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Licensing

McMaster currently has an institutional license for MS Teams. Licenses are available to all faculty, staff and students. The platform can be accessed by visiting https://teams.microsoft.com and logging in with your MacID. Clients can also be downloaded from here.

Key Functionality

As with many collaboration platforms, MS Teams offers HD Video and Audio, easy sharing of content, accessibility functions and the ability to record meetings. Meetings can include up to 250 participants, and can last up to 8 hours.

Key advantages of using the MS Teams platform are the integration with MS Office products, the platforms use of a Canadian cloud-based infrastructure, the comprehensive use of encryption for data both in transit and at rest, and a highly limited ability for people external to McMaster to join meetings easily, which offers greater security for studies in which participants are all within McMaster, but can make it difficult to use for studies which include participants who are external to McMaster.

Key Concerns

Using MS Teams requires a MacID which makes it hard to use with participants external to McMaster.

It is not possible to join a McMaster MS Teams meeting by telephone at the time of writing.

Recordings of meetings are automatically stored to the Microsoft cloud.

Configuring a MS Teams meeting

There are no options to set when scheduling an MS Teams meeting (which must be done from within a recent Outlook client).

Publicizing an MS Teams meeting

Since participants must be authenticated to join a meeting, MS Teams meetings are not subject to issues such as ‘Zoom bombings’. However, since meetings can only be joined by authenticated users, this makes the platform challenging to use for studies in which there are external participants.

Recording an MS Teams meeting

Meeting hosts should be aware that with enough technical awareness, any participant in a video conferencing meeting (using any platform) has the ability to record the meeting without the hosts knowledge. Consenting processes should make this clear to all participants.

MS Teams meeting recordings are all stored on the Microsoft Cloud and must be manually downloaded and deleted from the cloud.  All participants should be aware that they are being recorded, and should have given their consent for this.