Microsoft Teams chat is great for communicating with students and teachers, but it can also be abused. So, if you need to sanction a student or completely remove the chat feature from them, here’s how you do it.
Something to be aware of when banning students from chat
No school wants students to use their services inappropriately, but banning or removing features from students should be used as a last resort. Disabling chat may be an inconvenience for a student more than a punishment. There are so many free alternatives available (WhatsApp, SnapChat, Instagram) and ways for them to get in touch with their friends, that just disabling chat probably won’t prevent them from doing it.
The question I always ask myself when applying a sanction like this is, “Would I rather the student did it within the school managed system, or outside of it?”
How to disable Chat in Microsoft Teams
This guide will show you have to create and apply a messaging policy which disables and removes the chat feature from Microsoft Teams for the students that it is applied to. It does not remove their ability to post messages within Teams. To disable students from posting messages in class Teams you should use the mute option.
1. Open the Microsoft Teams admin center by going to https://admin.teams.microsoft.com
2. Click on Messaging policies.
3. Click Add to create a new messaging policy.
4. Give your policy a name and enter a description.
5. To turn off chat switch the Chat toggle to Off.
6. You may also want to turn off Remove users from group chats.
7. Click Save.
Apply the policy to students
Now we have our new policy in place, we need to apply it to the students that we want to ban from chat.
1. Back on the Messaging policies page, select your new policy, and then click Manage users.
2. Search for the students and add them to the list.
3. When you are done, click Apply.
The policy will now apply to the students you selected. It can take a number of hours to take effect. Once applied it will completely remove the chat feature from the left hand menu for the students you have applied it to.
How to remove the messaging policy from a student to enable chat again
Strangely, you can’t currently find a list of students to which a policy is applied. Instead you need to go into each student’s account and swap the disable policy out for one which enables chat.
1. Click on Users in the left hand menu.
2. Search for the student and click on their name.
3. Choose Policies.
4. Click Edit and then switch the Messaging policy back to the standard student policy.
Other Useful Policy Settings
You probably noticed that there are also other policy settings which you turn on and off to manage student interactions in Teams. These include:
- Owners can delete sent messages
- Delete sent messages
- Edit sent messages
- Read receipts
- Use Giphys in conversations
- Giphy content rating
- Use Memes in conversations
- Use Stickers in conversations
- Allow URL previews
- Translate messages
- Allow immersive reader for viewing messages
- Send urgent messages using priority notifications
- Create voice messages
- On mobile devices, display favorite channels above recent chats
- Remove users from group chats