Teams Real Simple with Pictures: Setting up Supervised Chat in Microsoft Teams

Many years ago when I did my teacher training here in the UK one of the things I was taught is the concept of 'in loco parentis' - latin for 'in the place of the parent'. Legally, whilst not bound by parental responsibility, teachers are expected to behave as any reasonable parent would in promoting the welfare and safety of children in their care. The term dates back to the 19th century when courts were first identifying and constituting teachers' responsibilities. It was during this period where case law established that a teacher should act "as a prudent father" - language which may not be so fit today, yet the idea of safeguarding transcends this vernacular typical of it's time. Supervised chat - a feature I didn't know even existed in Teams until a few days ago, is predicated on this idea of safeguarding. As outlined in the notes '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'. In other words, it's removes the conundrum of having private chat on or off in an education environment. On? Many teachers, parents and stakeholders would consider it dangerous in that it opens up a number of risks including harassment, bullying and non-educational content. Off? This blocks teachers, or learning support from reaching out to students privately for personalized learning, or for pastoral matters. Now, whilst you may think this blog concerns a Teams for Education functionality, supervised chat is also in business tenants. That is where I found it. Whilst education is no doubt the de facto use case and probably was the reason why it was developed it may also be useful in business environments too to limit private chats being between specific individuals. It is a functionality which could be used very well alongside communications compliance and DLP. Let's go set it up