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Using Virtual Environments

Working in a virtual environment, such as MS Teams, presents challenges and opportunities. If you are thinking about using a virtual environment for education and training (along with other methods) then these resources will help:

Where do I start with MS Teams?

There is no substitute to hands-on experience, so do your best to get familiar and confident with using MS Teams. Initially this will be in virtual meetings and individual chats. You will probably start to share documents on screen and share files, create teams and channels. 

  1. Your first resource is the ‘Help’ feature built in to MS Teams. It provides a range of short videos demonstrating the main features of the platform. This Microsoft support site also provides a wide range of videos detailing various Teams functions.
  2. NHSGGC e-Health run regular virtual training sessions detailed here (StaffNet page).
  3. This ‘Getting started with Teams’ guide produced by NES introduces MS Teams in the context of Office 365 and signposts a range of very useful hints and tips around the general use of the platform.
  4. NES has also provided these guides and resources, focusing on the use of MS Teams for training purposes, which includes an introduction to MS Teams, a guide to transferring face to face training online as well as dates of facilitation training sessions.
Guidance on facilitating virtual events

The following resources provide valuable guidance, hints and tips on running virtual events:

  1. Online Engagement: A guide to creating and running virtual meetings and events (published by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement) offers succinct yet rich guidance.
  2. Guidance for delivering Virtual Events; detailed guide produced by Microsoft.
  3. Facilitating Virtually by Ken Blanchard provides a detailed and extensive guide to delivering a virtual session.

Guidance and instruction

In addition to the MS Teams introduction and the basic principles set out above the following provides detailed guidance and instruction on how to use some of the key functions of MS Teams. The key is preparation, practice and knowing what you want to do and why. Provide clear instructions to delegates and take time to practice so that you are comfortable with the process.

Please note:

  • MS Teams is updated regularly by Microsoft. This means that some functions may change over time.
  • Slightly different versions of MS Teams have been made available so people may not have straightforward access to some of the features outlined below.
Arranging a Session
  • The development of comprehensive joining instructions is essential to ensure meeting material is provided in good time and to encourage delegates to check that they will be able to access the platform. This should include information about recording of the session (if required).
  • This series of short instructional videos takes you through the basics of using teams including, an introduction to teams and channels, setting up a session (using a channel), working with files, starting chats and calls, managing meetings.
Etiquette and Housekeeping
  • Encourage delegates to call in at least five minutes before the session. You should be there at least 15 minutes before to check everything is in place and to welcome the delegates. If it is a large scale event, and you cannot personally welcome everyone, then sharing a welcome slide with some course information can reassure delegates that they have called in to the correct session.
  • This sample housekeeping document can be used (and amended) to reflect session-specific requirements and includes guidance on the using mute, hand raising and chat functions.
Sharing Your Screen
  • This short video demonstrates how you can share your desktop, a specific app, presentation, or any file.
  • This video specifically demonstrates sharing PowerPoint slides.
Using Polls and Questionnaires

Here is how to conduct a quick poll, useful for single questions and can be repeated during a session.

Using the Breakout Rooms in MS Teams

A breakout rooms feature has recently been added to MS Teams.

This is a live recording of an actual breakout room training session (around 55 mins). This means that you will experience the session just as the original delegates did and it contains a lot of valuable information. There is a section of silence (between 17 and 23 mins approx) as all the teams are in there breakout rooms. When the audio is picked up again further guidance and hints and tips are detailed.

Please note that this video will not play in Internet Explorer.

These shorter videos cover the same material but they merely introduce the feature and offer brief demonstrations. 

We strongly advise that before using breakout rooms you should test and rehearse your session so that you are comfortable using the feature. This will also ensure you have a clear purpose for using breakout rooms in your session.

Information Governance

MS Teams is now widely in use across the Board for meetings and communication between services and other users. It is important that all staff adhere to Information Governance and Data Protection obligations when using Teams. A short Information Governance guide to using Teams can be found here.

If you have any Information Governance enquiries relating to Teams or any other data protection matters please email:

Useful information on general standards and requirements (including accessibility, copyright and quality) can be found here.

Recording Attendance

You can download a list of attendees, during and also after the session.