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How to join and participate in a virtual PBL or synchronous session on MS Teams


Guide overview

This article will explain how to join and participate in a virtual PBL or synchronous session via Microsoft Teams. Please click on the below sub-sections for guidance.

Accessing Teams via a web browser or desktop / mobile app

There are a number of ways you can access your Team collaboration space, depending on whether you are using a web browser or the desktop / mobile app. For further details, please visit our help page by clicking on the following link; accessing Teams.

Joining a virtual PBL or synchronous (live) teaching session

For the best experience, you will require a device with a camera and microphone. This could be either a laptop or tablet device. Please also note that it is recommended to use the desktop or mobile app rather than a web browser. This is for a better user experience and better access to Teams features / functionality.

  1. If applicable select the Virtual PBL Team – these may be named Virtual PBL Year 1, Virtual PBL Year 2, Virtual Teaching PA, or Gateway Team (Gateway Teams are usually named in line with the modules).
  2. Within the Virtual PBL team select your group (channel). By default your channel will have two sections; Posts and Files.

Your PBL group may be hidden by default

Please note the channel for your PBL group may be hidden. Hidden channels are grouped together at the bottom of the team. Hover over the hidden channels link and from the menu select Show next to the channel for your PBL group.

Screenshot of Channels with Microsoft Teams

  1. Click the Posts tab at the top of the screen and find the scheduled PBL session (virtual meeting) or other planned live session.

Posted Teams meeting

  1. Click into the meeting to view the details, then click Join. Prior to joining the meeting you will be asked to configure your audio and video settings.
  2. Click Join Now to enter the meeting.

Please note that the audio and video quality of this meeting may vary based on your internet connection.

Share your screen or files in a Teams meeting

Teams allows you to share your entire desktop, an application window, or PowerPoint presentations within an active meeting.

  1. From an active meeting, click the Share button.
  2. Select what you want to share – choose from your desktop, application windows, PowerPoints, or browse to a file you’d like to show.
  3. Please click on the following link for further guidance on sharing; screen sharing in Teams.

The PBL chair might use this feature to share a resource or presentation with the rest of the group.

Configure your audio and video settings

Within a Teams meeting you might wish to change your audio and video settings. If you have a poor internet connection to a virtual meeting, it would be worth turning off the video element of the call. This should improve your connection to the session.

You may also want to mute your microphone whilst you are interacting with the session. This will mute any unnecessary background noise.

Blur your background

Not happy with your backdrop in a video meeting? Try background blur. You will appear nice and clear while everything behind you is subtly concealed.

  1. To turn on background blur during a meeting, click More options (three dots) and then Blur my Background.

Please be aware that not all devices may support Blur my background. Also, do not rely on this feature to prevent users in the session from viewing sensitive information.

Collaborate on Files and Documents

Teams lets you share and edit documents collaboratively. This means several members of your PBL group can edit the same document in real-time. We recommend each session that the PBL scribe creates a document for note taking. This file will be automatically saved in the Files area and will be accessible to all students.

To create a file, follow these instructions:

  1. Click on the Files tab.
  2. From the Files area, click New.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the type of document (Word, Excel etc.) you would like to create.  All members of the group can now contribute and collaborate on the document.
Updated on 09/06/2021

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