Skip to main content

Creating a team in Microsoft Teams

Creating a Team

Rutgers Connect users can self-create their own Teams through the Teams application. Upon logging in and viewing all Teams, you will see a “Join or create team” option in the top right corner of your application.

Here, you will be provided with four different creation options: Class, Professional Learning Community (PLC), Staff, and Other. To better understand which Teams option is best for you, please refer to this documentation. Class teams work similar to class sites where students and teachers can discuss projects, assignments, classwork, etc. Staff teams work best for staff members working on a project together. PLC teams offer a space for faculty members and educators to collaborate, while “Other” is more for personal, casual teams or groups.

Previously, Microsoft Teams was only available to Rutgers Connect users through the creation of a unified group — this is still an option for users that would like a team based on an existing, or new Office 365 group. Any changes made to the group will be synced with Teams automatically, and can simplify the process of inviting/managing members. Group files are also displayed inside of Microsoft Teams.

There are two main roles in Microsoft Teams — a team owner, and a team member. Owners create the group, or are assigned ownership to a group by a delegated administrator (depending on the team that’s been created). Owners can make any member of their team a co-owner; multiple owners allow you to share responsibilities and manage settings. Team members are invited by the owners or added to the group behind the team by delegated administrators.

There are notable differences between self-created teams and departmental teams that users should be aware of before making their decision:

Departmental Teams

  • Must be requested and created by a delegated administrator
  • You can open and view a unified group mailbox associated with the Team
  • Has an associated email address for the group that is created with the Team
  • No restrictions for the team name, but restricted to the department’s or user’s domain (i.e. @oit, @echo, etc.)
  • Owners cannot update the name, only delegated administrators are able to
  • Only faculty/staff can request creation

Self-created Teams

  • Any user with a Connect account can create a team via the Teams application
  • Stand alone; no unified group mailbox to view in Rutgers Connect
  • Can only send mail to specific channels within the team itself
  • Teams are restricted to the @teams domain and have a stricter naming policy
  • Owners can update or change the name of their Team in the Team’s settings
  • Faculty, staff, and students can self-create
  • Teams inactive for 400 days will expire automatically

Select a Team and Channel

A team is a collection of people, conversations, files, and tools — all in one place. A channel is a discussion topic in a team. The best way to get familiar with teams and channels is to select a team and channel and start exploring.

  1. Select the Teams icon.

If you’re not on a Team and want to create one, please refer to “Creating a Team” above.

  1. Select a channel and explore the Conversations, Files, and Notes tabs.

Channels can be a department, project, or topic. For more info, see Teams and channels.

Getting to Know the Microsoft Teams Layout

When you open Microsoft Teams, there is a search bar centered at the top of the screen. This helps you quickly locate the Team, file, message, or person you are looking for. Microsoft Teams usually opens to the last view that was used. If it’s a fresh session or your first time, you may not see any Teams displayed. Alternatively, you may also open to a list of teams you are a member of or own that you can select.

A vertical toolbar resides on the left side of the screen. Its upper left corner contains buttons for the main views: Activity, Chat, Teams, Calendar, Calls, and Files. You can also add more items to your left side bar for easy access. Note that some buttons may not be available, depending on your account type. In the lower left corner of the toolbar are the buttons for Apps that are integrated with Teams and Help for feedback and training. Notification settings are synced with the server; changes made in the browser will be reflected in the desktop client.

The rest of the screen is divided into two panes. Pane content depends on the current view. The left or list pane is used to navigate within the view. It always contains the Search field. The rest of its contents depend on the selected view. For example, if you select Chat on the toolbar, the left pane contains a list of your favorite, recent, and suggested contacts.

The right or main pane takes up most of the screen. It shows the content of the selection you have made in the left pane. For example, if you selected Chat on the toolbar, and then selected a recent contact in the left pane, the right pane contains your conversation history with that person. The right pane also has tabs to keep the content organized. For example, the Files tab contains a list of the files shared between you and the selected contact, the Teams tab shows a list of all of your Teams, and so on.

A breakdown of the default tabs:

Activity – list of notifications and call history

Chat – direct messages between other users or groups

Teams – list of teams you have access to, and where you can view your team’s content

Calendar – displays your Rutgers Connect calendar

Calls – where you can easily host meetings or call another user/group

Files – view recent files you’ve accessed, recent notebooks you’ve worked in, files shared with you, downloads you’ve done, etc. across all teams & groups you have access to (as well as your own personal OneDrive).


Individual Team Layout

Once you open and access your team via the Teams tab, the right pane reveals many new options, tabs, features, etc. for you to use. The default view is the “General” conversation channel — channels are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized. Various viewing/access permissions can be granted per channel, along with file access. Each team has “General” as the default channel. The name can be changed, more channels can be added, deleted, moved, and archived in the team settings. Channels are ordered alphabetically.

At the top of the team display are different tabs — what’s displayed will be different depending on the type of team you created. The default is Posts where discussion channels live. Files lets you open the files within the team’s Sharepoint site that houses OneDrive files. You can move around and add other tabs including Forms, OneNote, Planner, Excel, and various other integrations that have been enabled in Teams.

The ellipses in the top right corner of your team brings up channel notification settings, channel management settings, an email address for each channel that you can send mail to directly, and a link to a channel that you can provide to members. Connectors cannot be modified by team owners or members, they are managed at the admin level. The ellipses on the left side of the team next to your team’s name lets you open the team’s settings (as an owner), add channels, leave the team, edit the team, or get a link to take members directly to the team.

The ability to start a conversation, mention someone in a conversation, comment on a thread or file, post a file, start a meeting, and more can be found at the bottom of your team’s layout.

If you delete a team, all associated files, conversations, and notes associated with the team will be deleted as well. To inquire about a team that needs to be restored, please reach out to your delegated administrator.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams

The Teams application has a “Help” section dedicated to educating users on how Teams can be utilized to its full potential. The “What’s New” section displays recent news or changes to Teams.

Microsoft has also implemented a chat feature called “T-Bot” where you can utilize it to ask questions. To access T-Bot, select Chat, then search for T-Bot as a contact. Type your question in the message box and press Enter.

Organizational tips from Microsoft can be found here.