Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming one of the most popular tools for schools to maintain communication between school staff, and also with those outside the organisation. The Herts for Learning Technology in Schools team has been working hard to set this up for many schools since the Covid-19 restrictions came into place in March.
People do not need to have Teams installed in order to be invited to a Teams meeting, as everything can take place within a web browser. (Note that they may need the Teams app, however, if joining a meeting on a tablet/phone.)
In this blog post, we will provide a basic step-by-step guide for holding video-meetings with people who do not work within your organisation.
There is actually more than one way to book an online meeting with Microsoft Teams, and in this guide we will be using the web-based version of the Microsoft Outlook calendar to set everything up.
1) In Microsoft Outlook, whether using the web based version at www.office.com (from which these screenshot have been taken) or the client installed on your computer, open the calendar.
2) Click on New Event, or alternatively click on the actual calendar on the day/time you want the video-meeting to take place.
3) Now give the meeting a name, as will be displayed in the calendar and the invitation email that will be sent to the participants who are not part of your organisation.
4) Beneath the meeting name, type the email address(es) of those you wish to invite. If using the Teams program on your computer instead of the web-based version, use the Invite Attendees button at the top of the New Appointment window.
5) Next, check or fill in the date/time that you require.
6) Now it is important to select the Teams Meeting switch, as this will create the video-meeting link that will be required by anyone joining the meeting. See the screenshot below.
7) If you wish to add any further details or attachments, you can do so at the bottom of the window.
8) When all the details are correct, click on the Send button at the top of the window to invite the participants.
Note that if you invite multiple people through the calendar event, then the invitees would be able to see each other's email addresses. If this is not appropriate for data protection reasons, then rather than inviting people through the calendar, the meeting organiser could just invite him/herself, and the copy/paste the meeting link into an email. They could then add the invitees' email addresses to the BCC field, therefore hiding the addresses from each other.
9) The participant will receive an email, within which will be the link to join the meeting. When using this link, the participant may be asked whether they wish to download the Microsoft Teams app or join the meeting on the web.
10) Clicking the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link will open a preview window (see below) where it is possible to turn on and off the webcam and microphone. Clicking on the Devices button will provide additional options such as selecting which microphone to use, if more than one is present. The invitees will also be required to enter their name at this stage.
11) When it’s time to join the meeting, the meeting organiser can open the event in their calendar and click on Join Microsoft Teams Meeting, and then Join now button as shown above. The organiser can also access Meeting options from the calendar event, and control who can present their screen during the meeting.
12) The invited participant(s) can click on the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting in the email they received and then the Join now button as shown above.
13) The invited participant will see a message similar to this one, to let them know that the organiser will let them into the meeting.
14) The organiser will see that someone is waiting to join the meeting and is being held in the ‘lobby’. By clicking on Admit, the participant is joined to the meeting.
15) During the meeting, a toolbar is present for both the organiser and the participants, which provides various different options, as shown below.
16) In addition to these options, clicking on the More actions button in the centre of the toolbar (the three dots) brings up additional options, as shown.
17) The organiser of the meeting also has the ability to mute participants or remove them from the meeting if necessary. Firstly, the organiser needs to click on the Show Participants button on the toolbar.
18) The organiser can then click on the More Options button (the three dot) next to the participant in question, to show the options available. Note that it is not possible to unmute others, for privacy reasons.
19) Important note: If the organiser of the meeting leaves before the participants (guests), then the participants can continue the meeting without the organiser. They effectively remain in the virtual meeting room. To prevent this, the organiser should use the End Meeting button to remove others from the session and close down the meeting, as shown below.
To summarise, organising a video-meeting with people who do not work for your organisation is as simple as creating a calendar entry, making it a Teams Meeting and sending out the invitation to your guests, who can join through a web browser or app by following the link in their invitation.
If you are a Hertfordshire school and would like to find out how we can set up Microsoft Teams for you, please contact our service desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01438 844777