Teams - Microsoft

What is Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that combines many Microsoft Products. By default Teams provides access to Yammer, SharePoint,  and OneNote, all from within the same application. Yammer is an instant messaging product that allows for sending quick messages, images, and document links. SharePoint allows for sharing and editing of documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc...). Webconferencing is integrated into the product. OneNote provides a collaborative Notebook, which anyone in the team can contribute to.

What is the purpose of Microsoft Teams

The purpose of the tool is to manage projects. In a teaching and learning context, this tool can be used for class, group or student assignment managment. It can also be used for collaborative note taking. Microsoft Teams is intended to be flexible, and there are many application integrations that can be added to the product.

This tool is useful for remote work and web conferencing for small to medium-sized teams. Teams are able to collaborate via the internet via web conference and keep information such as files, notes and running commentary in divisions called channels.

How to use Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams is part of the microsoft 365 suite. It can be used both online through a web browser or through a stand-alone application. To access Microsoft Teams, sign into

To get started with the tool, instructors or students would create a team and add participants to it. Then participants can start communicating via the chat, add files, and collaborate on the OneNote notebook.

Where to find Support

This tool is centrally supported


For help, you can contact the WTS Helpdesk


Additional information on Microsoft Teams can be found on the Microsoft Teams Help Center

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 1 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 1 stars


The tool is restrictive to a limited number of users and cannot be scaled. Users are added manually, which can restrict use for large classes.
Ease of use rating:2 stars

Ease of Use

The tool has a learner interface that may be confusing to some; there is limited opportunity for personalization. There are many tools available. Although the flexibility is good, Teams can be tricky to navigate.
Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

In-person or email based technical support is readily available and aids users in troubleshooting tasks or solving problems experienced
Hypermediality rating: 3 stars


The tool allows users to communicate through different channels (audio, visual, textual) and allows for non-sequential, flexible/adaptive engagement with material

Accessibility overall rating: 3 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 3 stars

AODA Friendly

The tool fully supports compliance with AODA standards for accessibility (W3 WAI), and makes it easy for materials to be made AODA-friendly.See more information about accessibility in Microsoft Teams.
User Foused Participation rating: 3 stars

User-focused participation

The tool is designed to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities, thereby widening opportunities for participation in learning
Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the tool does not require equipment other than a computer and access to the internet

Technical overall rating: 1 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 1 stars

OWL Integration

The tool can only be offered in OWL through a link or static representations of the tool (i.e. PDF), rather than a functional version of the tool itself
Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the desktop application with a Windows or MacOS computer. There is a web application available that provides access for any web browser.
Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Users can effectively utilize the tool with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 etc.)
Additional Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

Users can effectively utilize the tool without any browser extensions or downloaded software

Mobile Design overall rating: 2 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

The tool is fully functional with a range of electronic mobile devices (laptops, tablets, touchscreens, mobile devices, etc.). There is a mobile application available for windows phone, iphone and android.
Mobile Functionality rating: 2 stars

Mobile Functionality

Basic features of the main tool are functional on the mobile app but advanced features are limited
Offline Access rating: 2 star

Offline Access

The platform can be used offline but tools and content are affected. For example, users can view cached content, and work on files locally. On connection to the internet, files are synced.

Usage and account set up overall rating: 3 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 3 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

Instructors, Students and Staff can use their Western accounts to access Microsoft Teams. Use of the tool does not require the creation of an external account or additional login; no personal user information is collected and shared.
Cost of Use rating:  3 stars

Cost of Use

While normally Teams would have a licencing fee, Teams is included in Western's Microsoft 365 Licence and all aspects of the tool can be used free of charge
Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users can archive, save, or import and export content or activity data in a variety of formats
Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 3 star

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data; the user can keep data private and decide if/how data is to be shared

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 3 stars


The tool has the capacity to support a community of learning through both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users
User Accountability rating: 2 stars

User Accountability

Instructors cannot control student anonymity but the tool provides some solution for holding students accountable for their actions such as "Track changes" and Version history in document editing. All students must use real accounts/names
Diffusion rating: 2 star


Student familiarity with the tool is likely mixed, some will lack basic technical competence with its functions

Instructor Presence overall rating: 1 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


The tool has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement
Customization rating: 3 stars


Tool is adaptable to its environment: easily customized to suit the classroom context and targeted learning outcomes
Learning Analytics rating: 1 stars

Learning Analytics

The tool does not support the collection of learning analytics


Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 3 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

The tool enhances engagement in targeted cognitive task(s) that were once overly complex or inconceivable through other means
Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Microsoft Word may engage students in higher order thinking skills (given significant consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor)
Feedback on Learning rating:3 stars

Feedback on Learning

Through the tool, students can regularly receive formative feedback on learning (i.e. they can track their performance, monitor their improvement, test their knowledge, etc.) 

Security and Privacy

This tool has been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Security and Privacy Flags

Information Collection

  • Application collects information that could identify the user specifically (email address, class schedule, etc..)


  • Application's Terms of Conditions or End User License Agreement poses a risk of binding the institution to an agreement thereby requiring legal counsel to review the application. However, this is mitigated as it has undergone legal review during the Technology Risk Assessment process.

Last Updated: July 15, 2020


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