Setting up Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams provides an alternative to Canvas Discussions and Announcements for student discussions and communication within a course. This tool allows for discussion that is easier to participate in and is more conversational in nature, to provide the ability for your students to chat with each other and with you, and/or to help facilitate group work. It’s available on multiple platforms (browser, desktop, and mobile) and requires minimal clicks to make a post.

Teams Setup

There are many ways you could set up Teams to be used in a course, the information below provides a good starting point for most courses.

Channels Setup

For a typical course, it will likely make sense to have a channel for each module so that students can ask questions related to the module topics and respond to the module Discussion prompts. Because of this, a typical Team setup would likely include the following channels:

  • General
      • This channel can be used for announcements from the instructor and general questions related to the course as a whole, such as those pertaining to language in the Syllabus, course policies, logistics, etc.
  • Module 1
  • Module 2
  • Module 3
  • etc. 

Note: It's recommended when creating the channels to select the option "Automatically show this channel in everyone's channel list." However, MS Teams currently has a limitation that allows only 10 channels to display automatically, so courses with 14 modules will have some channels hidden. You can provide instructions to guide students on how to always keep these channels displayed in their list.

Group work

For group work, it typically makes sense to either create a private channel for each group or to have students create a group chat to communicate and collaborate. This is because the rest of the class doesn't usually need to see the individual communication of the groups.

Canvas Setup

Each semester you will have a different Team space, which is accessed from the Canvas Course Navigation Menu item Microsoft Teams classes:

If you do not see the Microsoft Teams classes menu item it can be added from the course settings navigation section, or by requesting the Help Desk enable it for you.

Teams in Canvas Courses with Merged Sections

If your course has multiple sections which have been merged/cross-listed and are managed from a single Canvas site, you will be able to use a single Team for the whole class.

Important Note: Because of how the enrollment synchronization is handled with merged sections it is important that you wait to activate the team until the sections have been merged, do not click on the Microsoft Teams classes menu item or sync enrollments until after the section merge request has been completed by the Help Desk team.

How to Sync/Create The Teams Class

  1. By default, Teams Classes are not setup in a course until you turn on and run a sync.  An instructor needs to be enrolled for the course to create.
  2. When enrollments changes are made in a course that has enabled Microsoft Sync, it may take up to 10 minutes for those changes to sync to Microsoft Teams.
  3. The Teams Classes menu is visible by default for all that are enrolled in the course but can be hidden in the navigation settings.

    Open Settings


  1. In Course Navigation, click the Settings link.
  2. Click the Integrations tab.

Once in Settings, select integrations

 To enable to Microsoft Sync integration, click the State button.

Under integrations, there should be a feature called "Microsoft Sync". Make sure it is turned on.

  1.  Once the integration is enabled, a sync to Microsoft Teams will be triggered automatically by any changes to course enrollments.
  2.  The first time you enabled Microsoft Sync, you may want to trigger a manual sync to ensure all course data is synced with Microsoft Teams (toggle off/off and Sync).

In the integrations area, you can expand the Microsoft sync information and select "Sync Now"

  1. To view Microsoft Sync details, click the Expand icon.
  2. To sync course data with Microsoft Teams, click the Sync Now button.
  3. You can also view the sync status, date of last sync, and any sync errors.

Notes on Team Classes Setup

  • When enrollments changes are made in a course that has enabled Microsoft Sync, it will take additional time (Ex. 10 minutes to create the room to up to one day to update further enrollments) for those changes to sync to Microsoft Teams.  
  • Syncing is triggered by changes to course enrollments. The first time you enable Microsoft Sync for a course, you may have to trigger a sync manually with the Sync Now button (2).

Access Teams Classes (after Syncing)

After Creating/Synchronizing the enrollments for a Team, the Team must be Activated. Detailed information about activating the team (so that students can access it) and more can be found on the University Information Systems Teams for Canvas page.

More Information

For more information, check out the Microsoft Support information for getting started with Microsoft Teams. If you have difficulty logging in or accessing Microsoft Teams, please contact the Help Desk.

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