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Table of Contents
What is Teams?
Teams is a communication and collaboration service from Microsoft and part of the Office 365 suite. As the successor of Skype for Business, Teams also primarily offers a wide range of possibilities for audio and video conferences, which are supplemented by tools for organising working groups. Like Cisco WebEx and Zoom, Teams is a public cloud service, so it does not run on the GWDG servers (on-premise), but directly at Microsoft. With reference to the Microsoft Campus Agreement of the Foundation University of Göttingen, the GWDG provides access to Office 365 and Teams, which can be activated independently by any authorized user via the customer portal.
However, the possibility of activating teams and Office 365 for one's own user account via the GWDG customer portal does not imply any recommendation by the GWDG in this regard. The decision to link the Microsoft cloud services with your own user account at the GWDG must be made individually and on your own responsibility. However, the GWDG's offer ensures that only the most necessary user information (name, organization and e-mail address) is transmitted to Microsoft without a user password.
Who can use Teams?
Currently, using Teams is possible for the employees of the University of Göttingen and the GWDG. Excluded from this are the employees of the UMG and the University's central administration. There, the use of Microsoft 365 with Teams is not approved and therefore the use of Teams is not possible.
Important! According to the guidelines of the University of Göttingen, it is not permitted to store business data and especially data that is worthy of protection in the Microsoft cloud.
Activating for Teams
The following steps are necessary for independent activation for Microsoft teams via the GWDG:
- Registration at Customer Portal of the GWDG
- In the account management (My Account) under External services click on Edit
- Click Activate for Office 365 / Teams
- Read the data protection information and submit the displayed data protection dialog if you agree
- After max. 30 minutes the user account is activated
Further details on activation can be found on the Office 365 info page.
Teams can either be installed as an application on the PC, tablet or smartphone (see download links) or simply be opened in the browser at teams.microsoft.com (see supported browsers). After the user account has been activated, signing in with the primary e-mail address and the GWDG password via the ADFS authentication service adfs.gwdg.de is enabled.
Teams and Channels
To start working together, a team must first be created. This team can be created for a limited period of time (like a project) or permanently (like a fixed work group).
A team is created in the category Teams via the button join or create team.
Sub-topics and groups of a team can be mapped using channels. In this way, it is possible to fine-tune which topics are discussed where and to maintain an overall view of the team. A channel can either be seen and entered by every team member (default) or it can be private with defined members. Each channel provides a completely separate working environment with its own tabs. The default channel has the name General.
Note: The data protection setting of a channel cannot be changed subsequently.
A channel is created by the owner of the team using the 3 dots next to the team name and the dot Add Channel.
Include GWDG services
In order to optimally combine the communication functions of Teams with the GWDG collaboration services, they can be easily integrated as additional tabs in the working environment. This way, data remains stored on the GWDG servers and members can work together from Teams.
Note: Only services that are accessible via a web interface can be included.
A service can be added by the team owner using the + in the channel bar as an additional tab. The integration works as Website and is provided with URL and name.
Although Teams with Microsoft OneDrive already provides extensive data storage via the Files tab, all the data stored there ends up on Microsoft servers. Our recommendation is therefore to use GWDG storage services with a suitable web interface, such as SharePoint or ownCloud.
Existing site collections for projects and workgroups from the SharePoint environment of the GWDG can be integrated directly via URL. This allows not only shared access to project data with websites, catalogues and libraries, but also access to the integrated Office Web Apps, which provide collaborative working on the GWDG's servers. If there is a need for a new project environment in the GWDG SharePoint, a new one can be requested via GWDG Support.
Alternatively it is also possible to include a project folder from the ownCloud of the GWDG. The team owner should create a new folder in his ownCloud environment and make it accessible via a public link with password. This public link can then be integrated into Teams and can be used by all authorized users via the password.
Similar to the data storage, it is the same with notes. Teams offers a possibility to store team notes in a OneNote notebook in OneDrive via the Staff notebook. Alternatively, existing OneNote notebooks can also be integrated as a website from the SharePoint environment of the GWDG. Another note service of the GWDG with increasing distribution is CodiMD (pad.gwdg.de). Similar to the integration of a data storage, a created notebook can be easily integrated into Teams with the corresponding browser URL and used by all members.
Include Outlook Web App
Teams can also be used to access the GWDG mailbox with calendars and contacts for all members. The Outlook Web App provided by the GWDG (email.gwdg.de) offers a comfortable interface for the own Exchange mailbox at the GWDG and can be directly integrated into Teams, just like an ownCloud folder or a note pad. Similarly, publicly shared calendars can be displayed and made available to everyone via the share link.
In the Team Settings, in addition to the team picture and chat rules, member permissions can also be set. By default everything is allowed there, so the members of a team are allowed to edit the team as freely as the team owner. If this is not desired, the permissions for members and guests must be adjusted.
The team settings are accessed via the 3 dots next to the team name via the item Manage team.
After determining what members and guests are allowed and not allowed to do in the team, the desired persons can now be added.
Note: External users can also be invited without a Teams account via their e-mail address. They have to register for participation via the ADFS service of the GWDG with a password and can then participate in the team as guests.
Using the 3 dots next to the team name, members can be searched for and invited using their name or e-mail address. Alternatively, this can also be done later via the team settings.
Change Member Role
A role can be assigned to a member in the member overview of the team settings. A default member is assigned the status Member. If further team owners are to be defined, the status Owner must be assigned to the persons.
In order to address larger groups of members, you can assign different tags (e.g. according to subject areas) to the members. The tags can be added in the team settings, just like the member roles.
Thus, in the channels with @<tag> the corresponding groups of people can be mentioned.
Posts and Messages
All participants of a team can post and answer messages via the tab Posts. These messages are always visible only within the channel, in General for all team members and in subchannels only for its channel members. The Answers/ field can be used to react to other people's posts, so that conversations on a topic are combined into one conversation and conversation participants are notified accordingly when new replies are received.
Text contributions can either be simple lines of text or can be formatted more elaborately as you know it from e-mails. For formatting, click on the Format button on the left below the text field. In addition to text, images, documents, emojis and animated images can also be sent.
Note: All contributions are stored on Microsoft servers. For confidential conversations, e-mail or the RocketChat service of the GWDG (can be integrated as website like ownCloud) is preferable.
To address individuals or entire groups directly in team chat, the @ sign can be used to create a mention of an individual, channel or tag. Mentioned persons will be notified separately and will be better informed about specific messages.
Tags are particularly suitable here for structuring members thematically and thus addressing several people on a topic at the same time. As with a single person, a tag can be mentioned directly and members will be notified accordingly.
If messages are not intended for the whole team or channel, Teams users can also chat individually. If one wants to start a new conversation, every known user can be found and contacted via the Teams search.
The Teams functions for file storage and integration of further services are available in individual chats as well as for whole teams. In addition, any number of people can be added to a chat and called via video and audio.
Calls and Meeting
Setup Camera and Microphone
Before starting audio and video calls, check the Device Settings. In the browser, Teams requires a special permission (requested via notification) and on installed clients, the default microphone and camera are usually set automatically.
The Device Settings can be opened by clicking on the own icon and the item Settings in the upper right corner of the Teams window.
Once the camera and microphone have been set up, a call can be initiated. For this purpose, the Contact Menu of a team member can be called up by hovering the mouse cursor over their name. Alternatively, this can also be done via the Teams search engine. The buttons for audio and video call can be found in the chat window on the top right.
Note: Using a camera is optional and is not a prerequisite for any call. In principle, each caller can decide (even during a call) whether or not he or she should be visible via the camera. Video and audio calls are fully compatible with each other. Additional participants can also be added later on.
Within a team or channel, a meeting with audio and video can be started using the Meet now button above the message text field. This will create a new group post that all team or channel members can use to join the meeting. In addition, further members can be called from the meeting.
If a meeting is not to be started immediately but scheduled with specific participants, this is currently only possible via a locally installed Outlook. After installing the Teams client on a Windows PC, the Teams button will be integrated into Outlook.
Note: To participate in a scheduled meeting, no registration at Teams is required. This means that external users without a Teams account can be invited to join directly via the link in the e-mail.
Microsoft provides versions for all common operating systems and browser versions.
Desktop clients for installation are available for the following systems:
Mobile clients for installation on smartphones and tablets are available for the following systems:
The Teams web application (teams.microsoft.com) can be opened in all common browsers. However, not all functions are fully available in every browser:
More information: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/get-clients
Help and Support
How long does it take until access to Teams is activated after activation via the customer portal? - Until the next synchronization cycle, i.e. maximum 30 minutes.
Why can't I register on office.com even 30 minutes after activation via the customer portal? - Currently we still have problems with users who use a subdomain of uni-goettingen.de as their primary e-mail address (e.g. phys.uni-goettingen.de). The reason for this are other users who have registered independently in the past and thus blocked their subdomain for the GWDG. After taking over these subdomains, the registration for the corresponding users is possible via our ADFS service.
Can I also collaborate in Teams with external users? - Yes, external users can be invited and must then set a password for teams at the ADFS service of the GWDG.
Must all participants of a meeting be activated for Teams? - No, when scheduling a meeting via Outlook any external e-mail address can be specified. External users without an account can attend the meeting without logging in.
Why can't I schedule a meeting directly in Teams? - This feature is disabled because it requires a coupling of our Exchange service with the Microsoft Exchange Online service. As long as we do not do this, scheduling meetings will only work via Outlook.
I have already registered myself for Teams using my business address. Do I have to activate myself again via the GWDG portal? - No, the use of existing accounts is generally possible. In the course of setting up Teams, the GWDG has taken over existing accounts with e-mail addresses from the University of Göttingen. If such an account is activated again, access to existing data may be lost.
Can I also process confidential data in Teams? - No, all data stored and processed in Teams is stored on servers from Microsoft and thus no longer with the GWDG (see data protection information for Office 365). However, GWDG services can be integrated into Teams via their web interfaces, thus optimally combining the communication possibilities of Teams with the services of the GWDG.
Why can't I integrate more apps in Teams? - The GWDG has blocked most of the available apps for data protection reasons and will only release them after they have been checked. If you have any requests, please contact the GWDG Support.