Microsoft have introduced Breakout Rooms to Microsoft Teams; a highly requested feature. Breakout rooms are used to split your meeting into separate rooms so a smaller group of participants can discuss/work in private. Breakout rooms can be useful when conducting training, running a workshop or for any type of group work.
It is important to note that only the meeting organiser can control the breakout rooms and has to remain in the meeting throughout to manage the rooms and participants. This can only be 1 person.
To begin using breakout rooms, simply start a new Teams meeting, either ad hoc or scheduled via Teams or Outlook. When in the meeting you will notice a new icon in your toolbar which represent breakout rooms:
When you click on this icon, a menu will appear giving you the option of choosing how many rooms you need, and how participants are added to those rooms.
You can have up to 50 rooms and choose to either have Teams automatically assign participants to the rooms equally, or manually add those people yourself if you want to choose who goes in which room.
Once you selected create rooms a panel on the right hand side of your meeting will appear allowing you to control the rooms:
By clicking on the 3 dots next to the room, I have options to rename the room, delete, open or close. Closing the room means that all participants will be brought back into the main meeting room. I can also use this option to join a room to check on the participants. When you choose join room, Teams will open a new meeting window for the room.
Once participants are in rooms, you can click on the room to reassign them to a different room:
Clicking on the 3 dots at the top next to Breakout Rooms, will give you options for room settings:
In room settings, you can allow participants to be automatically added to an open room, if someone joins the meeting late. This is useful to help manage the rooms, if you are busy with a team. You can also allow participants to join the main meeting room, which means you don’t have to close the room, participants can come back when they are done.
As the organiser, you can also send chat messages to the rooms if you want to notify participants there are 5 minutes left. You can do this by again clicking on the 3 dots next to Breakout Rooms, and selecting make an announcement. This will allow you to type a message and will send it to all rooms via a meeting chat.
If you make a mistake with the rooms, you can choose recreate rooms which will delete all your current rooms and allow you to recreate them.
When you are ready to move participants back to the main meeting room, you can choose close rooms which will bring everyone back at the same time:
You as the meeting organiser can choose to record the breakout rooms by joining the room and clicking record. Attendees are not able to record and the start recording button will be greyed out.
Attendees are able to share files via the meeting chat and present their screens/use the whiteboard. You as the organiser can share and access any files in the breakout rooms chat. If you or attendees need to access those files or recording after the meeting, they will appear in your chat history: