Teams for Group work

James Bostock (Lecturer in Sports Outdoor and Exercise Science)

Students undertake a group assessment in one of their Level 5 Sports Business Management modules. As a group, they are set a new task each week, and can take up to two weeks to complete the task, so activities are on-going across the team.  Their lecturer checks in on these tasks on a weekly basis, to ensure students are on track, understanding the activities and not making any critical errors in calculations that could impact on the results of future tasks.

This type of activity requires a robust digital system, that enables groups to allocate and track their, the tutor to quickly and easily check in and leave feedback, and most importantly, the students to collaborate on a range of documents, including Excel and Word. In addition, the lecturer needed to push the weekly tasks out to all students, and ensure the group spaces were private to just that group of students.

Previously, Microsoft OneNote had been used but did not quite meet all of the criteria and students opted for alternative solutions outside of the university, making it harder for the lecturer to keep track of their tasks. However, the introduction of Microsoft Teams for students offered a more practical and authentic solution for this project.

With Microsoft Teams, James was able to set private sections up for each group, where they were able to work collaboratively and independently on tasks, act on feedback from the previous task, organise the workload amongst the team and allocate roles to individual team members.  He used the classroom option in Teams, which enabled him to upload read-only files for the students to access as part of their weekly tasks.


Working within Teams created an authentic working environment for the Sports Business Management Students. They were able to work collaboratively on a range of tasks, both within the workshops and in their own time.

Setting up the Teams was quick and easy, and having a single collaborative area for each Team meant James could easily keep track of their work, leave feedback and intervene on groups that were behind on tasks.


Teams is the best solution for this project we have found to date, but there are still some limitations. However, it creates an authentic work environment for the students and the stronger students were able to develop workflows and processes that worked for them.

Word and Excel have a reduced functionality when accessed from within team. As students were using Teams within a browser, opening the files in the desktop app to access the full functionality caused some problems when everyone was collaborating at the same time.
The students experienced some issues with receiving email notifications from their Teams area when tagged in a post.

Advice for others:

  • Think about how Teams will support the assessment, build it into part of the assessment process to encourage participation.
  • Teams should be used in addition to Course Resources, the course material should still be held within Blackboard, but the Teams area was great for communication and collaboration on the weekly tasks.
  • Use Blackboard Assignment for the final group submission, this tool is designed for group work.
  • Talk to CELT, they will be able to help you explore the right settings and system for your needs.