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Cornell University

External Collaboration Options with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams offers two options to collaborate with members outside of Cornell.

This article applies to: Microsoft Teams

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Collaborating Within the Cornell Community

At Cornell, there are two instances of Teams. One includes Ithaca and Cornell Tech, and the other includes Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar.

When working with people in the same instance as you, you have a choice of using a standard channel, a private channel, or a shared channel. Learn more about channel choices and guidelines.

If you're collaborating with individuals in a different instance, for example, when someone at Ithaca or Cornell Tech wants to work with someone at WCM or WCM-Qatar or vice versa, you must use a shared channel.

Collaborating Outside of the Cornell Community

Consider the nature of the collaboration if you need to use Teams with individuals who are not affiliated with Cornell.

For ad-hoc collaborations, standard or private channels using a guest account are preferred.

  • Guests are very easy to add to your team. Start with Add a Guest from Outside Cornell.
  • Any Microsoft Teams user can be added as a guest unless their organization explicitly prevents it.
  • Only Cornell or the guest's own organization will be visible to a guest in Teams at one time. Guests will need to switch between organizations to see each Team.
    • To do so, a guest needs to click their profile image in the top right of the Teams window.
    • Select the desired organization (their own or Cornell).
    • They will now be able to view that organization's Teams content.

For long-term or extensive collaborations, use shared channels with B2B Direct Connect.

  • You cannot add guests to a shared channel.
  • This option requires Microsoft B2B Direct Connect configuration by IT administrators at both Cornell and your external collaborator’s organization.
    • B2B Direct Connect establishes a trust relationship between the two entities.
    • You must complete a Statement of Need.
  • Unlike Guest Accounts, there is no need to switch between organizations in teams. Once B2B Direct Connect is set up, the shared channel will show with other teams in the Teams client.


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