Teams: Creating breakout rooms

Whilst Microsoft Teams doesn’t have a specific ‘breakout room’ feature, we have found a method of being able to facilitate breakout rooms within Teams.

You can do this by setting up multiple online Teams meetings, which the students will be able to join whilst already being a participant within the main session.

When you are hosting an online session or meeting you can post a joining link to a breakout room in the chat space, which you and your students can visit to attend a breakout room.

Follow the below steps to setup your breakout room (this will include setting up the main session)

Main session teams meeting

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll setup the main session in Outlook, using webmail. (www.office.com)

1.Go into your online calendar, via www.office.com

2. Create a new event

3. Add a relevant title for the main session, then switch the slider to ‘Teams meeting’

4. Create an email list using something like notepad or Word – such as 00009992@marjon.ac.uk; 00009991@marjon.ac.uk – this may take a little time, especially if you have 20-50 students – but once you have a saved email list in the above format, you can re-use it for future meetings to ensure that all students are invited directly.  This will help in terms of reducing the number of students that join as ‘guests’.  Copy the list of email addresses and paste it into the invites box.

5. Click on ‘Send’

screenshot showing setup of a teams meeting

6. Head into Teams and visit the calendar where the main session is and double click on it to open it

7. Make sure you select ‘meeting options’ > Then change the ‘who can present’ drop-down to ‘only me’

Note: if you don’t do this, students can press record and also present.

screenshot showing teams meeting options

screenshot showing teams meeting options

Setting up breakout rooms

Setup your breakout rooms in exactly the same way as you would for a main session.  You may wish to ‘stagger’ the timing depending on how you structure your main session.


How to manage your breakout room(s) during a ‘live’ session

During your main session, when you arrive at the point when you want students to enter the breakout room(s), please follow the below instructions:

1. You may wish to copy the joining links for your breakout room(s) beforehand and paste the links into a document for easy access.  This way you can just copy the links over more easily.  (you can find the breakout joining link by going into the meeting, simply highlight the joining link text and copying)

2. When you have the joining link text copied, paste this into the chat area for the students to click on to join

screenshot showing joining link

3. Click on the same link (the one you just posted in the chat) to be taken into the breakout room.

4. The main session will now show within a thin bar and when you are ready to join the breakout room, click on ‘join’ (it doesn’t matter if students join before you, they will be able to join and will be waiting until you have activated the breakout room)

5. You will now be able to facilitate the breakout room(s) – note if you want to have more breakout rooms you can, but you should seek help from another member of staff to assist with facilitating more than one room)

6. When you have finished with the breakout room and are ready to go back into the main session, please inform your students that they must ‘hang-up’ from the breakout room to leave the room.  They will automatically be taken back to the main session and they should then select ‘rejoin’.  (note they also have the option to click on the play button to resume their attendance within the main session from the toolbar, but hanging up is probably easier)

Screenshot showing rejoin link

7. Before you leave or hang-up the breakout room, check the participants area to see if your students have left the breakout room and when you are ready hang-up the breakout room.  (You should automatically go back to the main session, where you’ll need to click on the ‘rejoin’ link)

Screenshot showing participants

Watch the below screencast to see how

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Matt Ewens

Digital Innovation Technologist

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