external members, known as Guests. There are a few limitations on what these Guest users can do: for full details see the table on the Microsoft Docs website. Among the things that a Guest can do are
- Participate in a private chat
- Participate in a channel conversation
- Post, delete, and edit messages
- Access SharePoint files
- Attach files
Data management and file sharing
Teams uses SharePoint Online in the background as a file store; this means that edits and changes to typical Office files like Word and Excel can be tracked effectively with version control, documents can be edited collaboratively in real time (which is significantly more efficient than emailing copies of documents back and forth), and it is also possible to check out a file before editing it, which will prevent other users from editing it at the same time.
Other useful collaboration features
The Centre for Teaching and Learning has a guide to using a whiteboard in a Teams meeting.