Introduction to MS Teams

MS Teams cartoon

Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based collaboration platform complete with document sharing, online meetings, and many more extremely useful features that many CSN faculty and staff already use everyday. As Teams is an ever-evolving platform, this page is designed to keep you abreast of current and upcoming features that you may find useful for teaching, collaborating and more.

Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms icon

Divide students into smaller groups during class meetings. Once the meeting has started, meeting organizers can create up to 50 sub-groups, open and close rooms more than once, and move participants between rooms.

Watch Microsoft's demo video to learn more about creating and using Breakout Rooms.

New Meeting Experience

TEAMS attendees screenshot
Microsoft has begun rolling out a variety of new and useful features to Microsoft Teams.The features below are part of Microsoft’s “new meeting experience”.

These features will be available by default in the coming weeks, but you can enable them now to get an early look.This article details how to activate the new experience and how to use the features that it includes.

Enable the new meeting experience

1. Select your profile picture at the top of the Teams app, then select “Settings“.

2. Select “Turn on new meeting experience”
Application window
3. Restart Teams by doing the following:
Right-click or Cmd-click the Teams icon in the Windows taskbar or Mac System Tray.
Select Quit.
Start Teams again like you normally would.

You might also see a notification that announces the new experience or reminds you to turn it on. Then it’s even easier—in that notification, choose Turn it on now if you’re ready at that point, or Maybe later if you’re in the middle of something.

Teams turn it on screen

What happens after you're turned on

The new experience contains several new and changed features.  First, Meeting controls have been moved to the top of the meeting screen.

They’re docked there so that you always have access to them (without jiggling your mouse) and they’re out of the way of the content and video that’s being shared.

TEAMS meeting controls image

After turning on the new experience and restarting Teams, the biggest thing you’ll probably notice is that any calls and meetings will pop out into their own window, separate from the main Teams window. Like this:

Teams meeting screenshot

If you're still seeing calls and meetings in the main Teams window
If you’re still seeing calls and meetings in the main Teams window after turning the setting on and restarting, go to your profile pic again and select “Check for updates”. Then quit and restart as above.

Additional Features

Meeting Notes

Meeting notes are now taken directly on the meeting’s Meeting notes tab in the main Teams window. (This is one of the benefits of having the meeting in a separate window.) To access or take notes from within the meeting window, select More options (…) > Show meeting notes and you’ll see the usual side pane come up. In the pane, there is a Take notes button that brings you to the Meeting notes tab.

Focus Mode

Focus mode is available when content is being shared. If you’d like to pay close attention to content, without the distraction of seeing video feeds, Focus mode is for you. It’s available in the meeting controls under More options (…) > Focus mode.

Together Mode

Together mode places each meeting participant in a seat in a virtual audience.  This is meant to create a sense of being in one room with all participants.

Together mode is only available when 5 or more participants are sharing video

Together mode can be activated using the menu opened by clicking on the “…” icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

TEAMS toolbar menu with ... menu selected

Together mode will place each participant’s video stream in a virtual seat.  This will look something like this:

TEAMS attendees screenshot
When to use together mode

Together mode is best suited to meetings that will have multiple speakers, groups that will have trouble maintaining attention, and presenters that would like to “read the room” and see all of their attendees faces at once.

When not to use together mode

Together mode does not show a user’s background, including items like a whiteboard.  If this is required, together mode is not recommended.

Meetings that will see a lot of people moving around and out of their seats will want to avoid together mode, as this will look strange on the screen.

Together mode currently only supports up to 49 users at a time.  Meetings with more participants than this may want to consider other options.

For more insights on the use and design of Together Mode, see this blog post on Microsoft’s website.

Large Gallery

Large gallery view lets you see up to 49 video streams at once. This view is available when there are 10 or more attendees who are sharing video. To switch to large gallery, go to More options (…) in the meeting controls > Large gallery.

TEAMS toolbar more menu options menu selected

Here’s an example of what the Large gallery looks like:

Screenshot of TEAMS meeting attendees

New PowerPoint Sharing

Users can now share PowerPoint slides without leaving the meeting window. Meeting participants also have the ability to move to a different slide in a shared PowerPoint without interrupting the presentation.

If you do not want users to move ahead on their own, select the Set particant limitations icon next to the Stop presenting button.


These questions and answers are copied from the Microsoft website.

Has screen sharing changed? How do I share my screen?

No big changes here. Teams allows you to share your entire desktop, an application window, PowerPoint presentations, or the Microsoft Whiteboard. To read more about these options, go to this Show Content in a Teams Meeting article.

Why are message extensions grayed out? I like to send polls in meeting chat.

We’re working on it! For now, if you want to send a poll or use other message extensions in the meeting chat, go back to the main Teams window, select the meeting chat (either via the Calendar or the list in Chat), and do it there.

What about InVision Freehand whiteboard?

Yup, we’re working on that, too.

Will live events also open in their own window?

No, not yet—that functionality is coming soon.

Focus mode is nice, but what about Full screen view?

We like Full screen view, too! (It’s available currently in meetings that happen in the main Teams window.) We’re working on bringing that to the new experience as well. When we do, you’ll have both Focus mode and Full screen view to choose from.

Which platforms?

The new meeting and calling experience is available for the Teams desktop client on both Windows and Mac. It is not available for Teams on the web.

Click here for instructions on installing the Teams Desktop Client.

What if I don’t turn the new experience on?

We’d love for you to try it out. We’re making it available in this way partly because in the near future, we’ll turn the experience on by default. Eventually, the setting to turn it on and off will go away. At that time, the experience of meetings in separate windows, with the meeting controls at the top, will become the norm. So we want you to have ample time to get familiar with it.

Calendar Events Widget - this area must remain for ADA compliance
01/10/2021TEAMS Training

Training and review of the most current features in TEAMS. Event will take place from 1:00 P.M..-2:00 P.M..

RSVP: place link here

01/21/2021TEAMS Training

Training and review of the most current features in TEAMS. Event will take place from 1:00 P.M..-2:00 P.M..

To join click this URL

01/25/2021TEAMS Training

Training and review of the most current features in TEAMS. Event will take place from 1:00 P.M..-2:00 P.M..

To join click this URL

02/19/2021TEAMS Training

Training and review of the most current features in TEAMS. Event will take place from 1:00 P.M..-2:00 P.M..

To join click this URL

03/05/2021TEAMS TrainingThis is a test entry checking the functionality

TEAMS Training Dates