Bulk-add students to MS Teams from a csv file

My institution now uses MS Teams for lots of things, including organising classes & communicating with students. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible, and the pros & cons of Teams as a pedagogical platform are best left for another post.

This post is about one particular pain point in every lecturer’s workflow: even though we’re using MS Teams for class communication, it doesn’t integrate with our enrolment databases. This means that to add all the enrolled students into the class’s Teams site you can either:

  • add them manually, one-at-a-time, through the Teams app; or

  • share the “join Team” link on some other communication channel and manually weed out the gatecrashers

Too much manual work—there’s gotta be a better way.

MS Teams doesn’t have a UI button for “add team members from csv file”. The app is scriptable, but only via a PowerShell module. So, I (& others1) came up with a snippet of PowerShell code for bulk-adding students to a Team from a csv file.

The only requirements are:

  1. you can run PowerShell on your machine

  2. the Team already exists (and you know the Team name)

  3. you’ve got a csv file which contains a column (with the heading email) which contains each student’s email address

PowerShell script

# install the Teams module (if you haven't already)
# this only needs to be done once
Install-Module -Name MicrosoftTeams
Get-Module -ListAvailable -Name MicrosoftTeams

# this step will take you to a login page in your browser,
# you need to sign in to authorise your PowerShell session

# store the team's GroupID into a variable
# replace "My Team Name" with the name of your team
$GroupID = (Get-Team -DisplayName "My Team Name").GroupID

# note: if you've used a different csv filename, change it in the command below
Import-Csv -Path emails.csv | foreach {Add-TeamUser -GroupId $GroupID -user $_.email}

When you’re dealing with 500+ student classes, this can save you a lot of time. And since trying to add a student who’s already a group member is a no-op, you can just re-run the script with an updated emails.csv file if the class list changes. This won’t remove students who have unenrolled, but there’s a Remove-TeamUser command as well—so changing the script to unenroll students from a csv file is pretty trivial.

If you’re worriedly thinking “that’d be awesome… if I used Windows”, then I have some good news: while PowerShell is primarily a Microsoft thing, it’s on macOS and Linux as well. On my macOS machine I installed it through homebrew with:

brew install powershell

From the PowerShell README.md it seems like there’s a package available for most Linux distros as well.

  1. shout out to Brent Schuetze who first figured this out 

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