Microsoft Teams is launching a new Supervised chat option that will allow educators to monitor private 1:1 or group chats (via Petri). The feature will start rolling out to desktop and mobile users in mid-April and it should be generally available in early May.
This feature has been highly requested from students and teachers who are using Teams for distance learning. Currently, several educational institutions have to disable the private chat functionality in Microsoft Teams to prevent inappropriate behavior from students. However, it also restricts students and teachers to reach out to each other via 1:1 chat for personalized learning, but this should change soon.
With Supervised chat, the app will restrict users from engaging in chats unless a teacher or school staff is available to monitor it. “Supervised chat allows designated educators to initiate chats with students and blocks students from starting new chats unless an appropriate educator is present. When chat supervision is enabled, supervisors aren't allowed to leave chats and other participants aren't allowed to remove them, ensuring that chats involving students are properly supervised,” the company explained.
If the feature is fully enabled in an educational institution, students may see errors while creating new chats with restricted users, adding them to existing chats, or remove a supervisor from a chat. It is important to note that these limitations will only to new private chats, and they won’t affect existing private/meetings chats or channels.
Microsoft noted that IT Admins will be able to enable Supervised chats in any environment, but it has been specifically designed for educational institutions who want to restrict students from disrupting online classes. The Supervised chat option will be disabled by default, and IT Admins will need to enable it manually for all users in their tenant.