Why do students have a Chat icon in Teams and faculty/staff do not?

Student view and faculty/staff view of TeamsDifferent features appear in Microsoft Teams, depending on your Teams account. In the left navigation bar for Teams, students see both the Chat and Calls icons, but instructors do not.

Why not offer Chat for instructors? For underlying technical reasons, Chat and Calls must be paired together in Teams. Activating Chat for instructors would also change Calls in a way that would disrupt their university phone service. Activating Chat and Calls for students did not pose a problem, as most students do not use university phones.

IT Services is evaluating the significant phone infrastructure changes that must occur to move all faculty and staff to Teams calling. Only after these phone changes can Teams Chat be enabled for faculty and staff.

In the meantime, faculty and staff can continue to use Skype for Business to conduct private chats with students. (Find out how to open Skype for Business and pin it to the Windows taskbar.) Messages sent from the faculty or staff Skype for Business app will appear in students’ Teams app.

Also, all users in a Teams online class session/meeting can use the group chat during the online meeting. From the Teams controls, click or tap the speech balloon icon to reveal the group meeting chat.

Teams control task bar with Meeting Chat identified with an arrow


Please contact the IT Services Help Desk for questions about Microsoft Teams.