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Using Teams to Teach: Keep in Touch

Tips and tricks for using Teams for distance education.

Using Teams to Keep in Touch

One of the best use of Teams is keeping in touch with your students. You can chat with individual students or with the class as a whole.

Most students are familiar with some sort of chat software - whether it be Discord, Facebook Messenger, Slack, or something else. They can chat easily from their phones, and may be more comfortable with the casual tone of chat vs email. 

Get Links to your Team

Get a link to your Team

​In your team, click the '...' menu and select 'Get Link to Team'.


You can add this link to your Blackboard course, in emails, and wherever else you communicate with your students. 

You can get a link to a specific channel by following the same instructions on the channel.

Get a Link to Your Personal Chat

Link to your personal chat

You can easily add a link that opens to your personal chat by using as the link. Replace the magenta 'user' with your email username. 

See this great article for more advanced tips. This can be a great way to hold virtual 'office hours' with students. 


Links in Blackboard

Changing your Teams link in your Blackboard Template Menu

  • Click the chevron next to 'Teams Site'on your Blackboard content menu.
  • Choose 'Web Link'.
  • Paste the link to your Team.


Adding a link in a Blackboard Content Box

You can add links almost anywhere in Blackboard - in items, in assignment instructions, in test questions, in announcements, and more. The more places you link Teams, the more likely your students will use it. 

  • Choose the link icon from the toolbar. 
  • Paste the link to your Team.
  • Be sure that 'Target' is set to 'Open in New Window' - otherwise your students may have issues opening the link.

Examples of Linking to Teams

Here are some of the ways I'm linking to Teams for my students. The more places they can access the link, the more likely they will use it to communicate with you and their classmates.

In the weekly summary



In assignment instructions



As a discussion assignment
(Links to a specific Teams channel)



In an announcement



Starting Private & Group Chats

Chat Tips & Tricks

  • Use @name to mention a user by name - it will notify them and grab their attention.
  • Use @channel to send a notification to everyone in a particular channel.
  • Use the smiley face to send emojis - or type ':emoji:' to insert one. For example ':book:'

Set your Status

Set your status to let students know when you're available or don't want to be disturbed. 

Some statuses are set automatically according to your idle time, scheduled activities in Outlook, and more. 

Find out more here

Set your status message to provide students information about when you can be contacted. 

Find out how here

Managing Notifications

You'll automatically get notifications when someone chats with you privately or @mentions you on a channel.  

You can manage your notifications in your settings and adjust things such as:

  • Where notifications appear (your activity feed in Teams, a pop-up banner notification, a push notification on your phone, etc)
  • What channels notify you of activity
  • When and if Teams sends you emails about activity

Find out more here.