Good morning everyone,
Simeon has just sent the attached memo (text below) to all Vice Presidents and Deans on the topic of Zoom. Please feel free to circulate to anyone with questions.
[log in to unmask]" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_1">To: Vice Presidents and Deans
From: Simeon Ananou, Chief Information Officer Date: April 10, 2020
Subject: Communication and Collaboration Tool
This is a reminder that UVM has acquired and has implemented a campus-wide license of Microsoft Teams as our primary communication and collaboration tool to facilitate virtual interactions in support of university related activities. Teams is currently available to all members of the UVM community. It can be used to host meetings of both UVM and non-UVM-affiliates and is purposefully fully integrated into the university’s overall technology architecture to reduce potential confusion while improving the ease of use and security.
As we look for technologies and tools to support our social distancing practices, it becomes imperative more than ever before that we establish consistencies around the technologies we use as a campus community. For these reasons, I ask all members of the UVM community to take full advantage of existing institutional tools, such as Microsoft Teams, and immediately cease acquiring new technologies such as Zoom or other similar solutions. Offices that have an existing license of Zoom or other such technologies should not renew these licenses at the end of the current term.
Please encourage all employees within your college or division to contact the ETS Tech Team Help Line at [log in to unmask] or by phone at (802) 656-2604 if you have a specific use case for which you are unsure if Microsoft Teams could meet your needs.
I think one main feature missing from Teams (but also being actively worked on) is gallery view. I had been using Zoom recently to keep in touch with family/friends and being able to see more than four people at a time was great. We’ve moved away from Zoom as a platform in lieu of other solutions now that many school districts have banned Zoom usage and my friends’ Zoom accounts are gone. Gallery view is something Microsoft is working on though and can be voted on here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17010055-show-video-for-all-people-in-video-meeting Hopefully we see it soon.
Also, on the breakout room front. It’s also possible to do ad-hoc breakout rooms by creating different “room” channels in a Team and using the Meet Now function. This allows you to be flexible with your breakout rooms and not have a large number of meetings on your calendar all at one time. You can have students leave the main class-time meeting and start their own breakout room in each channel and the post in the general channel when you want them all to come back. Just another workaround while Microsoft works on implementing and official solution.
A colleague forwarded a well written description of a feature that doesn’t currently exist in Microsoft Teams: Breakout Rooms
One huge reason we have instructors who prefer Zoom is that Zoom offers an option for breakout groups. So … an instructor can “lecture” for a bit of time, then send groups of students into separate breakout “rooms” that the instructor can dip in and out of. It’s a really nice function, especially for courses like language-learning, psych/soc counseling, etc., so if MS Teams could do that, I don’t think we’d have much trouble bringing faculty to the Teams side. Just curious about the enhancement request process … 🙂
Currently, there aren’t Breakout Rooms in Teams. There is an existing feature request at
Microsoft responded in January that this functionality is “planned,” but we don’t have any timeline yet. I encourage everyone to go and upvote this, and share it with their faculty, friends and neighbors. These UserVoice requests drive Microsoft feature development decisions.
As a work-around, at least one faculty member has been creating a set of concurrent meetings; one for the main lecture, and then several others for the smaller group discussions, assigning students to the different meetings manually. Students can join the small group meeting it the appropriate time, and the instructor can join any meeting when needed.
I realize this lacks the automation and control features that will come with real breakout room support. But it’s an option and has worked well according to reports.
Please upvote the feature request at the link above if you think this is useful functionality,