Using Microsoft Teams for Office Hours and for Messaging with Students

This article provides an overview and best practices for using Microsoft Teams for office hours and messaging with students.


Microsoft Teams is a feature-rich, campus-supported tool that can be used by instructors to hold office hours and to message with their students. In Teams, students can:

  • Call you directly at your UWM phone number
  • Send text messages to your UWM account instead of your personal mobile number
  • Share their computer screens or specific documents for feedback and discussion
  • Access text messages in the chat and record meetings for later review
  • Meet with you individually or in small groups

In Microsoft Teams, students are able to contact you privately through text, audio, or video. You can have Microsoft Teams open on your computer (which is like having your office door open), and students can visit you virtually by calling or messaging you through Teams (which is like students stopping by your office). You DO NOT need to schedule meetings in Office 365 or set up specific Teams for your whole class to hold virtual office hours.

Teams is NOT the recommended tool for facilitating online synchronous class sessions with your students; use Collaborate Ultra instead. Collaborate Ultra is richly integrated into Canvas, is supported by CETL, and provides students with a consistent online synchronous experience across their courses.

Required Steps

Download Teams

In order to use the full functionality of Teams, download the Teams app on your computer and/or your mobile device.

Ask Students to Download Teams

If you want students to be able to send you text messages through Teams, make sure to ask them to download the Teams app on their mobile devices. Because SMS texting to Teams is not available, students can only send you text messages using Teams.

Best Practices

Add Your UWM Phone Number to Your Syllabus

Your university phone number is now linked to Microsoft Teams, so you can provide this number in your course syllabus. Students are able to call you from any phone and can leave you a voicemail message if you're not immediately available. Please note that UWM does not provide individual Teams phone numbers for undergraduate or graduate students.

Add a Direct Link to Chat in Your Canvas Site

If you encourage students to contact you via text message in Teams, add a direct URL in your Canvas course site that links to your personal chat. To do so, copy the following link and include your UWM email address (without brackets), and set the URL to open in a new window:[UWM email address]

When students click on the link, they will be sent to Microsoft Teams to initiate a private chat with you.

Managing Expectations

Indicate to students how long it will take you to respond to messages sent through Teams. Students will likely expect a response sooner than if they had emailed you.

Set Notifications

Make sure that you set your notification preferences on the desktop and mobile apps. You don't want to miss out on important messages from your students!

Set Quiet Hours

If you are concerned about receiving calls or text messages when you do not want to be disturbed, you can set quiet hours and quiet days in Teams.

Provide Help Resources

If you or your students are having trouble using Microsoft Teams, please contact the UWM Help Desk.

KeywordsMicrosoft Teams, office hours, virtual, messaging, student support   Doc ID105589
OwnerDavid D.GroupCETL
Created2020-09-03 10:55:28Updated2024-04-29 11:07:42
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Feedback  0   0