Setting Up Microsoft Teams for Education

A Quick Start Guide

Author: Carl Batchelor | Software Consultant | Formus Professional Software | March 2020

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration.

It can be hard finding ways to keep in contact with your students and colleagues securely. In these few short steps, you can set up your Microsoft Teams for education.

Follow this guide to help set up your school or workplace.

Boy learns remotely from teacher on his screen

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Step 1: Get Your People Together

Assemble a group of individuals from staff, educators, and the educator community to act as the stakeholder & decision-making group for your Teams deployment.

Step 2: Prioritise Your Scenarios

Collaboration and communication is about people! Pick the most relevant scenarios for your organisation instead of talking about features and functions.

Successful Teams deployments often centre around highly collaborative teams that work closely together, such as classrooms, professional learning communities, and extracurricular student groups.

Suggested options for Team types in an educational context using Microsoft Teams

Step 3: Turn Microsoft Teams Licenses On or Off

Teams is a cloud-based service. Once an educator or student has a valid license and Teams has been enabled, they can run the desktop, web, and mobile Teams clients.

They can install the client themselves, the IT admin doesn't need to deploy these clients.

You can manage individual user licenses for Microsoft Teams by using the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre or by using PowerShell. Teams is not enabled by default for students and must be enabled for students before they can access Teams. To get started, IT administrators need to use the Office 365 Admin Centre to enable Microsoft Teams for your school.

Turn on Microsoft Teams for Your School

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.
  2. Click Admin to go to the Office 365 admin centre.
  3. Go to Settings > Settings > Microsoft Teams. Check Show all if you don't see settings right away.
Screen grab of list of services within Microsoft Teams
Figure 1 - Select Microsoft Teams from the list of services
  1. Check the Education – Faculty and Staff option to enable Teams for faculty and check the Education – Student option to enable Teams for students.
Screen grab showing types of licenses in Microsoft 365 admin centre
Figure 2 - Check the correct option for the license type that you want to configure
  1. Click Save changes.

Important Note:

You can easily manage all Teams policies in the Microsoft Teams admin centre by signing in with your admin credentials.

Settings in the Microsoft Teams admin centre are not managed based on user license type.

Instead, we suggest that you define different policies to manage which capabilities are available to your users.

To configure a policy, click the policy in the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin centre.

Here's an example of messaging policies.

Screen grab of customised messaging policy options within Microsoft teams

With policies, you can turn on and turn off features at the per-user level. Here’s how policy assignments work:

  • By default, every new user will get the Global policy (tenant-level settings).
  • A user can be assigned a pre-configured user policy created by Microsoft if it meets your requirements. These policies are not editable by admins. If you want to manage these in the future, create new custom policies and assign the custom policies to users.
  • A custom policy can be assigned to any user. To create a new custom policy, click Add, choose the settings you want for the policy, and click Save. Then assign the custom policy to a user by going to Users in the Microsoft Teams admin centre or by using a script.
Screen grab of messaging policy options within Microsoft teams
Screen grab of assigned policies within Microsoft Teams
Screen grab of user policies editor in Microsoft Teams

How to Enable Different Policies for Faculty and Students

To have custom settings for faculty and students (for example, Chat is enabled for faculty but not for students), there are two methods to create and assign them:

  • Use the PowerShell module to run a script to create and assign multiple policies. See the Appendix for script examples and documentation.
  • In the Microsoft Teams admin centre, create a new custom policy and assign the policy to users on the Users tab.

Note: Until a custom policy is assigned to a user, the user will be using the Global policy setting.

This means that if Chat is enabled in the Global policy and disabled in the custom Student policy, the student can use Chat, until the custom policy is assigned to the student.

In this case, it may be easier to disable Chat globally and use custom policies to enable Chat for faculty.


How to Ccreate and Assign a Messaging Policy

  1. See whether any of the available policies in your tenants suit your requirements by running Get-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy.
  2. If not, create a new policy by running New-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -Identity <policy name> -<parameter name> -<parameter value>.

Distribute to clients

Teams has clients available for web, desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and mobile (Android and iOS). These clients all require an active internet connection and do not support an offline mode.

The setup file for the Teams client is an executable file that can be downloaded by admins and end users from the Teams downloads page. Educators and students on desktops can install the application if they have the appropriate privileges.

IT Admins can also distribute the installer and through their existing client distribution tools.

End users with mobile devices can download the Microsoft Teams app from the mobile platform’s app store.