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.
Microsoft recently announced the live captions were in preview for Microsoft Teams meetings! This is a welcome addition for both accessibility and inclusion. Prior to this capability, some companies still had to rely on paying an outside source to attend meetings and provide a captioning service which does not come cheap. In testing with a group of people though, I found that not everyone saw the ability to turn captions on.
Desktop and application sharing has long been a thing in collaboration systems like OCS, Lync, Skype for Business, and Teams. However, one of the shortcomings has been that sharing a video that has audio, or audio on its own was not optimal. The video did not match up with the audio and the experience was very choppy.
In 2019, however, Microsoft released the ability to incorporate the option to share the audio from the host system via a Teams meeting or sharing session (which is now outdated info). This was a welcome change as it was frequently asked for. Share system audio was something that I frequently show people when doing training sessions. Much to my surprise though, in a recent training session I was unable to find this option. After a bit of poking around, I found that the option had been moved to an inconspicuous location without any notification (at least to my knowledge)…so is life in “the cloud”!
How Do I Share System Audio Now??
Never fear, it is still very easy to share system audio if you can’t find it elsewhere though! There are a couple of things you’ll need to do. Keep in mind that this will share ALL system audio…so if you get dings and whistles from new email alerts, etc those will also come through to the attendees so you may want to go into focus mode or do not disturb ahead of time.
Start a meeting or chat with a person or group
Connect to the audio
Once you’re connected to audio in a Teams meeting or chat, share either your desktop or a specific window that will include the object that you’re wanting to share audio from
Hover at the top of the screen until the presentation toolbar appears.
You’ll see an icon between “Give Control” and “Stop Presenting” that allows you to share the system audio:
That’s it, now you can play your video or audio clip and the attendees will hear it in near real time!
Have a Microsoft Teams quick tip that you think should be included in a future post? Comment below or connect with me on social media!
Back in July 2018, Microsoft released new functionality to Microsoft Teams that would migrate existing contacts and contact groups that you have configured in your Skype For Business client into Teams. Specifically, the release details were:
Bring your Skype for Business contacts to Teams When your organization moves from Skype for Business to Teams, your contacts will make the move with you. To see them, once you’re in Teams, click Chat on the left, then Contacts at the top.
During a recent migration from Skype for Business on-premises to Teams, though, I encountered a user who had multiple groups and contacts but none appeared in the Teams client. The fix was quick and painless.
If you have rolled out Teams, or any user facing technology platform, you will agree that one of the biggest challenges has nothing to do with making the technology work. Instead, that challenge is usually getting people to adopt and use the new system.
I get it, breaking habits is hard and using email as your go to communication tool is a habit that we’ve had for many years. So what’s a person to do when you receive an email but want to reply and have a quick conversation outside of email instead?