Consumer Guest Access for Microsoft Teams

In this article I will show you how to add guests not subscribing to Office 365 to your teams, discuss why this is a big deal, and show you what this looks like both for you while inviting and for those invited.

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Let me start with why consumer guest access is a big deal. Up until now we have had guest access for users with a user account in Azure AD, which is the user catalog used in Office 365 and other Microsoft Cloud Services. While there were 120 million Office 365 users six months ago, the majority of those are business users.

Continuing with the education scenario, most parents certainly don’t have Office 365, and many school districts use GSuite or other services. Now that anyone with an email address can be invited into Teams, think about what that potentially could do to parent involvement and the school home relationship!

Or what about inviting coming educators from the nearby university, and teachers from other districts to collaborate on curriculum, tests, projects and more?

Teachers could create a team and share curriculum and weekly plans with parents, they could send messages using chat, publish announcements in coversations, have discussions with regards to school trips, get feedback using polls etc.

Looking forward this could be used as part of a parent portal, and when private channels become available parents could easily also be invited within the class team itself.

Consumer guest access certainly opens up a range of opportunities, let’s see how it works.

Let’s invite a guest

First navigate to the team where you want to invite guests, hit … (also commonly refered to as show more) and choose Add members.

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Fill in an email address and click the purple box below.

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You should edit the display name by clicking the pencil and correcting the name to avoid getting usernames as display names.

Admins can also edit user information using the Azure Active Directory portal, but these changes won’t come into affect immediately due to the way Teams sync and how the different clients caches such information.

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When the display name is updated, send the invitation by clicking the Add button.

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Team members will see a message informing that someone has been added.

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What about those invited?

Moving to the recipient end, those invited will receive an email with a link leading them into the account creation process if their email address isn’t already a Microsoft Account.

AddedAsGuestMail

Click the button Open Microsoft Teams (above), then Next (below) to begin the account creation process.

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You will be asked to create a password followed by a few personal details. The username will be the email address you were invited with.

In the next step you will be propted to enter a verification code, which will arrive in your inbox.

 

A captcha makes sure you are not a bot, and you should be forwarded to Teams.

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Inside the team guest will have a familiar experience, with conversations, files, chat etc.

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Well, what are you waiting for? Start inviting those guests and take collaboration to the next level with Microsoft Teams.

Guest Access in Teams on Android

Want to switch tenants, to check on teams where you are a guest, while working on a mobile device? Read on…

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While the biggest news lately regarding guest access, definetly was the announcement about guest access for consumer accounts (anyone with an email address can now be invited to join your team), another nice feature I was recently made aware of is switching tenants on an android device.

 

Not much to it, let’s dive right in…

First open your Teams app and hit settings in the upper left corner.

Settings

 

In the settings menu expand Your accounts.

ExpandYourAccounts

 

You will get a list of available guest accounts.

GuestAccountList

 

Pick a guest account and you will be signed into the appropriate tenant.

InGuest

 

There you are, enjoy your guest access on the go! That is if you have an Android device, since iOS isn’t supported as of this writing.

UPDATE March 14th: Tenant switching is now available also in the Microsoft Teams app on iOS.

Be productive on the go with Teams mobile apps

In this short tutorial I will show you how you can be productive on the go, using Microsoft Teams mobile apps.

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During the past year or so I’ve been using Teams more and more, communicating with my team, writing technical documentation and tutorials, answering Office 365 related questions from educators and more.

 

While the mobile apps used to have some weaknesses, recent updates enables you to be almost as productive on a train, at the beach, or anywhere else outside the office.

 

On iOS, version 1.0.30 of the Teams app enabled us to share text, pictures and files from other apps in Teams.

 

We’ve also for quite a while been able to do video conferencing from mobile devices, both on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

TeamsMobileAvailability

Following the education scenario, students working on a natural science project could take pictures of tree leaves, insert them into a private chat with their classmates in the same group to discuss things like what tree it’s from, and then finally save it into their class notebooks or a Teams assignment.

 

Let’s see what that would look like.

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Take a picture, open it in Photos and hit the share button in the lower left corner.

 

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Attach a message and hit Select in the lower right corner.

 

Search for and choose either a channel or a classmate as a recipient, once finished click share (see the above screenshot).

 

Choose whether or not you want to compress the image to save space, and the picture with the message is sent to the recipient.

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To learn more about how you can add images, text or documents into an assignment, please see my recent post about Assignments in Teams mobile apps.

Also, if you’re an admin wanting to perform administrative tasks on the go, make sure to check out my post Managing Teams on the go (like a boss…).

 

If you think this article has room for improvement, or you simply enjoy my work, please leave a comment below, hit the like button or share in social media.

 

/commands, quick reply, design changes and more arrives in Teams

In this article I will give you a quick overview of the /commands, as well as show you some of the latest design updates in Teams, and the nifty new quick reply feature.

With more than 1250 votes at the time of writing, /slash commands are a top request on the UserVoice for Microsoft Teams.

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While millennials (no offence) might think slash commands were invented by Teams rival Slack, my first encounter with these action specific shortcuts were actually in the early days of Internet (yeah, I’m that old), in the once so popular chat service IRC.

At the risk of making this into a history lesson, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) clients would most often connect to an open chat network, where one could join #channels. Similar to Teams, channels would keep conversations organized by topics, demographics etc. Slash commands like /join /away /help and /invite, were used for common tasks like… you guessed it, joining a channel or inviting a guest.

Before we jump into the /commands, lets take a quick look at the original design of the Microsoft Teams desktop or web client. In the bottom left corner you see the profile picture, which you could click to open a menu containing your availability, settings etc.

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In the upper left, above all your teams, you had the search bar.

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In the new design, at least as of this writing, a combined search and command bar has been moved to the top bar and centered, while the profile and availability has been placed in the top right corner, similar to the rest of the Office 365 apps.

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If you place the mouse cursor in the search area the help text gives you a clear indication that you now have new options for commands, using either / or @.

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/commands

Let’s first explore the /commands.

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As you can see, there are 17 /commands for a range of actions, with a nice help text on the right.

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Typing /files gives you a list of recent files which you can narrow down by adding a searh phrase. Clicking a file will open it within Teams, with the usual Edit button in the upper right corner.

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/goto will similarly give you a list of teams and channels, to get you quickly in the right direction.

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I particularly like the /whatsnew command, which will give you the release notes. Not quite up to date (at least not in my tenant), but nevertheless a nice place to get an overview of the latest features.

/available, /away, /busy and /dnd (do not disturb) is a fast way to set your availability.

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What about @commands/app commands?

Typing @ in the combined search and command bar will give you options like @Images, @News or @Weather, as well as a shortcut to reach the store.

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Choosing one of them for the first time will allow you to install and add the app to a team with a few options.

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Once installed you need to pick a channel, and you’re good to go.

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Clicking an article will open a summary, while clicking the summary opens the original site in the browser.

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You can also include information from these apps, or supported partner apps found in the store, directly in chat or conversations. That means there is no need to customize and insert a screenshot or paste in a link!

 

I added YouTube to a channel, let’s see what we can do:

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@mention the app just like you would any user, channel, team etc.

 

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A menu pops up with the available options for the app in question.

 

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Insert a search phrase and the app will present a list of popular videos.

 

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Pick a video and it will be inserted into the chat or conversation, where you can continue editing the message to suit your needs.

 

For more information, make sure to check out the Office blogs.

Quick reply

Last but not least, let’s not forget this long awaited little timesaver; the quick reply box within the chat notification!

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Whenever someone send you a chat message while you’re not already in the chat itself, you get a popup right above the Windows system tray.

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If you hit reply, a quick reply field opens up and lets you answer, well… quickly.

That’s all the news I have for you at this time, if you have any questions please use the comments below, or find me on Twitter (link on top of this page).

Assignments in Teams mobile apps

In this article I will give you a quick review of the assignment features in the Teams mobile apps, including how you can push assignments to multiple classes at once.

TeamsMobileAvailability

The Teams mobile client is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

To get to an assignment in the mobile app, you can either open it from the assignment notification card in the activity feed or conversations area…

…or navigate to a class team and open Tabs in the upright corner

AssignmentTab

You will find Assignments in the list, clicking it will give you a list of previous and upcoming assignments, as well as a button to create a new assignment if you are logged on as a teacher (team owner).

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Clicking New assignment will open the exact same experience as the online and the desktop versions, with the exception of attaching reference materials and specifying what students will turn in, which is limited to the native OS controls.

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You even have the newly added option of assigning to multiple classes at once!

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When you assign to multiple classes you can edit the assignment for each individual class at a later time, if needed.

At the time of writing, you can attach reference materials and assignments stored locally on the device or in cloud storage like iCloud Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. You also have the option to add photos from the Photo Library or take and add a photo or video with the device camera. OneNote Class Notebook integration is currently not available when creating an assignment.

Available cloud storage providers will depend on what is supported by the OS and installed on the device.

TakePhotoOrBrowse

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The student view also looks familiar, and choosing linked reference materials or work to be turned in will open the corresponding app. There is also a Turn in button in the upright corner when students are finished.

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If enabled students have the option to edit their assignment and turn in again.

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When reviewed, teacher feedback and eventual points are available.

Save directly to Teams from Office desktop apps

In this short tutorial I will show you how to use the save as dialogue to save your files directly into the files area of your favourite teams.

 

While you have always been able to drag and drop files into Teams, or upload them by navigating to the files tab in a channel and choosing Upload…

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…many are still used to work inside their Office desktop apps.

 

They are often also acustomed to using the save as dialogue to browse folders when saving their documents, or navigating to OneDrive or SharePoint sites this way. How cool would it be to have access to your favourite teams right from within Office?

 

Well as of now you can, if you are on the Office 365 ProPlus Monthly Channel and your build is 8730 or later.

 

Let’s first check the Office build by opening Word, going to File in the upleft corner and then Account in the left menu. You should see the product information and the installed build on the right.

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This is supposedly a staged rollout, so it might be another week or so until all clients/tenants are affected.

 

To save a document to Teams, open or create a document from one of the Office desktop apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), hit File followed by Save As and choose Sites – Your Company in the menu. In the right column you should see a list of your teams.

SaveAsToTeams

If you find that the sorting of teams in the list is confusing, there is a thread on TechCommunity discussing this and a Microsoft employee explaining that “The sorting in the Frequent list is based on activity, with greater weight being placed on a Group that you have saved or opened a file from”. It does however at this time seem to consider all interactions, which can cause confusion as to the sorting of the list.

 

Make sure to save to the appropriate channel, by first browsing Documents and then opening the corresponding folder. Please also note that if you rename a channel, the folder in the underlying SharePoint site will not update with the new name (and doing so manually will break stuff). Also saving outside of the channel folders can make the documents unavailable for the Teams client.

 

 

Plagiarism control arrives in Microsoft Teams for Education (via 3rd party)

In this post I will show you how to get plagiarism control for assignments delivered in Teams for Education, utilizing the newly released app Haldor Plagiarism Check.

After about six months of using Teams for Education in our district, one of the top requested features, by teachers, is the ability to check assignments for plagiarism.

There supposedly were talks between plagiarism control provider Turnitin and Microsoft a while back, but first up to offer a fully integrated solution is a Swedish LMS provider called Haldor.

Haldor themselves do not offer a plagiarism control service, instead they made an app for Teams for Education utilizing the APIs of plagiarism control provider URKUND.

While the app is freely available in the store, you need a subscription both from Haldor, to use the app, and from URKUND to use the plagiarism service.

Ready to see who might be cheatin’? Let’s dive in!

To connect the services Haldor needs your URKUND subscription UnitID. Both Haldor and URKUND will be happy to set you up with a test account, but the UnitID must be requested either from your sales rep or support@urkund.com (Haldor also offers to make the request on your behalf).

You then need to assign permissions to the app in your Office 365 environment, logging in via https://portal.haldor.se using Office 365 Global Administrator credentials.

Haldor Services

Click the Try-button in the bottom left corner (only present before trial is requested).

Once Haldor confirms connecting your URKUND UnitID you should be good to go.

Configuring Teams

Navigate to a class team, add a new tab, search for Haldor and choose Haldor Plagiarism check.

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Hit Logga in (Sign in)…

SignInForm

…and sign in with your Office 365 credentials.

Choose assignments type

You will be prompted to choose assignments function, tick off Microsoft assignments (the only option actually available) and click Save.

If you haven’t yet given the app the appropriate permissions, you will get the above message.

Check for plagiarism

Once you have added Haldor Plagiarism check you will get a tab called Plagieringskontroll. The app is not yet fully translated into all languages, make sure you change it into something your users will understand.

This tab is where you will see all the assignments in the current team, and be able to control for plagiarism against URKUNDs plagiarism service.

Since the education APIs in Graph are currently in beta, Haldor Plagiarism check fetches the documents directly from the underlying SharePoint document library. This will change in a later update, but at this time, since the folder names vary depending on language, you will need to get in contact with Haldor to add the names for your language if assignments won’t show up. English, Swedish and Norwegian should work out of the box.

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Choose to control for plagiarism on either a selection of submissions or an entire assignment, and click Send to Urkund in the upleft corner of the plagiarism pane.

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Wait patienly while the documents are uploaded.

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After a few minutes you should be able to refresh the page (circle arrow icon in the upright corner), and get an updated Urkund status.

Result pane 2

When finished the Urkund status should show Analyserat (Analyzed), and you will get a plagiarism score as well as a link to a detailed report. Needless to say, a high score would trigger the need for further investigation, while a low score is considered safe according to URKUNDs algorithms.

Haldor Plagiarism check is a cloud app built on Azure. While the above was true when this was written around New Years 2017, things are subject to change, as Haldor has ambitious plans on their roadmap, including integrating the plagiarism functionality into the assignments view and migrating functionality to the Graph API.

Please also see Haldors video on YouTube, and feel free to ask questions in the comments below.