How To Turn Off The Chat Feature in Class Teams

The chat feature in Microsoft Teams is a useful tool that allows students to communicate with their teachers and peers during online lessons. However, there may be times where the chat feature isn’t necessary and is causing distractions during lesson time.

Similar to the mute feature on Teams, this can easily be controlled and turned off, enabling you to teach without any interruptions. 

There are two simple ways to turn off the chat function, this can be done before or during your online lesson:

Disable chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

You can disable the chat function before your lesson starts through Meeting options. This can be accessed on the calendar entry for your meeting.

Meeting options is found under Details on the calendar entry. 

Disable chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

When the Meeting options menu appears, you can disable the meeting chat, along with other options for your meeting, such as who can present and allowing your students to un-mute themselves. 

To turn off the chat feature, change the Allow meeting chat option from enabled to disabled. Make sure to click Save after – this disables the chat function and activates any other changes you’ve made. 

Turn off chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

Your students are made aware that the chat function isn’t available in the chat window when the lesson starts. 

Turn off chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

Disable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Teachers can also disable the chat function during the lesson. This can be useful when you want to disable the chat during certain parts of your lesson. 

At the top of your screen, there are a few options that allow you to control your meeting. To disable the chat function, you need to select the more actions menu (…).

When the drop-down menu appears, select Meeting options

To turn off the chat feature, change the Allow meeting chat option from enabled to disabled. Make sure to click Save after – this disables the chat function and activates any other changes you’ve made. 

Disable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

At some point during your lesson, you may want to turn on the chat function to allow your students to communicate again. This can be done the same way by selecting Meeting options and enabling Allow meeting chat

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Using Meeting options is a great way to control your lessons and prevent any distractions during lesson time. The simplicity of this process also allows you to quickly change these options during your lessons giving you the freedom to activate and deactivate at any time and allowing students to contribute and communicate at the right times to enhance their learning. 

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Watch our step-by-step video on how to turn off the chat feature in Class Teams:



How To Review and Lock Pages in Class Notebook

Locking a page within Class Notebook is important when marking and assessing work, to prevent the student from editing the document after its deadline. In this guide, we show you how to review students work in Class Notebook and how to lock a page to prevent further editing by a student.  

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

Open Class Notebook in Teams and select Class Notebook. 

Choose Review student work to open a menu on the right-hand side of the page. Select the Notebook section where the page we need to review is stored.  

How To Review and Lock Pages in Class Notebook

Select the page you wish to review. The names of your students in the selected Class Team appear in alphabetical order. Simply choose the name of the student whose work you wish to review.   

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

Select Insert to type any notes or add emojis and sticks.  

The Class Notebook is updated in real-time so students can log in and see comments as soon as they’re written.  

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

Once the assignment has been graded and returned to the student, the Notebook can be edited by the student. Teachers may wish to lock the page so further editing can not be carried out by the student.   

Open Class Notebook in Teams and select Class Notebook. 

Choose Review student work to open a menu on the right-hand side of the page. Select the Notebook section where the page we need to review is stored. E.g. “Homework” 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

Choose the page you wish to lock and then select the Page Locking button at the top of the right-hand side menu.  

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

A tickbox is revealed next to the students’ name. Select either “All students” to lock all student pages, or select individual students to lock specific student pages.  

A padlock appears alongside the students’ name to indicate the page has been locked. Select Apply to lock the page(s). The student can no longer edit the page. 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook. How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

 

How to unlock pages within Class Notebook.

Follow the same process as above, but uncheck the tick box next to the student’s name. Then select Apply to unlock the page(s).  

Note: When a page is locked for a student, teachers have full read and write access to the page.  

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to review and lock pages in Class Notebook:



How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

In this guide, we show you how to lock the collaboration section in a Class Notebook.  

The collaboration space in a Class Notebook is where all students can edit the same pages and work together on projects. After using it, teachers may wish to lock the section to prevent students from editing the page, or so that the work can be assessed.  

When you have finished using the collaboration space, select Class Notebook and choose Manage Notebooks. 

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Switch the Lock Collaboration Space toggle from unlocked to locked.  

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Teachers are still able to edit the collaboration space when it’s locked, however, students are denied editing rights.  

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Students are still able to use other areas within their own Class Notebook, such as the Homework and Class Notes tabs.  

There are a few options for what to do with a locked collaboration space:  

Teachers can move the locked collaboration space into the Content Library and distribute the page to their students’ Class NotebooksFor example, as a homework or revision task.   

Alternatively, teachers can use the page as part of an assignment that can then be formally graded. 

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Once you have finished working in the collaboration space, set it back to unlocked to allow students to join the next time you need to use it.   

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams. 



If you have any questions on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams, please contact a member of our team today.

 

How To Deal With Unwanted Guests In Class Teams Meetings

In this guide, we discuss how we can prevent unwelcome guests from joining our online lessons in Microsoft Teams.  

Enable lobby for all Class Teams meetings in your school. 

Making sure the meeting policy for teachers within this school’s tenancy is set so that the lobby is enabled.  

Firstly, make sure your meeting policy for teachers is set within the school’s tenancy to enable the lobby.  

By default, all attendees enter the session through the lobby, which means you’re able to accept or reject members coming into the session, allowing you to avoid any unwelcome guests attending your session at all. 

Enable lobby for a specific Class Teams meeting. 

If the lobby isn’t automatically enabled for teachers in your school, you can choose to enable the lobby manually on your meetings and classes. 

Once you set up and save your meeting, you can then select Edit.  

How To Stop Unwanted Guests In Your Class Teams Meetings

Select Meeting Options and then set the Who can bypass the lobby? option to Only me.  

Enable Lobby for a specific Classt Teams Meeting

How to spot an unwelcome guest in your Class Teams meeting. 

As students enter the meeting lobby, you can see their names and icons appearing in the Participants panel.  

One sign of a user who isn’t supposed to be in the meeting is they will usually have (Guest) after their name.   

How to spot an unwelcome guest in your Class Teams meeting

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that some legitimate students may appear to be guests for several reasons. 

Students may share devices with family members and could be joining on other accounts with names you do not recognise. To prevent confusion, you should remind students to sign into their own accounts before joining Teams lessons. By establishing this rule, you can prevent students from missing out on crucial lesson time and learning resources, as well as keep the class safe from unwelcome guests.  

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the Teams desktop app. 

Select the red cross beside the user you suspect is an unwelcome guest and that removes them from the lobby and denies them access to the lesson.  

Note: They can attempt to rejoin, but they’re flagged up in the lobby area with no access to your online lesson. 

Select the green tick beside your students’ names to admit them to the lesson.  

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the Class Teams meeting via desktop app

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the browser version of Teams. 

As students enter the lobby, a notification shows on the navigation bar. 

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the browser version of Teams

While you can admit students from this notification by selecting Accept, we strongly recommend selecting View Lobby to bring up a list of users in the lobby.  

Alternatively, you can also select the View Participants icon on the navigation bar.  

Show participants

When you can view a list of users who are waiting in the lobby and follow the same steps as you would in the desktop app:  

Select the red cross beside the user you suspect is an unwelcome guest, and that removes them from the lobby and denies them access to the lesson. 

Note: They can attempt to rejoin, but they’re flagged in the lobby area with no access to your online lesson. 

Select the green tick beside your students’ names to admit them to the lesson.  

How to view participants in browser version of Teams  

What happens if I accidentally admit an unwelcome guest into my Class Teams meeting? 

Select the three dots (…) next to the unwelcome guest’s name to bring up several options. 

Choose Remove from meeting to kick the unwelcome guest out of the lesson. 

Removing unwanted guest from the meeting

Watch our step-by-step video guide on how to deal with unwanted guests in Class Teams meetings:



If you have any questions on how to deal with unwanted guests in Class Teams meetings, please contact a member of our team today.

Wilberforce Sixth Form College Awarded Microsoft Showcase College Status (Microsoft 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 14)

Cloud Design Box has been working with Wilberforce College, a further education Sixth Form College in Hull, to support them in moving to Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, through training and strategy sessions, as well as software set up and implementation.

Assistant Principal at Wilberforce College Jonathan Butler recently joined us on a webinar to discuss best practices in Microsoft Teams and how working with Cloud Design Box has helped the school achieve their goals with cloud-based learning.




Listen on Spotify

“If you’re thinking about moving over to Teams, you must think about how you’re going to share and store files – it should be your priority. If you don’t have a backend storage system – like SharePoint – linked with Teams, things can become a little bit messy, especially when you enter a new school year,” Jonathan explains.

“Cloud Design Box has helped us to set up Teams and SharePoint in a way that will serve us year after year, with long-term resources that can be reused for each new class you teach.”

The College was crowned a DfE EdTech Demonstrator School and are now part of the network of schools and colleges who have shown they can use technology effectively and have the capacity to help other education organisations do the same.

“We had a head start in moving across to Teams and SharePoint thanks to the long-term strategy and technology rollout implemented by Tony and the rest of team.”

Wilberforce College has witnessed a massive increase in staff engagement and enthusiasm for Microsoft 365.

“After taking part in the informative training sessions with Lloyd at Cloud Design Box, our staff have been inspired to learn more and look deeper into how we can use Teams better in the school. Around 80% of our teaching staff took it upon themselves to seek further training from Microsoft,” Jonathan adds.

“The enthusiasm and uptake of the product sort of snowballed from there. We have now been awarded Microsoft Showcase College status and are the only sixth form in the UK to be awarded this accolade.”

CPD Training Graph

Throughout the pandemic, Teams and SharePoint has transformed the way teachers and school staff collaborate at Wilberforce:

“It’s great to see so many members of staff recording quick training videos and sharing them with colleagues. At the tap of a button, this valuable content can be shared to all staff, or specific groups. For example, we recently had a teacher share a video on immersive reader,” he tells us.

“Teachers are no longer working in isolation – they’re sharing their resources, skills and knowledge. Even when the pandemic is over, we must make sure this kind of collaboration continues.”

Here’s a video featuring the staff and students at Wilberforce College, talking about how Microsoft 365 has transformed learning.



Webinar: Safeguarding in Microsoft Class Teams with Senso Cloud

Cloud Design Box is partnering with Senso Cloud to deliver a free live workshop on Safeguarding in Microsoft Class Teams. Sign-up for free here.

Senso Cloud

Senso Cloud provides real-time monitoring of Teams chat using AI and we are working with them to help our customers safeguard online learning in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

With the rapid increase of remote learning during the last year, teachers and school staff have raised concerns about monitoring activity within Class Teams, for example when students are working in breakout rooms and have the ability to chat via Teams.

“Senso has provided us with an excellent and ever-evolving safeguarding solution for some time now, enabling us to monitor effectively what pupils do on our devices, with the exponential increase in remote learning through Microsoft Teams,” says Alan Hughes of Holgate Primary School.

In this informative, interactive session, teachers and school staff will discover more about how we can help them safeguard their school and students while using Microsoft Teams to communicate, collaborate and learn.

Senso Cloud enables teachers to monitor Teams, including the Private Chat feature, to give schools confidence and improve student wellbeing.

“With Senso monitoring, we’re able to make full use of Teams, knowing that we can monitor Chat for safeguarding concerns. It’s easy to use and we’re aware of any incidents with students within a few seconds,” says James Durrant of Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form College.

Teams Safeguarding with Senso Cloud takes place on Tuesday 23 March at 11am. Book your free place now.

How To Achieve More With Breakout Rooms In Microsoft Teams (Microsoft 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 13)

Breakout rooms in Microsoft Class Teams launched in January 2021, allowing teachers to create sub-meetings within the main class meeting for students to work together in small groups and discuss their learning.

In this discussion, we’ve included everything you need to know about breakout rooms in Teams, from how to set them up to safeguarding and saving time.




Listen on Spotify

How To Set Up Breakout Rooms In Class Teams

It’s straightforward to set up breakout rooms in Class Teams.

You can set up a breakout room once the meeting is open in the desktop app by selecting the breakout room button.

start teams breakout room

We have a step-by-step guide on setting up breakout rooms in Class Teams here.

The teacher can manually allocate each student to a specific breakout room or allow Teams to decide automatically. It’s entirely your choice – many teachers prefer to manually assign students, but it might be quicker to randomly assign everyone.

Once a breakout room is open, the students are placed into the room after 10 seconds. Breakout rooms can also be renamed.

How To Save Time Setting up Breakout Rooms in Class Teams

Currently, breakout rooms cannot be pre-planned and must be created while you’re in a Class Teams meeting. However, there are several ways to get around this.

The first is to open the meeting early and set out the rooms, then exit the meeting until you need to return, i.e. at the time of the class.

The second is to create recurring meetings for your lessons. Once you set up your breakout rooms in your first recurring meeting, it’ll save those rooms and reallocate the same students to the rooms for the next lesson.

reoccurring mreeting

How To Structure Breakout Rooms in Class Teams

The structure of your breakout rooms depends largely on how you teach your class. Here are some common examples:

  • Pairs or small groups.
  • Mixed ability groups.
  • Small groups with a teaching assistant.
  • Similar ability groups – i.e. red table, yellow table.

Think about how you structure your physical classroom and how you would group together students and apply this to the online classroom.

Ideas for Breakout Rooms in Class Teams.

Like with real-life group work in schools, breakout rooms are a great way to engage students in a different way that simply listening to the lesson and completing individual tasks.

Our Teaching and Learning consultant Darren Hemming was formerly a Modern Foreign Languages Teacher and has some ideas on how he’d use breakout rooms to enhance learning:

“One way is to set up a jigsaw activity, where each group takes a specific area or topic and completes questions or a task around that topic. Each group can then be brought back into the main Class Teams lesson to present to the rest of the class,” says Darren.

“There’s also the possibility of putting students into groups to complete individual work, but the breakout room is there as a co-working space. So the students can be working on their tasks, whether that’s completing a set of questions or doing some artwork, and if they get stuck, they can ask for peer support.”

Darren also points out that breakout rooms are a great way to reduce distractions on a students’ screen. If their screen is filled with 30 people, they may be less likely to contribute and also get distracted by their whole class staring virtually back at them.

Smaller groups mean fewer distractions and a less daunting environment to ask questions and contribute.

Safeguarding Students in Class Teams Breakout Rooms.

Safeguarding issues, inappropriate behaviour and cyberbullying are common concerns among teachers and staff who are dipping their toes into the world of breakout rooms.

“Firstly, you need to set expectations and communicate with both students and parents about what type of behaviour is acceptable during online learning,” Darren adds.

“Whether students are being taught online or in the classroom, safeguarding issues crop up. But there are some ways teachers can use the technology to closely monitor what’s happening within each room, as well as encourage them to stay on task.”

Teachers can hop in and out of the breakout rooms unannounced, and by doing this regularly, you can make sure students are staying on track.

Breakout rooms can also be recorded, which may help deter students from getting distracted or behaving inappropriately. To do this, teachers need to join the breakout room and hit record, but when they leave the breakout room, Teams will continue recording.

Another step to take in terms of safeguarding is updating your online learning policy to include Class Teams and breakout rooms.

“It’s all about being clear with your students that the expectations online are exactly the same as they would be on school premises,” says Darren.

Keeping Students On Task in Class Teams Breakout Rooms.

The methods mentioned above on safeguarding in breakout rooms can also be applied to keep students on task and steer them away from distractions and off-topic conversations.

A key way to keep students on task in breakout rooms is to keep the sessions short. By injecting a bit of urgency into the breakout rooms – i.e. only opening them for a few minutes at a time, you can make sure students are focusing on the task and not getting bored, going off-topic.

“It’s difficult to discipline students if they’re behaviour isn’t appropriate when teaching an online class. But you can always take them out of a breakout room (or the main Class Teams area) and into a breakout room with only you and talk to them about their behaviour,” Darren suggests.

“Of course, if the behaviour becomes an ongoing issue, you can then decide to take it further through the usual processes of your school, whether that would be to talk to their form tutor, head of house and eventually parents/guardians.”

Other Things To Remember About Class Teams Breakout Rooms.

Here are some additional tips you need to know about breakout rooms in Class Teams:

  • When a student enters a breakout room, their mic is unmuted and they have the ability to share their screen and present. But when they re-enter the main lesson, they are muted and can no longer present.
  • Recordings of individual breakout rooms are only shared with the specific participants, not everyone in the class. The teacher can access them, if needed, via OneDrive.
  • Reminders and time warning messages can be sent by the teacher to all breakout rooms to communicate with the class.

How To Manage Class Cover in Microsoft Teams with Cloud Design Box

Schools are currently facing additional challenges when managing class cover as a result of a teacher being absent due to sickness, needing to self-isolate or be re-deployed to teach key worker students.

Cloud Design Box has created a solution that allows schools to quickly and easily organise class cover, making sure the member of staff has temporary access to the right learning resources and Class Team within seconds.

Here’s how to get started with our Class Cover Manager tool:

Select a member of staff to temporarily assign them to a Class Team. This is usually a member of the leadership team or another user with permissions.

Select teacher and class to cover

The next step is to set a date for when the teacher needs to be removed from this Class Team. For example, if they are covering during a teacher’s 10-day isolation period.

Select a date for the cover to end

Selecting Save immediately gives access to the chosen member of staff to have access to that Class Team. This enables them to teach the class and access the correct learning resources until they are automatically removed from the Class Team on the chosen date.

The current class cover is displayed in the Existing Cover log.

Existing Cover

Previously, this could be achieved through the school MIS, however, with the current circumstances, we knew that schools needed a more flexible and accessible option.

Our Class Cover Manager is rolling out throughout February for our Silver, Gold and Platinum customers. If you’re one of these schools, you don’t need to do anything, the feature will appear in your portal shortly.


If you have any questions on how to manage class cover and achieve more with blended learning in Microsoft Teams, please contact a member of our team today.

Watch the class cover video guide below:



Free Events For Schools Wanting To Achieve More With Microsoft Teams

Cloud Design Box and SalamanderSoft have partnered up to design and deliver three free webinars tailored to schools, academies and Multi Academy Trusts who are looking to make the most out of remote and blended learning with Microsoft Teams.

Throughout January and February, the training sessions are free to anyone who works at a school, college, academy or multi academy trust.

“We understand the pressure teachers have experienced during the last year, and with the new Covid-19 restrictions resulting in many schools juggling remote and in-classroom learning, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed and struggle to find the time to adapt lesson plans and materials,” says Tony Phillips, Founder of Cloud Design Box.

“Our sessions aim to show schools how to make the most of the digital tools available, avoid duplication of work, save time on admin and find more time to focus on their students.”

Below is an outline of each webinar:


Getting started with Microsoft Teams


Getting Started With Microsoft Teams – Thursday 28 January @ 10am

In this session, teachers can learn how best to use Teams to support home and blended learning with confidence, providing some actionable tips on how both staff and students can get started with Microsoft 365.


Planning Long Term User Adoption with Microsoft Teams


Planning Long Term User Adoption of Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs – Thursday 28 January @ 3pm

When adopting any new technology, it’s crucial to bring everyone along on the journey with you – not just the tech-savvy members of staff.

Teams is no different. In this session, SalamanderSoft and the Cloud Design Box training team walk you through how to plan for long-term success with Teams, without leaving anyone behind.


Best Practices with Microsoft Teams


Best Practices with Microsoft Teams – Tuesday 2 February @ 10am

Specially-designed around overworked teachers who are struggling with Teams, this webinar demonstrates how you can eliminate additional work by collaborating on resources in a centralised location.

Department leaders learn how they can free up their staff’s time by using these tried-and-tested best practices.


Wilberforce College


Best Practices using Microsoft Teams with Wilberforce College – Wednesday 24 February @ 11am

Over the last year, Cloud Design Box has been working with schools and colleges across the country to support them with Covid-19 school closures and homeschooling through training and strategy sessions, as well as software set up and implementation.

One of these customers is Hull-based Wilberforce College:

“We realised that our students didn’t necessarily have access to lots of digital devices at home, and this was impacting on their ability to carry out independent work. We thought that by using one single platform where they could access all of their learning content on one app would be the best way forward. And that’s why we chose Teams and Cloud Design Box,” says Jonathan Butler, Assistant Principal (Teaching and Learning) at Wilberforce College.

“We’ve been looking for something like Teams for a long time and it’s changed the game for us during lockdown,” says Ashley Howe, STEM Faculty Head at Wilberforce College.

Wilberforce College using Microsoft Teams

Thanks to Cloud Design Box’s product and training, Wilberforce College has become the only educational institution in Hull and the East Riding to be awarded status as an EdTech DfE Demonstrator College.

“Without the help of Cloud Design Box, we would have never been in the position to achieve this,” says Jonathan Butler.

Cloud Design Box’s training sessions, up until now, have been primarily exclusive to existing customers. However, we are now opening up free places to anyone who works in a school and wants to develop their understanding of Microsoft Teams and how it can be used to deliver learning in and outside of the classroom.

Partner company SalamanderSoft supports Cloud Design Box’s product with its own technology and is looking forward to sharing their knowledge with teachers and school staff:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Cloud Design Box over the past few years, and we’re very happy to be able to offer these sessions alongside them, to help schools get the most from Microsoft Teams as easily as possible,” says Jon Atkinson, Managing Director of SalamanderSoft.

To find out more about Cloud Design Box’s latest free and virtual events, please head to www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/events.

Getting Started with Rubrics in Microsoft Teams Assignments

Rubrics are a powerful tool used to assess students’ work. The criterion helps students to have a concrete understanding and visualisation of what they need to do to achieve a particular score. Each criterion also includes a gradation scale of quality.

Rubric in Teams

Microsoft Teams for education includes rubric based grading. They can be created and reused across Teams making it a powerful time saving tool for teachers while at the same time helping students understand how to succeed in the assignment.



When setting assignments there is a “Add Rubric” option on the “New assignment” form.

Add Rubric

On the choose a rubric form, you can search for a rubric that has already been created or create a brand new one. In this post I go through how to create a new one by selecting the “new rubric” option.

choose a rubric form

Give the new rubric a name and turn on “points” so that we can assign scores to each piece of criteria.

New Rubric form

Enter your criteria, you can add more lines by pressing the plus button. You can also adjust the grading balance for each element. Teams will turn the points into an overall percentage when marking based on the balance given to each criterion.

When you have finished creating your rubric, set the assignment for the students.

When the students have completed the assignment, go to review the work and open the student’s homework. In addition to the comment and grade, you can now select the rubric.

marking work

This will show the criteria and you can select which has been met. The student work will be automatically marked based on the grade balance set in the rubric.

marking with rubric

This is what the student will see when you have graded their work with the rubric.

Rubric for students pupils

It’s another fantastic update to Microsoft Teams for education. There is still more to come this summer including Microsoft Forms integration with self-marking quizzes. We will bring you news and guides on how to use that as soon as it is released!