Microsoft Teams Student Guide

Microsoft Teams logo

Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one collaboration tool. In Microsoft Teams, you can meet and collaborate through web-conferencing and group chat with other people at UBC. The tool also enables file-sharing and real-time document collaboration.

Access Immediate You can access Microsoft Teams from your computer as soon as you set up a UBC Microsoft account and install the Microsoft Teams application.
Bandwidth Partial High demand on internet connections.
Privacy Yes Verified by UBC’s Privacy Impact Assessment process.

What will I use it for?

You can use Microsoft Teams for different kinds of collaborative interactions:

  • Chat with other students, instructors, and teaching assistants
  • Collaborate in real time on documents
  • Share information and files
  • Attend lectures, office hours, and meetings.

This tool guide was last reviewed in March 2023.

What do I need to use Microsoft Teams?

The Microsoft Teams application

Although Microsoft Teams has a web interface for some features, you may find it more convenient to install the Microsoft Teams application on your computer or mobile device.


A UBC Microsoft account

To access Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft products at UBC, you will need a UBC Microsoft account. To get a UBC Microsoft account, you have to be a registered, active UBC student and follow the opt-in process, as outlined below.


Audio/visual equipment

If you plan on using web-conferencing features in Microsoft Teams, you will need a webcam and microphone. We recommend using either an external microphone or headphones with a microphone attached, to ensure good audio quality.

Tips

  • If you are on a mobile device, please use the latest version of iOS and Android. These versions will ensure the best experience with Microsoft Teams.
  • Avoid using Safari, if you use a web browser to access Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams does not support using Safari, but it supports using most other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

How do I use Microsoft Teams?

You will first need to make sure you’re set up with a UBC Microsoft account. It’s also easiest to install the application, to give yourself one central place to access and use all the Microsoft Teams features.

Click any bar below to find instructions and tips for using Microsoft Teams.

Expand All

Set up a UBC Microsoft account

To get a UBC Microsoft account, you need to be a registered, active UBC student and follow the opt-in process below. Once you opt in, you do not need to follow the process again.

  1. You will first create a new UBC email address that uses your UBC CWL (Campus-Wide Login). This email will look like "CWL@student.ubc.ca", (where "CWL" is replaced with your actual UBC CWL username), and it will serve as your UBC Microsoft account.
  2. To create this email address, sign in to the UBC CWL myAccount page.
  3. If you have privacy concerns about sharing your CWL username with others, you may anonymize it. To do so, click Rename CWL in the navigation and follow the steps.
  4. When you are ready, click Activate Student Email in the navigation.
  5. After reading the terms and conditions, click Accept.
  6. It may take up to 48 hours before your account becomes active. Once your account is active, you can access Microsoft Teams (as well as Microsoft OneDrive) with this new email address and your UBC CWL password.

Install the Microsoft Teams application

  1. To download the desktop application, go to the Microsoft Teams download page and click Download for desktop, then click Download Teams.
    • The website will automatically detect your operating system and download the right installation file.
  2. Open the Microsoft Teams installer that downloads, and follow the steps to install the application.

Tips

Log in to Microsoft Teams

No matter how you access Microsoft Teams, you will log in with the same UBC credentials.

  1. You can access Microsoft Teams from the web portal or the Microsoft Teams desktop or mobile application. We recommend the latter.
  2. Enter your CWL@student.ubc.ca email (where "CWL" is replaced with your actual UBC CWL username) when prompted for your work, school, or Microsoft account.
  3. Enter your UBC CWL password.
  4. This action should log you in to Microsoft Teams. You may need to read and accept the terms of use first.

Tips

  • Before you can log in, you will need to follow the earlier steps for setting up your UBC Microsoft account. See the accordion above for help in setting up your account.
  • You can choose to stay signed in to reduce how often you need to log in. If you are on a personal computer this option can be good, but please opt out if you are on a public computer.

Join a team in Microsoft Teams

A team refers to a specific group of people (like a course or club) in Microsoft Teams who want to collaborate together exclusively. Each team gets access to a private space where members can share communications and content.

  1. The owner of a team (e.g., your course instructor) will invite you to join the team. They will send you a code for joining.
  2. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  3. Click Teams in the navigation.
  4. Click Join or create team at the top or bottom right.
  5. Enter the code that was sent to you.
  6. Click Join team.
  7. This action will add the new team under the “Your Teams” section and give you access to collaborate and communicate in this new space.

Tips

  • To be invited to join a team, you will need to share your Microsoft account email address with the team owner(s). This email is the address you set up at CWL@student.ubc.ca, where "CWL" is replaced with your actual UBC CWL username.
  • Your team will primarily use channels for communicating. Channels are spaces for conversations focused on specific topics. You can have video/audio or text chat discussions, share files, and more. Channels can be open to everyone (public) or only to invited individuals (private). To view all channels for a team, click more options (the 3 horizontal dots) at the top right corner of your team name, and choose "Manage team". Click the "Channels" tab to find all the active channels.

Attend Microsoft Teams meetings

Meetings in Microsoft Teams are how anyone can host lectures, presentations, office hours, meetings, and more. You will receive an invite to join a meeting through the email that your UBC CWL account is associated with. You should also be able to access all your meetings through your Microsoft Teams calendar, as detailed below.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Calendar in the navigation.
  3. Click Join for the meeting in your calendar.
  4. When you are ready, click Join Now.

Tips

  • To be invited, you will need to share your Microsoft account email address with whomever is setting up the meeting. This email is the address you set up at CWL@student.ubc.ca, where "CWL" is replaced by your actual UBC CWL username.
  • Some instructors may post meeting invites directly in Canvas. You can click the link in Canvas to join the Microsoft Teams meeting. Ask your instructor or teaching assistant if you are not sure how to join the meeting.

Schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams

You can schedule meetings of your own in Microsoft Teams, which is handy for things like group projects or assignments.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Calendar in the navigation.
  3. Click + New meeting at the top.
  4. Fill in the meeting information, including the title, attendees, date and time, recurrence, or any of the other applicable fields.
  5. To invite people, you can search for them by name or by email. Alternatively, if you are part of a team (e.g., a course or club) you can add an entire channel and anyone who is part of the channel will have access to your meeting.
  6. Click Save to send your meeting invite.

Chat in Microsoft Teams

In Microsoft Teams, you can chat privately with individuals or groups of people. Chat is best used for casual conversation. It is not meant for exchanging confidential or sensitive information. Chat messages exchanged in the "Chats" area of Microsoft Teams are deleted after 90 days, as part of the UBC Records Management Office retention schedule.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Chat in the navigation.
  3. At the top of the application, click the new chat icon that is to the left of the search bar.
    • Or, if you have used chats before, click the pencil icon that is to the left of the search bar.
  4. Enter a name, email, or group name in the “To” section to invite others to the chat.
  5. Enter your message in the message bar and use any of the additional options for chatting there:
    • Enhanced message formatting: Use the additional features of a rich text editor.
    • Delivery options: Change the status of a message to important or urgent.
    • File-sharing: Collaborate on a document by sharing a file.
    • Loop components: Collaborate on smaller elements like lists or tables by adding a component.
    • Reactions: Send emojis, gifs, and stickers.
  6. Click the send icon in the bottom right corner.
  7. You can also launch audio, video, or screen-sharing with people in the chat by using the options in the upper right corner.

Tips

  • The search bar at the top of the Microsoft Teams application can also be used to start and view chats. Begin a chat or bring up a chat history by typing in person's name. You can also choose what chat history is available for any people you add to an existing chat.
  • Know that one-to-one and group chat messages will be deleted after 90 days, even if they have been bookmarked. To exchange information and files that are kept beyond 90 days, consider using a Microsoft Teams channel or sharing files on Microsoft OneDrive.

Upload a file to Microsoft Teams

You can upload a file to a channel, and everyone with access to that channel will be able to view and download the file.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Teams in the navigation, and select the team to expand its channels.
  3. Select the channel you want to upload the file in, and click Files at the top.
  4. Click Upload, and choose Files from the drop-down menu.
  5. Select a file you want to upload and click Open.

Tips

  • Microsoft Teams has a file upload limit of 250 GB per file and 25 TB per team. For additional multimedia file storage and sharing, you can consider using Kaltura, the media platform that is built into Canvas.
  • Files uploaded to a channel can be downloaded by any team members who have access to that channel. Please be aware that any downloadable files with course-sensitive material (like lecture videos) should be for personal use only and should not be shared publicly.

Collaborate on documents in Microsoft Teams

You can collaborate on documents with other students in Microsoft Teams. Files can be edited by multiple people at once, and each person can view the edits as they are being made.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click either Chat (if you want to share documents through a chat) or Teams (if you are part of a team and want to share documents through a team channel) in the navigation.
  3. Select the chat or team channel you want to use. Under the message bar, click the paperclip icon to share a file.
    • If you are sharing a file in a team channel, you may need to click New conversation to open the message bar.
  4. Select the location where the file is stored and choose the file you want to share.
  5. Write a message to go along with your file to help collaborators know what you're sharing.
  6. Click the send icon in the bottom right corner.
  7. Once the message has been sent, anyone who can see it (i.e., anyone with access to the chat or team channel) can open the file and start editing.

Each shared file has something called version history. This history tracks changes and saves different versions over time. You can see who made which edits and restore or save older versions.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Access the file you want to view versions for. You can click Files in the navigation as one way to find it.
  3. Once in the edit screen, click File at the top, then select Info.
  4. Click Version History.
  5. This action opens the file in versioning view. You can navigate between different versions and see who made which edits. You can also save a copy of a specific version or restore that version.

Tips

  • You can switch between editing and reviewing mode when viewing a file to make direct edits (editing mode) or add comments and suggestions (reviewing mode).

Request a team in Microsoft Teams

UBC student teams or clubs can request a team space to help organize, communicate, and collaborate exclusively within your organization.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Get Started in the navigation.
  3. Under "Quick Links" on the right-hand side, click Request a Team.
  4. Select Student Team Request Form.
  5. Complete the form and click Save.
  6. Once submitted, your request will be checked within 24 hours. You will receive an email confirmation once it's approved. As an owner of a UBC team, you will be able to manage the team, including who is invited to the team and how the channels are set up.

Manage a team that you own in Microsoft Teams

If you are the owner of a UBC team in Microsoft Teams, you'll have the ability to invite people to the team and create channels for the team.

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Teams in the navigation.
  3. Select more options (the 3 horizontal dots) at the top right corner of your team name, and choose Manage team.
  4. Click the Settings tab, click Team code, and generate one for your team (if one has not been generated already).
  5. Click Copy and share this code with your members or other invitees somewhere that only they can see it.
  6. Anyone with this code can use it to join your team.
  1. Open the Microsoft Teams application and sign in, if you haven't already.
  2. Click Teams in the navigation.
  3. Select more options (the 3 horizontal dots) at the top right corner of your team name, and choose Add channel.
  4. Give the channel a descriptive name and description. Try to make it easy for others to understand what this channel should be used to communicate about.
  5. Choose a privacy setting:
    • Standard: Accessible to everyone on the team
    • Private: Accessible only to specific people that you select from the team
  6. Click Add.

Tips

  • Your team will primarily use channels for communicating. Channels are spaces for conversations focused on specific topics. You can have video/audio or text chat discussions, share files, and more. Channels can be open to everyone (public) or only to invited individuals (private).
  • Add channels for specific topics (e.g., events) to help organize your team space. Targeting channels at specific purposes makes it easier for members to find information and engage.
  • The general channel is always included for non-specific discussions. This channel cannot be removed or renamed in any team.

Microsoft Teams FAQ

Find UBC-specific answers to frequently asked questions by clicking any bar below.

No. Microsoft Teams will not be replacing any current tools, such as Zoom. It is available as an additional collaboration tool. It gives you a single place for group work where you can meet, chat, and collaborate on documents in real time with your peers.

It depends on the way you want to use Microsoft Teams. To attend a Microsoft Teams meeting or live event, you do not need to create an account and can click the link to join as a guest. However, to chat, use the collaboration functions, or host your own meetings, you’ll need a UBC Microsoft account.

Yes. Once you create a UBC Microsoft account, you are encouraged to use Microsoft Teams on your own to meet, chat, and collaborate.

You can also request to host or be invited to join a team on Microsoft Teams for a club, team, or other UBC student organization.

Chat messages exchanged in the "Chats" area of Microsoft Teams are deleted after 90 days, as part of the UBC Records Management Office retention schedule.

A retention schedule ensures that records which are intended to be temporary are not stored indefinitely. By regularly removing records that do not need to be stored, UBC reduces the risk of data breaches and maximizes the digital storage space available.

To exchange information and files that are kept beyond 90 days, consider using a Microsoft Teams channel or sharing files on Microsoft OneDrive. Chats in a channel and files on OneDrive will not be deleted on a schedule.

No. We recommend installing the desktop or mobile application to run Microsoft Teams as an application. But you can also access it from your browser by signing in at teams.microsoft.com with your UBC Microsoft account.

Where can I get more support with Microsoft Teams?

Technical support

If you have trouble with Microsoft Teams:


Online learning support

Learn more

  • In the Microsoft Teams application, click “Get Started” in the navigation to learn more about Microsoft Teams at UBC.
  • You can also click “Help” in the navigation to find learning topics and training options.

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