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Instructional Design & Support

Skype for Business

Skype for Business is a collaboration tool for instant messaging (IM), voice or video calls, and online collaboration meetings. It is used as a professional collaboration and meeting tool that can help facilitate student and peer interaction in a number of ways.  For instructors using Microsoft Office 365, chances are you already have access to Skype for Business.

Skype differs from Skype for Business. You can use it at home for up to 20 people free, make Skype-to-Skype calls, and you can buy credit to make very inexpensive calls to mobiles and landlines. For larger organizations, Microsoft recommends Skype for Business.

Do the following with Skype for Business:

  • Conduct a class with up to 250 people using a phone or internet connection.
  • Secure class communication utilizing authentication and encryption.  Permissions can be set for participants in each collaborative meeting allowing multiple presentations.
  • Obtain feedback though polling the class participants.
  • Provide student collaboration using Microsoft Office apps such as Microsoft Word.
  • Facilitate real-time co-authoring with peers and students within a flexible collaborative environment with the shared desktop content feature.
  • Share attach files such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel that are automatically loaded from OneDrive saving meeting time by your Office 365 Outlook calendar.
  • Connect with co-workers and students easily using instant messaging, screen and document sharing, and audio/video calls.
  • Zoom has many of the same features, however, Skype for Business excels as an office communication tool. Connect with Zoom by telephone bridging service, breakout sessions, personal meeting ID’s with each user with benefit of personalized URLs with unlimited meetings and durations.

The system requirements for Skype for Business application include:

  • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers and a microphone – built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
  • A webcam or HD webcam – built-in or USB plug-in
  • Or, a HD cam or HD camcorder with video capture cord

Skype for Business is available for Windows only at this stage, where as Zoom has great cross platform support.  Skype for Business Web Scheduler is a Mac alternative available within Office 365.

Getting Started

Skype for Business Client software is included in the Microsoft Office installation, either 2013 or 2016 should include the Skype for Business 2015 client.

Skype for Business Online can be accessed by logging into your Office 365 account ( with your UTK email address and password.

  • From the Home screen, click the link Other Installs.
  • From the left navigation under Software, click Skype for Business.
  • Click the link to Launch Skype for Business Web Scheduler.

Sign into Skype for Business

  1. The first time you launch the Skype for Business desktop client, enter your UTK email address and password, and then choose sign in.
  2. If you want to save your password for signing in next time, choose Yes.
  3. It will automatically log you in with a status of Available unless your Outlook calendar indicates you have a meeting appointment. In that case, it would show your status as Busy.


​Basic Tasks in Skype for Business

For more information about Skype for Business, contact the OIT HelpDesk online or call (865) 974-9900.