Microsoft Teams continues to evolve as the preeminent collaboration hub platform.  Instead of staying complacent, Microsoft is aggressively adding new features to improve the user and organization experience.  Highlighted below are some of the new features to Microsoft Teams in December 2019.

1. Linux Support

Microsoft has released a Teams client on Linux (public preview). Teams is actually the first client in the entire M365 suite that has been released on Linux.  While Linux users previously could use the web-based Teams, now they can install a client that offers them all the core, rich features that other Teams clients provide.  Extending the audience of Teams to the open source community is a big step in the right direction as Teams continues to grow in usage and adoption in organizations of all sizes.

2. Callings and Meetings

Subtitles

Microsoft has introduced Live Captions in Public Preview.  This feature will certainly come in handy for those with hearing disabilities or with language proficiency.  Or even for those of us that have noisy neighbours (or environments), this feature will be welcomed to help follow along with spoken content during a meeting.

Add Additional Participants in Meeting Chat

Just like adding participants to individual chats, you can now add additional participants to a meeting chat and be selective about which chat content they can see.

Meeting Roles

Meeting organizers can now choose between 3 roles (Organizer, Presenter, and Attendee) for participants.  The chart below identifies what roles carry which capabilities when utilizing roles in Microsoft Teams meetings.

microsoft teams new features

Chrome Video Calling

Video calling in the Google Chrome browser is now generally available.  Using Chrome, users can now initiate and accept video calls with other Teams users.

3. Admin Functionality

O365 ProPlus Semi-Annual Channel Inclusion

Starting in January 2020, Microsoft is including the Microsoft Teams client in the O365 ProPlus Semi-Annual Channel.  This eases the deployment and adoption of the Teams client for your organization if you haven’t already deployed it globally.

New Mobility Policy

If you’ve run into issues with using Teams on a mobile device and using cellular data to make audio and/or video calls, you can now take advantage of the new mobility policy that requires them to be on Wi-Fi in order to do so.

Incoming IP Video Policy

Meetings policies have been updated to allow more control over video management in Microsoft Teams.  While previously, you could only restrict outgoing video, now you control both outgoing and incoming video where needed.  This can help when trying manage bandwidth in certain locations.

4. Teams for Education

Early Teacher Access for Classroom Teams

Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) integrates with your student information system to automagically create class teams.  With early access for teachers, educators now have time to set stuff like assignments, projects, files, etc. before the students access the team.  Students will not gain access until the teachers activate the team once they have finished setting it up.  After activating the team, teachers can then monitor students as they join the team.

PowerSchool Sync

If you are already using PowerSchool for grades, you can now start synching assignments and grades directly from Teams using Grade Sync.

Weekly Assignments Summary Email

Share students’ progress and assignments with their parents natively in Teams by sending a summary email.  By simply turning this feature on, they will receive an email notification that gives them insight into their progress and also a heads up on upcoming due dates.

 

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