Help! I Can’t Join a Microsoft Teams Channel Meeting!

As we have become more comfortable with the concept of working within a Team in Microsoft Teams, I see more and more people using Channel Meetings instead of the familiar meeting scheduled through an email client.  With that transition, I have also saw an odd issue reported a few times recently that required a little investigation. 

In the usual Channel meeting experience, members of the Team will see a post in the channel that the meeting was started in along with a “Join” button to participate in the action.

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For the reported scenario, though, a Channel meeting is actively in progress however, someone (or multiple someones) report that they are unable to join.  This issue goes beyond the usual challenges that we see with joining online meetings.  In this case, we can see that the meeting has started but they do not even see a “Join” button in the channel to attempt to participate in the meeting.

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Quoted Replies in Microsoft Teams Private Chats

As Microsoft Teams continues to gain traction, and I find myself part of more 1:1 and 1:many chats in Teams I frequently see confusion about who is replying to which message in an active chat. This is much more common when the replies are flying at a frantic pace causing messages to lose context.

The Teams mobile app has a built in swipe function to quote a message and reply making it clear where the the reply is joined. Simply swipe right on a specific message and hit the reply button which will quote the message and start the reply dialogue:

Demo of swiping right on a message in the Microsoft Teams mobile app to quote it in your reply

When using the desktop app, though, quoting a reply is not as intuitive. It can still be done, and I use it often. Simply copy the text you’d like to quote, then start a new message with the ‘>’ character. This will initiate a quote box that you can paste the text into before replying.

Demo of using the quote functionality in the Teams desktop app to quote a block of text and reply.

As @TheVarnish made clear to me when I showed him, this isn’t exactly the same functionality that exists in the mobile app. I’ll give you the same advice I gave him 😊…there are plenty of uservoice requests for the functionality, and I would suggest you vote for the feature if it is something you’d like.

Who Attended My Microsoft Teams Meeting?

I hear the question all of the time, “how do I get a list of attendees from my Teams meeting”? The reasons vary from a teacher wanting to make sure all students attended class, a business needing to track attendees of a training, etc. So how can we get that list?

Grab an admin

While the functionality exists, you need to start with getting it enabled which requires either a Global Administrator in your Microsoft 365 tenant, or someone with the Teams Administrator role.

As of the time of this writing, it must be enabled via the Skype for Business Online PowerShell module. I would expect this to become a GUI option at some point though. After connecting to the SFBO module, enable the ability to download a roster by running:

Set-CSTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -AllowEngagementReport "Enabled"

Keep in mind that after running this command, it will take a little time before you start seeing the option in meetings…so take a nap, grab a beer, or just wait until tomorrow before you tell anyone to try it out.

It’s enabled so give me my roster!

Only the meeting organizer is able to download the roster, so other presenters or attendees won’t even see the option. The meeting organizer, though, will see the option below which is going to download a CSV with info about attendees. You will be able to see when someone joins, leaves, etc. Additionally, there is a timestamp of the time the person joined.

Gotchas

This is a great addition that I’ve heard asked about many times, but there are some gotchas. I expect there to be improvements as time goes along so stay tuned!

GOTCHA #1: If someone joins the meeting prior to the organizer, the join timestamp currently shows the same time that the organizer joins. I don’t see that being a big issue in the majority of cases but just be aware.

GOTCHA #2: This is only giving you the roster of who joins or leaves while the organizer is in the meeting. If someone joins and leaves before you arrive you won’t capture them in the log.

Are Blackboard & Microsoft Teams Really “Better Together”?

On March 20th, 2020 educational institutions rejoiced as the eagerly awaited first integrations between the Blackboard LMS and Microsoft Teams was announced.  While I was aware of a group of Blackboard experts working with Microsoft to develop the integration, there had not been much public chatter about a release timeframe.  This leads me to wonder if they decided that it had reached “good enough” status and was sent out the door to help with the current COVID-19 situation taking the world by storm.  In any event, it was a welcome release!

But wait!  Doesn’t Blackboard already have a similar meetings solution, Collaborate?  It does but, not including the additional collaboration functionality in Teams, a couple of key features make Teams stand out.  Both involve accessibility and inclusion, live captions and automatic transcription of recordings.  Live captions have been in preview for a little while now and in action so far have performed well.  Additionally the automatic transcription of Teams meeting recordings will save instructors significant time over manually creating one, or paying for some 3rd party app to do the same.

As of the date of this post (3/24/2020), the integration is a simple LTI launch to the Teams meetings service.  There is a lot of possibility for the future, though, as (hopefully) Microsoft can take advantage of the REST connection to add deeper links into the content, calendar, and gradebook within Blackboard.  Blackboard has documented how to complete the LTI integration, and provided instructions for how to create and join meetings from within the application for the instructor and how to join from student experience so there is no need to cover those items.

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