Category Archives: Uncategorized

Recognising the Success of the Digital Library Programme

The Digital Library Programme is a collaborative body of work within Information Services’ Project Services and Digital Library teams focusing on developing the infrastructure to support digital scholarship activities and long-term access to large-scale digitised collections and content. The programme’s vision includes establishing Edinburgh as a “leading university in the provision of easily accessible digital collections, to be widely used in supporting creative learning, teaching and research.”

Achieving this vision includes implementing a number of projects to ensure the ease of discovery and accessibility of online collections, create a fresh and exciting website for collections, provide an efficient digitisation request service, provide a range of digital scholarship tools, guarantee long term accessibility to collections, deliver digitised items as “collections as data” and grow the digital skills of the Digital Library team and broader digital scholarship at the University.

The Digital Library Programme launched in October 2018 with a number of key projects designed to split up work incrementally, making projects more achievable following a planned progression. Analysis, procurement and implementation were split into separate projects with analysis projects being used to recommend next stages leading to incremental development, publishing of web pages, software implementation and data migration.

Breaking work into smaller projects also enabled the team members across ISG and the University Library to accommodate project work while still delivering on their typical daily tasks. In addition, the team members carry their experience of working together and their knowledge of the systems through each project, so the team isn’t left starting from scratch.

“By keeping each project small and contained we were able to use results to analyse how each project went and feed that analysis into the scoping for the next one, so the lessons learned as you go help the next project run more efficiently and focused. In big projects, you typically scope right at the beginning and imagine what might happen in a two-year project and when you get to the later phases everything is based off analysis long ago and not taking into account lessons learned along the way,” said Project Manager Alex Ross.

To date, the programme has accomplished a number of its key projects related to automating a number of digital preservation workflows, improving digital scholarship tools and expanding the offerings of online collections. The current and planned projects focus on implementing new digital workflows, digital asset management and ensuring consistent online access through the redesign of

Karen Stirling, the Digital Library Programme Manager commented that ‘The Digital Library Programme is an example of how well IS teams can work together, collaborate well and build up their experience and knowledge from the projects we have delivered over the past few years.’

This was echoed by Kirsty Lingstadt, Head of Digital Library and Digital Library Programme Owner ‘It has been great to see the programme delivering and completing projects and watching the confidence and capacity of the staff grow as outcomes are delivered and implemented.’

Find the right tool(s) for your next online meeting or event

The University of Edinburgh’s Online and Digital Events Service provides support to ensure your event needs are best matched with the appropriate online solution. The service includes a list of meeting and online event platforms that ISG fully supports as well as advice and guidance, training and case studies to help you use the platforms to their fullest. 

Not sure which tool to use for your event? The Online and Digital Events Tool Selector provides personalised recommendations on which tool is most suitable for your online meeting or event based on your responses to the advice form.  

One of the options in the suite of tools available to the University community is EventsAir. EventsAir is a virtual digital event platform procured by the University to offer a comprehensive solution for organising and running professional quality, large-scale virtual events. The platform supports large numbers of attendees and exhibitors, integrated live streaming, recorded content and point-to-point text and video chat.  

EventsAir helps to deliver quality digital and hybrid events at scale, having already supported a number of successful virtual events across early adopters including Careers Week and University Open Days.  

“Speaking for my own business area, I was delighted to see 96% satisfaction ratings across our Open Days held in EventsAir for the first time. When feedback like this is coupled with the increase in global reach that we saw in these events, this presents really exciting opportunities,” said Clare Mackay, Deputy Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions.  

If you or your teams are interested in learning more about EventsAir and the other supported tools available for running events, you can find out more on the Online and Digital Events Service webpages at . The Online and Digital Events Service can help you get started, and recommend which route is most appropriate to your needs. The Online and Digital Events Service can also connect you with the EventsAir User Group that has been set up to enable adopters to share learning and good practices.  

Teams meeting recordings to be saved on OneDrive and SharePoint

By July 2021, all Teams meeting recordings will be stored in OneDrive or SharePoint.


What does this change involve?

Currently, A1 licensed users (the majority of users) have their Teams meeting recordings stored within Teams, either in the meeting chat or in the Channel the meeting was scheduled in. While A3 licensed users (E.g. those requiring MS Bookings, Intune, etc) have their Teams meeting recordings stored in Microsoft Stream.

This will change by July 2021, and all users will automatically have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive or SharePoint.

Is there an exact date for when the change happening?

There is no exact date for when the change will be implemented, only that this change will be rolled out gradually and will be completed by July 2021.

Some users may see the change before others,

What are the reasons for and benefits of this change?

Microsoft state that they are making this change as a part of larger changes to Microsoft Stream. Moving automatic upload of Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive and SharePoint will make it easier for users to share recordings with external users. The change will also better integrate Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive.

Microsoft describe their expected benefits for users, following this change, as:

  • Benefit from OneDrive for Business and SharePoint information governance
  • Easy to set permissions and sharing
  • Share recordings with guests (external users) with explicit share only
  • Request access flow
  • Provide OneDrive for Business and SharePoint shared links
  • Meeting recordings are available faster
  • Multi-geo support – recordings are stored in a region specific to that user

Will there be any possible issues to consider?

We won’t know of all possible issues until the change starts to be implemented. However, Microsoft point out the following:

  • You can control with whom you share the recording, but you won’t be able to block people with shared access from downloading the recording.  
  • You will not get an email when the recording finishes saving, but the recording will appear in the meeting chat once it’s finished. This will happen much quicker than it did in Stream previously 

How do I know if my recording is stored in OneDrive or Sharepoint?

Whether the recording is saved in OneDrive or SharePoint depends on if the meeting was scheduled as a channel meeting or not.

For non-Channel meetings – the recording is stored in a folder named Recordings in the OneDrive of the person who started the meeting recording. For Example, Recorder’s OneDrive for Business/Recordings

For Channel meetings – the recording is stored in the document library of the SharePoint site of the Team that the meeting was scheduled in, in a “Recordings” folder. Example, Teams name – Channel name/Documents/Recordings

This process is automatic, and administrators cannot change where the recording is saved.

How do I handle recordings if a staff member leaves?

Since videos are just like any other file in OneDrive and SharePoint, handling ownership and retention after someone leaves will follow the normal process.

Who has the permissions to view the meeting recording?

For non-Channel meetings – all meeting invitees (except external users) will automatically get a personally shared link.

External users will need to be explicitly added to the shared list by the meeting organizer or the person who started the meeting recording.

For Channel meetings – permissions are inherited from the owners and members list in the channel.

Will captions and transcripts be available?

Closed captions for Teams meeting recordings will be available during playback, only if the user had transcription turned on at the time of recording. To ensure users have the option to record meetings with transcription, this must be turned on in the tenancy.

Captions can be hidden on the meeting recording, although the meeting transcript will still be available on Teams unless you delete it there.

Closed captions are supported for Teams meeting recordings up to 60 days from when the meeting is recorded.

Closed captions aren’t fully supported if the Teams Meeting Recording is moved or copied from its original location on OneDrive for Business or SharePoint.

Will my storage quota on OneDrive and SharePoint be impacted?

Teams meeting recording files will be stored into OneDrive for Business and SharePoint and are included in quotas for those services. You get more storage compared with Stream.

How can I play my Teams meeting recording?

Your video will play on the video player of OneDrive for Business or SharePoint depending on where you access the file.

Is there a detailed list of each type of Teams meeting showing where the recording will be saved and the permissions the recording will have?

Meeting typeWhere is the recording saved? Who has access?
1:1 call with internal parties (University of Edinburgh users)User who clicked record’s OneDrive– The user who clicked “start recording” is the owner and has full access
– The other user has watch access but no sharing access
1:1 call with an external userUser who clicked record’s OneDrive– The user who clicked “start recording” is the owner and has full access
– The other user has no access, the user who started the recording must share it with the other user
Group call User who clicked record’s OneDrive– The user who clicked record is the owner and has full rights
– Other internal users have watch only access
– Other external users have no access, and the user who clicked record must share it with them
Scheduled meetingUser who clicked record’s OneDrive– The user who clicked record is the owner and has full rights
– If the organiser was not the one who clicked record, organiser has edit rights and can share
– All other internal users have watch only access
– External users have no access, the user who clicked record, or the organiser, must share it with them
Channel meetingSharePoint site for that Team– The user who clicked record has edit rights to the recording. 
– Every other user’s permissions are based off of the Channel SharePoint permissions. 

Helping You Sleep Soundly: A Look at the University Web Hosting Security Tools

The University’s Web Hosting Service offers a range of proactive security tools to help keep users’ sites safe and secure

The University’s Web Hosting Service is an internal service for members of the University community to host websites suited to their unique needs. The service provides an environment for users to develop and host websites for specific areas that may have functionality, formatting or branding requirements outside the scope of what is offered on the main University of Edinburgh site. The service hosts over 1,000 sites ranging from research projects and PhD pages to the Edinburgh Sports and Student Unions.

“We currently utilise the web hosting service to provide free web hosting to our student societies and groups. Societies and groups utilise this service to host websites with information about the groups and post event details. We have found most of the end users have used the built in application installer to setup CMS systems such as WordPress, which they are able to do without the need of IT as the process is very easy,” said Matthew Ashton-Jones, IT Support for Edinburgh University Students’ Association.

With the flexibility to configure self-service sites suited to personalised needs comes challenges related to ensuring users are protected from potential online malicious activity, and themselves. There is a large variety between users who diligently monitor their site and patch when new updates are released, and others who, for legitimate reasons, leave their sites relatively untouched and vulnerable to exploitation. As such, in recent years the University Web Hosting service has sought to incorporate automated security and technical tools to help assess and secure the servers, increasing the security of the sites hosted on the service while decreasing the burden to individual users.

“We have a very good working relationship with the [Web Hosting] team. Their communications are probably some of the best – both timely and informative – that I have come across from an ISG team. The team have always been approachable, friendly and customer focussed. And extremely knowledgeable about their domain – which has been a life-saver on more than one occasion,” said Euan Cameron, Digital Innovation Team Manager, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. “If I have received a system-event alert from the service (security or otherwise) that I have been unsure about, they have always been quick to explain the issue highlighted when contacted.”

Cloud Linux Operating System

The University Web Hosting Service adopted the Cloud Linux Operating System to help manage the multitude of sites it supports. The Cloud Linux operating system is designed specifically for hosting websites in a shared environment and specializes in isolation between websites. In this way, if one site is compromised the system prevents others from being accessed and limits cross-infection. The operating system also has a mechanism for limiting resources between individual users, so one site cannot bring down the entire server of sites if it crashes or experiences technical difficulties. This tool ensures continuity of operations and helps prevent against the chain reaction of negative impacts from denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

“We rely on the OS to be stable and secure and impact as little on our workloads as possible. By utilising the Web Hosting Service, we are more than happy to say that CloudLinux OS has met our requirements, and with the team’s support we hardly notice/concern ourselves about the OS in our day-to-day work,” said Euan.


Patchman is a vulnerability detection and patching tool created to simplify security for web hosting providers. The tool automatically scans all the sites hosted on the University server every night, identifies any known vulnerabilities, commonly via WordPress or Drupal, and patches them unobtrusively. The patching does not impact the platform itself or any settings, rather it changes the code to plug any security holes and then emails the site owners to notify of the patch execution and associated details. Site owners have the ability to roll back any patches in their Control Panel if they discover resulting issues. Additionally, system updates can override patches if necessary.

“With so many sites in our portfolio – including 40+ Drupal installations, and sites supported by external developers – having a tool that can automatically patch vulnerabilities when identified, and before a developer can get to it, has allowed me to sleep better at night,” said Euan. 

The proactive tool helps address vulnerabilities before they become targets for spam, DDoS attacks and more. For instance, the Unix team notified ISG of an unknown WordPress issue that suggested exploitation. In exploring the issue further ISG discovered Patchman had already patched 60 sites that contained the vulnerable plug-in.

“Patchman has proven to be an incredibly useful tool, as we are a small team and having time to manually patch the large number of websites which we administer can prove to be difficult to arrange,” said Matthew. “With Patchman this is automatically taken care of and we are notified via email that the upgrades have been successful or have failed (requiring manual intervention).”

Immunify 360

To round out its comprehensive package of security tools, the University also utilizes Immunify 360, a proactive defense against threats in the form of a web application firewall. The firewall detects any malicious traffic or attempts to hack into sites hosted through the University. The interactive dashboard provides statistics related to the security levels of sites hosted through the service and their web traffic including detections, blocked requests and black-listed and white-listed IP addresses. Immunify 360 also identifies grey-listed IP addresses that are presented with a CAPTCHA request when trying to access the site to prove their identity. The service’s malware scanner continually analyzes scripts and recognizes suspicious behavior in real-time, stopping malware from running on the servers and successfully restoring scripts from backup.

“Security incidents, to our knowledge, have been kept at an absolute minimum, while my team can focus on delivering and developing our own services unhindered by the resource burden of manually managing these ourselves, or resolving the incidents that would, most likely, be the outcome of not having these tools in place,” said Euan.

Because the University Web Hosting audience is largely internal, access to the tools is only available to those on the University network or via the University VPN. Further, the sites are integrated with University Single Sign On to provide additional secure options for users to access the sites.

“The web hosting service and the included security tools have enabled us to offer an easy and secure web hosting service to our groups which would not be possible without the assistance and service being provided by ISG,” said Matthew.

UniDesk Turns 10

UniDesk recognises a decade of providing shared information technology services across Higher Education

UniDesk, the shared service management solution, celebrates its tenth anniversary this Wednesday November 18th, 2020. Delivered in partnership with TOPdesk software, UniDesk offers streamlined service management across the higher education sector.

Founded in 2010 by University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews and Abertay University, the UniDesk solution incorporates information technology (IT) processes, guidance and support tailored to further and higher education. Its members collaborate to share costs, administrative knowledge and best practices with one another.

Service Owners Dawn Dodd and Catherine Hetherington are proud to be a part of the UniDesk community, helping to shape its future. “Higher Education needs are more complex than logging calls just for an IT function. Our service is used by different groups across the institutions and we need to ensure that UniDesk evolves to meet the needs of an ever changing and expanding community. UniDesk is scalable which is vital for our large operator base and even larger user base,” said Dawn.

In the past ten years UniDesk has grown its user community to 11 member institutions with almost 969,000 registered users and over 1.4 million calls logged collectively in 2019-2020. In recent years, the membership began hosting annual in-person conferences, pre-conference socials and forums as an opportunity to share their UniDesk experiences, continually improve the service and connect as a community.

To further enhance the partnership, UniDesk also launched the UniDesk Share space for members to support one another and share resources. The Microsoft Teams site includes a repository of videos, start-up guides and quick reference documents for members to rebrand and use in their local settings.

“It feels the UniDesk community has really moved forward in the past 2 years since we joined and there have been some rapid developments. The launch of UniDesk Share to encourage collaborative discussions on common problems has been a very positive step forward,” said Mike Burns, Learning and Information Services Manager at University of Highlands and Islands. “The conferences have been useful to bring teams together and put faces to names, especially for the institutions we work with outside of Scotland.”

Underpinning UniDesk’s continued success is the ethos of sharing and collaboration as part of the solution developed for Education by Education. Members often request advice from other members with years of experience as they develop in their service management journey. UniDesk also benefits from regular support and knowledge shared by an experienced team of dedicated University of Edinburgh staff. Additionally, each of the member institutions is given a seat on the UniDesk governance board and is involved in the future direction of the solution.

“UniDesk for us was ultimately a very neat solution in procuring a compliant system for our needs in a relatively short space of time, but also in the full knowledge that the wealth of experience and skills behind the product would provide us with continued ongoing support. Utilising the experience of the other institutions has led to some great collaborative working and new relationships which have proved fruitful,” said Mike.

UniDesk remains committed to growing and evolving with user needs and a changing education environment. UniDesk has recently moved to TOPdesk’s software as a service (SaaS), enabling Chat functionality and opportunities for improved Asset Management. Looking ahead to the future, UniDesk aims to ensure continuous service improvement through streamlined upgrades, provision of the API and improving overall resilience for the service.

“The move to TOPdesk SaaS will help us on our continual service improvement path. Our membership can look forward to seeing new features as we develop the service for the future,” said Catherine.

UniDesk’s current member institutions include: University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews, Abertay University, Sheffield Hallam University, Ulster University, University of Stirling, Edinburgh Napier University, Durham University, University of the Highlands and Islands, Royal College of Art and University of Malta.

To learn more about UniDesk, stay up to date on the latest news and engage with members visit the UniDesk website or UniDesk Twitter.

Microsoft Teams Hints and Tips: How to get the most out of Microsoft Teams – Roles in your meetings

Most staff at the University will now have been using Microsoft Teams for remote working for quite a few months now. However many users may not be aware of some of the hints and tips that can help in getting more out of using Microsoft Teams. Over the next few weeks we will be posting various Teams hints and tips about different features of the platform.

Concern over Teams meeting recordings

The topic of this post relates to how to change the roles of your invitees in your Teams meetings and is directed at Teams meeting organisers.

There has been some concern at the University about the fact that anyone invited to a Teams meeting can record the meeting. There is further concern that there is no way to know who started a recording, as the recording will be owned by the meeting organiser, not the person who started the recording. The following post will show you how you can address this concern in your meetings by changing the roles of your meeting participants. Following the steps in this post will ensure that only the meeting organiser and any specifically designated presenters will be able to record your meeting. Changing roles in your Teams meetings will also allow you to specify the participants in your meetings (whether that’s just you or a few others) who can share content such as PowerPoint presentations or their screen, and who can admit people from the lobby or mute others. This may be useful for you if you want to have a more structured style meeting, with designated presenters.

Changing roles in your meetings

If you are a Teams meeting organiser you may want to know if it is possible for you to set designated roles in your Teams meetings. It is possible and we recommend that you consider changing the roles in your meetings before all of your meetings.

What are roles in Teams meetings?

There are 2 roles in Teams meetings – Presenters and Attendees. Presenters have more capabilities than attendees, and when you schedule your meeting all your invitees will be added as presenters by default. Some of the different capabilities of presenters and attendees are listed in the table below:

Speak and share video
Participate in the meeting chat
Share content (i.e. a screen, a PowerPoint presentation)
Mute other participants
Admit people from the lobby
Start and stop recording

How to change the roles in your meetings

We recommend that if you are a meeting organiser, that you change your invitees to attendees rather than the default presenters.

  1. Schedule your meeting
  2. Then, access your Teams Calendar and click your meeting
  3. Then, click “Meeting options” beside the time zone information
  4. Next, a new browser window will open with the meeting options
  5. Then, beside “Who can present?” change the setting to “Specific people” or “Only me”
  6. If you selected “Specific people” type the user’s name into the “Search for participants” box
  7. Finally, click “Save”
Image showing how to change roles in Teams meetings

For further information Microsoft provide detailed and up to date information on changing roles in your meetings.

Annual Registration Project Introduces New Online Registration for Students

The new annual registration process involves all students registering online each year to complete matriculation, providing many benefits for students and staff.

Previously, the University did not require returning students to complete the online matriculation process annually. This led to some data, such as students’ term time address & emergency contacts, becoming inaccurate. Furthermore, areas of the University which depend on registration information were provided with inaccurate information for supporting students and their wellbeing.

Benefits of Updating Annually

By having annually updated matriculation data, the University will not only be able to offer greater access to student services online, but it will also comply with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) changes to statutory reporting requirements, which is necessary for University funding.

More Accessible

As part of this project, the registration process was also redesigned with improvements to its accessibility and functionality, making the process easier to complete for students. These improvements were led by extensive user testing and questionnaires to review the student experience, to ensure that the process was made to be as student friendly as possible and accessible to students with disabilities and assistive technologies.

Mobile Friendly

The new online registration process can also be completed using a mobile device, offering greater convenience for students, with over a third of students using this option rather than desktop. Students are also able to review the latest data protection laws and university regulations each academic year. As a result of all those improvements, there has been reduced support time required from Professional Services staff.

Reducing Support Calls

The release of the new registration process was staggered to allow for addressing any errors which arose ahead of the start of this new academic year. This included the use of the new process by students starting at the University earlier over the summer, from which there were no errors and no support calls made to the University. Recently the process was quickly enhanced to capture the students’ location and method of study for this start of term as a result of the hybrid teaching, providing valuable information to the university. At 20th August, over 24,000 students have successfully completed the new registration process.

Further information is available on

Franck Bergeret, Applications Directorate

Core Systems Sub-Strategies

The University’s Core Systems programme is developing a set of technically-oriented sub-strategies for our central business IT services. These supporting strategies cover themes that apply across multiple projects and programmes. They are intended as guides for setting overall directions and helping each projects to work consistently within an overall framework.

The sub-strategies are created and managed by the Core Systems Sub-Strategy Board. This board is convened by the CIO and comprises members of staff from ISG and the Service Excellence Programme.

A key part of creating strategies is the discussion and consultation that goes into them. To that end, the Board has approved a consultation process that includes technical members of ISG, external reviewers, and constulation with computing professionals in schools. When each supporting strategy is ready, it will be submitted to the University’s IT committee.

The supporting strategies are at different stages of development. Most are still works in progress, while a couple are ready to be submitted and a couple have only just started. The strategies that are currently in development are:

  • Infrastructure strategies
    • Cloud Computing
    • Identity, Authentication, Authorisation
  • Data strategies 
    • Data Architecture
    • Data Retention and Archiving
    • Reporting & Analytics
  • Application strategies
    • Application Integration
    • Application Rationalisation
    • Document Management
    • Relationship Management
  • Vendor management strategies
    • IT Vendor Management
    • Software Testing & Acceptance

Over the next few months, we will consult further regarding individual strategy documents.

COVID-19 lockdown – impact on service usage and support

The move to working from home which started week beginning 16th of March 2020 had direct impact on service usage as well as on support calls. Collaboration tools such as Teams had. dramatic usage increase and there have been changes in support calls. While there have been somewhat less generic support calls, calls for supporting from home has increased. The following graphs shows data for services owned and supported by Applications Directorate.

Availability and performance

Looking at the unplanned availability data only one of the 21 priority services Applications Directorate support, did not meet the target:

Details from our site24x7 monitoring has shown no change in response times for services across almost 50 monitored services. 

Active calls in Production Management (3rd line calls)

Looking at the total number of active calls within Production Management over the last eight weeks, we can see a slight increase of active calls over the first two weeks of working from home, and then in the 3rd week calls going down to normal levels, There is a slight trend that application related calls have recovered faster, but some of the infrastructure related calls are taking a bit longer as these have been quite a few and some complex to address new ways of working.  

Calls in Service Management (2nd line)

Service Management Support Team experienced a significant drop in service calls (Incident/Service Request) across the initial work from home period. The backlog that has been rolling on for a significant amount of time is close to being completely clear. This allowed a significant increase in effort to address current Problems and Known Errors – notably within IDM, VRS, O365 and UniDesk. Background operational tasks have also increased allowing scoping of enhancement/improvement work, training and internal/user-facing documentation being improved. The extra time available has also allowed various new working procedures to be put in place that puts more improvements into our customer service practices. Furthermore our senior support experience has also allowed us to assist frontline teams such as IS Helpline more closely and proactively assist with retrieving calls which would be coming us thus expediting customer support. 

Weeks spanning the initial WfH period for Service Calls 

Weeks spanning the initial WfH period for Problem and Known Error activity 

Mobile Phones 

When Work from Home procedures were being invoked a bulk order of mobile phones were purchased for distribution amongst staff. 100 devices were procured and delivered within a few working days despite supply chains being under strain. Mobile devices continue to be in short supply, especially mobile broadband devices. 

Usage of Teams 

The usage of Teams since the working from home has seen a dramatic increase across all aspects of TEAMS usage. The following graphs with data since January 2020, show this clearly. 



Connecting people with Microsoft Teams

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many radical changes, especially in how we work. The new work from home scenario has forced us to reconsider how we communicate with our colleagues, hold meetings and even how we maintain a healthy work-life balance. Overcoming these challenges has led us to further utilise the software available to us, in particular Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft teams is collaboration and communication tool that allows chat, live audio or video calling, scheduled group meetings with up to 250 participants, planning, notes, attachments and is closely integrated with Office 365 tools like SharePoint, OneDrive and Outlook. More professional than WhatsApp, but less formal than an email, Teams feels like a virtual office floor, allowing users to continue working together, even in isolation.

Teams focusses on the creation of, well, ‘Teams’ – groups of users who work together on an ongoing basis. Within each team, users can create ‘channels’ that create a space for members to focus on a particular topic and help organise conversations. Within the Service Management Team, the ‘Service Issues’ channel creates a space to discuss complications or changes to services, while the ‘Cabin Fever’ channel creates a space to replace verbal office banter. Having a separate ‘Cabin Fever’ channel also allows for other channels to be kept professional.

The rising popularity of Teams for home working can be seen in the change in usage before and after staff began working from home, shown in the graphs below which highlight the number of chat messages sent both privately and as part of a team chat (Graph 1) and the number of conference calls/meetings held virtually through Teams (Graph 2).

The graphs show a rise in Teams usage beginning on the 15th of March 2020, the date from which staff began to move to a work from home scenario. This increase has continued steadily since lockdown measures were introduced, with the exception of weekends (like March 21st-22nd). Despite this rapid increase in usage, however, the service has been continuously delivered successfully and has received positive feedback from users.

The new need to work from home also means there are new users that have just begun to use Teams for the first time. Fortunately, the Office 365 team in Service Management have developed a Teams guidance site, in collaboration with the Digital Skills team. This site offers detailed guidance on how to use the different features of teams, as well as hints and tips for best practice and to best develop your Teams skills. The site also includes a noticeboard, giving users regular updates about the service and any upcoming changes.

A particular focus area of Teams which has proved useful during the lockdown period has been the ability to easily schedule meetings using the Outlook calendar or the “Meet now” feature (for ad-hoc impromptu meetings), replacing in-person meetings with virtual Team meetings using both audio, video and screen sharing. For users new to holding meetings through Teams, the website offers detailed guidance on how you can set up a meeting and best practices, which can all be found here. There is even guidance on ‘Meeting Etiquette’, with useful tips such as muting your microphone when joining a meeting to limit background noise, when to use the meeting chat function and (importantly) how to blur your background to avoid showing any areas of your home you might not want colleagues to see!

Additional features for Teams are also in development, including using Teams to hold Live Events* – a broadcast feature that allows for audiences of up to 10,000 people. Use of Teams for audio conferencing is also in development, which will allow home users to ‘dial in’ to Teams meetings using a code sent to their phone. These features are being developed in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School, Microsoft Software Team and the Learning Spaces Technology Team as part of Learning, Teaching and Web.

For more useful hints and tips on using Teams to work from home, visit the Teams Guidance page and follow our Twitter (@UoE_ISApps), where we will be tweeting our top Teams tips over the coming weeks.

*Live Events are limited to 15 concurrent sessions across campus.  Our teams are working to develop a service model based around ‘fair use policy’ for the organisation and also training for successful delivery of ‘Special events’ using Teams.  We expect this model to be agreed in the coming weeks.