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With Totara Engage it is possible to integrate your Totara site with Microsoft Teams (note that you will need a licence for MS Teams). The Microsoft Teams application can also include Totara Learn functionality if your subscription includes Totara Learn. This includes tabs for Find learningCurrent learning, Your library, and Totara notifications including tasks and alerts. From within the application users can interact with Engage content, such as resources and playlists, and Learn content such as courses, programmes/certifications and activities.

Integrating your Totara site with Microsoft Teams provides additional features including the following:

  • A messaging extension which allows users to search the catalogue from the chat interface and send an item to other users in the conversation
  • Pinning Find learning items (e.g. courses or playlists) to a tab in a Teams Channel

In order to use the Find learning tab in Microsoft Teams you need to ensure that the Catalogue default view is set to Grid. You can do this by navigating to Quick-access menu > Configure features > Catalogue default view, then select Grid from the dropdown list.

Additionally if you want to use Current learning functionality in the Microsoft Teams app you need to enable the Current learning block. You can do this by navigating to Quick-access menu > Plugins > Blocks > Manage blocks, then ensure that the eye icon in the Hide/show column is open for the block.

Accessing the app

Once you have created the application, users can access it by following these steps:

  1. Sign in to Microsoft Teams.
  2. Click on the icon of three dots in the side panel and select More apps.
  3. Select Built for [organisation name] to display a list of all available custom apps.
  4. Click the app and select Add to access it.

Adding the Totara app to MS Teams.

Site Administrators can pin the app to the side panel, meaning your users will not need to search for and install the app themselves. 

Pinning an app to the side navigation bar.

Messaging extension

The messaging extension feature allows users to find and share any content from Find learning into their chat. As with any other MS Teams messaging extension, the user can find the Totara messaging extension in the chat toolbar ().

A conversation in the MS Teams messaging extension.

You can also pin the messaging extension app to the side panel by right-clicking it and selecting Pin.

Microsoft Teams requires the catalogue images displayed in the messaging extension to be made publicly-accessible via direct URL. This means that in order to display item images in the messaging extension the Allow public access to catalogue item pictures setting needs to be enabled via Quick-access menu > Security on your Totara siteIf you do not wish to enable this setting, the messaging extension will still be fully functional without the displayed images.

Totara Engage only

If you set up a Microsoft Teams integration with only a Totara Engage subscription then the app will be limited to Engage functionality, such as the Library (creating, viewing and interacting with resources and playlists), the Find learning page and relevant Totara notifications. Messaging extensions and pinning items to a Teams channel are both available, but content will be limited to resources and playlists. If you do not wish to display the Current Learning tab, ensure that the Current Learning block is disabled prior to uploading the manifest file.

The Current Learning block can be disabled under Quick-access menu > Plugins > Blocks > Manage blocks under the Show/hide column.

The Totara Engage library in the MS Teams app.

Totara Learn

If you have Totara Learn installed then you can access learning resources in two ways.

Firstly the Find learning tab allows users to access the course catalogue. Here users can browse, search and filter for courses, programs and certifications. Additionally if you have Totara Engage installed then any resources will also appear in the catalogue. Each item in the catalogue is represented by a card showing the resource title and image, as well as the type of item (e.g. course or resource). Clicking each item will reveal more information, and then users can go to the selected item. 

The Find learning tab in MS Teams.

Alternatively, learners can view any learning they are enrolled on in the Current learning tab. If the logged-in user isn't enrolled on any courses, programs or certifications then this tab will be empty. For Totara Engage-only subscribers, the Current learning tab can be disabled under Quick-access menu > Plugins > Blocks > Manage blocks under the Show/hide column. This will need to be hidden prior to downloading the manifest.

Totara Learn activities 

If your subscription also includes Totara Learn then users can access learning activities within the app. All Totara Learn activities are fully functional in the Microsoft Teams app with a few exceptions. Due to the dynamic nature of the wiki and external tool activities, it is recommended that these activities are opened in the browser. This ensures that all functionality is available. An Open in browser button in the navigation panel allows users to open any page in a browser window at any time. For these activities a note will recommend that users open the activity in their browser.

SCORM activities can be accessed within Microsoft Teams. When editing the settings of a SCORM activity, the Display package setting (in the Appearance section) will affect how the activity displays in Microsoft Teams. The Current window setting will ensure that the SCORM activity opens within Microsoft Teams.

Note that the New window and New window (simple) options for the Display package setting may not be fully compatible with Microsoft Teams, and the user will therefore be prompted to open the activity in the browser.

External URLs

When using the URL activity you need to ensure that the activity uses either the New window or In pop-up setting. This ensures that external URLs are opened in a browser, as Teams applications do not support external URLs within the application itself. You can ensure that the New window option is enabled by navigating to Quick-access menu > Plugins > Activity modules > URL, then selecting New window for the Available display options setting, then Save changes.

If a URL is included using the text editor (such as in labels or topic summaries) you need to ensure that you select the Open in new window (target="_blank") setting.

Video and image URLs embedded within pages will be displayed in the same way in the Microsoft Teams app as they would on your Totara site.

Notifications

The Totara notifications sent to users within the MS Teams application are generated by the MS Teams bot framework. There are three bot commands, all of which can be edited/configured under Language strings:

  • Sign in: Users will need to sign in to the bot in order to enable notifications
  • Sign out: Users can use this to sign out and disable notifications
  • Help: This text can be configured to include any links to help documentation or contact details for the organisation's LMS helpdesk

In order to set up notifications in your Totara app follow these steps:

  1. Configure the bot framework as part of the initial integration set up.
  2. On your Totara site navigate to Quick-access menu > Plugins > Message outputs > Default message outputs.
  3. Enable the message outputs for Microsoft Teams.
  4. Users then need to sign into the bot to receive notifications.

Once you have completed these steps your users will receive Totara notifications, such as assignment or feedback notifications, within Microsoft Teams.

Updating an existing app

If you are updating your app or making changes to the app name, description, icon, or adding or making changes to the language packs/strings, you will need to download and re-upload the manifest file. When you are creating a new manifest file you need to ensure that you update the app version number in the semver format, e.g. 1.0.0 to 1.0.1.

Once you have made the required updates, click Save and go to the Totara app installation setting.

  1. Go to Team admin settings > Manage apps (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/policies/manage-apps).
  2. Search for your app and select it.
  3. Click Update.
  4. Select the downloaded manifest.zip file.
  5. If Microsoft Teams says the app already exists, you should keep increasing the version number, re-download and re-upload a manifest file.

Please note that it can take up to 30 minutes for the app to update for all users, and may require restarting the app.

Customising the app

The Microsoft Teams integrations settings in Totara allow you to customise your app before downloading the manifest file. This configuration includes the app name, descriptions and icons. 

SettingDescription
Short name and full nameThe app name is defined in the short and/or full name fields. Note that the app full name is optional, but it may be suitable if your organisation name is longer than 30 characters. For example, you could use the short name field if your organisation has a longer name but is commonly known by an acronym.
Short descriptionThis field should be used for a short summary of the app. This description will be displayed in the app catalogue and will help users to identify your app.
Full descriptionThe full description is intended for a more in-depth overview of the app and its capabilities. This will be displayed beneath the short description in the app catalogue.
Full colour iconThis is the icon that will appear in the catalogue or any other modal. The standard format is .PNG
Outline iconThe outline icon will appear in the side panel where the app will be pinned. The standard format is .PNG
Accent colour

The accent colour is the background colour that will be displayed behind the icon image. This will only be visible for icon .PNG images that have a transparent background. This colour is also used on the sign-in card.

Once the configurations have been set and saved, a manifest file will be created.

Pinning your app

With the organisation-wide admin settings within Microsoft Teams, you can pin your app so that it appears on the left panel by default for all your users. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the MS Teams policies settings (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/policies/app-setup).
  2. Select the audience for your setup policy. This is likely to be Global (the organisation-wide default) unless you have specified otherwise.
  3. Click Add apps.
  4. Search for your app and select it by clicking Add.

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to integrating Totara Engage with MS TeamsHere you can learn more about how to set up your integration and start using Totara with MS Teams.




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