Everything new in Microsoft Teams in October: New features in Teams for Education and more

Kevin Okemwa


Yet again, it’s that time of the month when we go back and take a look at all the changes and updates that have taken place in Microsoft Teams this past month. Let’s dive in!

Teams meeting experience enhanced

While we covered most of these features coming to Teams, like, the capability of assigning seats in Together Mode which has now hit general availability for both meeting organizers and presenters, there are some highlights that we did not hit.

First up, is the new feature which will now allow users to pop out shared meeting content in a separate window, which is in place to enable them to view shared content and meeting participants simultaneously.

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Next up is Live Translated Captions in Teams Premium which is AI-powered and designed to provide users real-time translations from 40 spoken languages, thus enhancing effective communication among the meeting attendees. It is worth clarifying that while this feature is currently available for all Teams users, once Teams Premium hits general availability you will need a Microsoft Teams Premium license. However, if the Teams meeting organizer has the license the attendees will be able to access it.

And finally, the companion mode for Android has been upgraded with the aim of providing the meeting attendees with quick access to engagement features like chat, live reactions, and Microsoft Whiteboard. What’s more, users will also be able to access both meeting and device controls easily, for instance, being able to join a meeting using a single tap both on their device and Microsoft Teams Room.

New Teams Call features

First up, is the newly added capability that will now provide users with a detailed account of their call history, that is, being able to see how calls arrived, whether calls were transferred or forwarded, and how they were controlled once received.

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Next up is that users can now create Contact Groups in Calls App. The feature can be accessed via the right rail pane of the Calls App. Moreover, through the feature, users can create new groups as well as edit the membership of existing groups.

Chat & Collaboration

Microsoft is now combining the best of Microsoft Teams templates with SharePoint site templates. This means that when you now create a new team using a default template, the project management channels and apps, and the connected SharePoint template will be applied automatically.

Next up is Suggested replies in group chats which are designed to help save the user’s time, by allowing them to respond to messages using a single click. The feature makes use of machine learning to come up with replies that are closely related to the conversation.

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Users will now be able to delete or rename files in a channel and in their OneDrive folder in Teams. The are also other features that Microsoft rolled out to enhance Teams’ chat experience like Video Clip, the ability to pop out the scheduling form in a separate window, and finally, the ability to set Adobe Acrobat as your default PDF viewer.

Power Platform and custom development

First up, is that admins can now view and manage all third-party app subscriptions from a single location, thus making it easier to include more licenses for purchased subscriptions, cancel, upgrade and downgrade subscriptions, and access invoices.

Other significant updates made in this section include: Zero install link unfurling which allows users to see a preview card when a pasted link unfurls regardless of whether they have the application installed and finally, a simplified app update experience.

Teams for Education

Microsoft has updated the Assignments list for teachers to feature a set of tabs that will make it easier for them to keep track of assignments. First up, is the Upcoming tab which will highlight all assignments due today and in the future, for the class, or across classes while the Past Due tab highlights all assignments that are well over the submission date but students are yet to deliver it. What’s more, teachers can now search for assignments on the platform using titles.

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Students can now keep track of their assignments using the updated Assignments list view. “Upcoming assignments are now broken down into weekly tabs with the focus on work this week, for the upcoming week and further out work. These tabs will help students focus on the more immediate assignments that are to be completed this week.”

The assignments will now be categorized within dates, so all the students to stay on top of any assignments whose due date might be around the corner. All Past Due assignments will also be availed to the students through a simple list arranged from the newest to the oldest.

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With the recent updates, it will now be easier to track the student’s performance in school using the Grade Trends and Distribution view in the Gradebook. It features the average grade for the class, all assignments, and for each student.

Next up is the ability for students to open and view OneNote notebooks right within their Teams Mobile apps. However, the students will be redirected to the standalone app if they are looking to make some edits. The feature is available to Android and iOS users.

Course facilitators will now be able to get hold of the student’s guardians from the Parent App as it features their contact details that are listed in the Contact Card. This makes it easier for teachers to discuss the student’s performance with their parents.

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Other notable features that made it to Teams for Education include; the ability to assign seats in Together Mode, opening Whiteboards existing Whiteboards while on Teams meetings, Intelligent chat message translation, Instant polls that can be used to get the students’ opinions during a lesson and you can now embed online videos directly to Whiteboard in Teams.

Other features

We hit the highlights above, but there were some additional features that we didn’t touch on. For instance, the new features that made it to Career Coach in Teams for Education and the updated list of certified devices that features the Sony YY2969 Earbuds among others. You can learn more about these features and other Teams for Education features over on Microsoft’s Tech Community.