How Microsoft Teams Transcription Supports eLearning 

By: AST Editorial
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Data suggests that over 1.5 billion students worldwide were impacted by school closures due to the pandemic. As the availability of in-person educational experiences declined, the need for online learning platforms grew exponentially. As a result, the use of eLearning management apps like Microsoft Teams increased by roughly 87%.

Microsoft Teams is a valuable resource for remote learning programs because it offers a broad spectrum of features to support both students and faculty. Not only can educators conveniently post assignments and track students’ progress within the platform, but a Microsoft Teams meeting can accommodate up to 300 students or participants at once. Microsoft Teams also allows educators to track and analyze data concerning student engagement in order to better tailor the curriculum to their audience. One way to make the most of Microsoft Teams’ versatile features is by providing accurate transcripts of live classes and course materials posted on the platform.

laptop screen showing a conference call with the participants' thumbnails displayed

What is Transcription?

Transcription refers to the process of creating a written record of material contained in audio or video recordings. Transcripts can serve as valuable reference tools. For instance, transcripts provide word-for-word accounts of interviews, live courses, and in-person and virtual events.

Students with different learning styles may benefit from transcripts. Today, many schools have embraced a multimodal approach to education in order to support their students’ diverse learning styles. There are many reasons why a student may prefer to engage with content in a readable format. Offering transcripts of video classes or digital media can bolster these students’ engagement and contribute to better student outcomes overall. Transcription is also an excellent way of supporting students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Additionally, those with ADHD or auditory processing disorders may perform better with this form of support.

There are multiple ways to generate transcripts. Some institutions may choose to transcribe their content or courses manually. However, this method tends to present some challenges. Individuals without adequate training in best practices for transcription are prone to making a substantial number of errors. Correcting these errors can add time to an already tedious process. Unfortunately, failing to make these edits can negatively impact the utility and accessibility of the transcript.

Other institutions may turn to professional transcribers to aid in their accessibility initiatives. Some of these professionals, however, can be expensive to hire and may encounter bandwidth issues. Such setbacks can make it difficult to offer transcription services at scale.

That’s why many learning institutions – like Purdue and California State University – turn to Automatic Sync Technologies for their transcription projects. AST’s platform connects to a vast network of professional human transcribers. The streamlined process allows AST to produce a high volume of accurate transcripts with industry-leading turnaround times. With accuracy rates of up to 99%, AST’s transcripts can help to support accessibility guidelines like Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Can Microsoft Teams Transcribe a Meeting?

Microsoft recognizes the benefits of transcription. That’s why they provide users with a few different options when it comes to Microsoft Teams meeting transcription. The platform currently offers Microsoft Teams live transcription tools for desktop users. This allows participants in a Teams meeting to view an automatically generated transcript in the sidebar of the video call. The live Teams meeting transcript relies on Automatic Speech Recognition technology, which is a form of artificial intelligence.

Those looking to use these tools for Microsoft Teams transcription should be aware that there are some limitations to this technology. First, automatic live transcription is currently only available to those individuals joining a meeting from a desktop computer. Mobile users can access a transcript after a meeting ends but will not be able to view it in real-time.

Additionally, live Teams transcription is currently only available for users with the following licenses: Office 365 E1, Office 365 A1, Office 365/Microsoft 365 A3, Office 365/Microsoft 365 A5, Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 F1, Office 365/Microsoft 365 F3, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium SKUs.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a method for creating a Microsoft Teams meeting transcript is accuracy. Using ASR alone to generate a transcript tends to result in a significant number of errors. Transcription errors can be embarrassing and even offensive. Because of their low accuracy rates, auto-generated transcripts tend to fall short of accessibility standards. Transcripts with high numbers of errors fail to provide equitable experiences to those who need them.

Working with a professional transcription service like AST, however, is an easy way to safeguard against these costly transcription errors. After a one-time set-up, AST’s professionals will be able to join live calls in order to provide accurate Teams meeting transcription services in real-time. Once the call has ended, professionals will review and edit the live transcript. As a result, the transcriptionists can further improve the accuracy and accessibility of the reference tool.

3D rendered icon of Microsoft Teams

How Do I Enable Transcription in Microsoft Teams?

Users can enable and transcribe Microsoft Teams meetings live just by following a few easy steps.

  • To begin live transcription:
    1. Go to the meeting controls and select More actions.
    2. Choose Start transcription. 
  • To view a live transcript:
    1. Go to the meeting controls and select More actions.
    2. Choose Show transcript.
  • To download a transcript:
    1. Select Calendar on the left in Teams.
    2. Open the meeting event and select the transcript.
    3. Above the transcript, select Download and then choose the file type you want (.docx or .vtt).

How Do I Get Transcripts from a Teams Meeting?

When using Microsoft Teams’ in-house transcription tool, a user can simply follow the instructions above to download their meeting transcript. With AST, this process is just as convenient and even comes with some additional perks.

To receive a transcript from AST, a user can simply provide a link to their meeting and tell us, “Transcribe my Teams meeting happening at this link at this time.” From there, one (or a few) of AST’s professional transcribers will join the meeting or class. Those transcriptionists will transcribe the conversation in real-time. After the call ends, AST’s professionals will edit the transcript for accuracy and add things like time stamps and speaker identifications.

Users will typically receive notification that their final transcript is ready for download within 4 hours to 24 hours. At this point, the client can easily log into AST’s platform and download their transcript in a file format of their choosing.

a microphone with condenser being used by a man typing on his laptop

How to Transcribe a Microsoft Teams Meeting Recording

All the above makes it clear that transcribing Teams meetings in real-time, is simple. However, many users may ask can you transcribe a Teams meeting after the fact? With AST, it’s absolutely possible to transcribe a Teams meeting that already concluded. Microsoft Teams makes it easy for users to record their video and audio calls for later use. AST can use these recordings to generate transcripts.

With AST, a user can create a transcript from a Teams meeting using a standard upload/download process. First, the user uploads the Teams meeting recording to AST’s platform. Once the recording it there, AST handles the transcription process. AST’s professional transcription team also edits the content to provide a high-level of accuracy. Once the professionals are satisfied with the final product, AST will make the Microsoft Teams meeting recording transcript available for the user to download. You can even select the file format of your choice.

These finished transcripts will not only be highly accurate, but they are also fully searchable. This search functionality greatly improves the transcript’s utility as a reference tool. For instance, it allows users to search for specific keywords or topics in order to quickly find a desired location in a video or audio recording. Searchable transcripts can be a valuable study tool. With the search features, students significantly reduce the time they spend viewing lengthy course recordings or companion materials.

person wearing headphones writing on a paper beside a laptop

AST: A Transcription Partner That Evolves with You

In many ways, remote learning has made higher education more accessible to “non-traditional” students as well as those with specific learning needs. However, it is still important for educators to take steps to ensure that their virtual learning content is inclusive of students of all backgrounds and abilities. Providing high-quality accessibility tools like Teams meeting recording transcripts can support the needs of diverse student bodies while improving engagement and increasing efficiency.

AST offers a full suite of accessibility solutions like captioning, audio and video transcription, translation and audio description. Partnering with AST helps you provide all students equitable learning experiences – both online and off. AST’s software integrations and automated workflows make it easy for learning institutions of all shapes and sizes to scale their accessibility initiatives. With these features, it’s easier to stay on top of the changing needs of communities and students.

Learn more about how AST supports communication in an increasingly virtual world through integrations for Microsoft Teams transcription, Zoom transcription and WebEx transcription. Reach out today to find out what partnering with AST can help you navigate the constantly evolving landscape of modern education.