How to Use the Brand New Breakout Rooms Feature in Microsoft Teams

Breakout Rooms is the feature in Microsoft Teams that we have all been waiting patiently for. Now, you can easily split your students into groups during any of your online classes. Make sure you have the latest version of Teams downloaded & are using the desktop application. Then, you are all ready to go! 

For all the tricks to use this feature smoothly, follow along!  

Table Of Contents

Set Up the Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms Interface

To use Breakout Rooms in any of your meetings, just begin a meeting and click on the Breakout Rooms icon on your top toolbar. A window will appear with all your set up options.

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To begin, select the number of rooms you want. You can select up to 50 rooms!

From there, decide if you want Teams to automatically assign your students to a room, or if you want to manually assign your students. It doesn’t take long to manually assign them, so do not be afraid of this option! You only need to click the student’s name and click assign to choose which room they will be a part of.

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However, as of right now, Teams doesn’t have a feature for you to save your Breakout Rooms. So, each meeting you have you will have to reassign your students to a room. If you have groups that don’t change regularly, you can still create channels, and do breakout rooms that way.

Once all of your students are assigned to a room, check out all the different settings you can customize for your Breakout Rooms.

Breakout Room Settings

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The first thing you might want to change about your Breakout Rooms is the name of the rooms. You can quickly rename each room in accordance with the subject or group name of the students. It will also help students remember which room they are supposed to be in! Just click on the three dots on the right of the room name.

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If there are students that join the class late, their name will appear in the drop-down to Assign Students. Then, you can assign them just like you did previously. At any time, you can move your students to a different Breakout Room if you made a mistake with the three dots at the end of their name.

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If you want to start over, you can totally Recreate Rooms. This will delete all the rooms you currently have, and bring back the beginning set up window.   

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 If you need to Add a Room at any point, you can quickly do so with the Add Room button. If you no longer need a room you have created, just delete the room from the three dots on the side.

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Lastly, in the Breakout Rooms Settings (can be found by clicking on the three dots at the top next to the side panel title), you can choose to automatically move your students into the breakout rooms. This means, when you open the rooms, your students will be put into those rooms right away, instead of them having to go there on their own. Also in those settings, you can choose if you want students to be able to come back to the main meeting. This way, when students have completed their discussion they can enter back into the main meeting so that we can have a full class discussion.

Now that all your settings are complete, we can open up these Breakout Rooms and let our students get chatting!

Start Using the Breakout Rooms

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To start using the Breakout Rooms, you can open each room one at a time by going into that room’s settings, or open them all at once. Once the meetings are open, you will be alone in the main meeting because all of your students have been placed into their breakout rooms.

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You can make sure each student is in the meeting by dropping down the menu for each room. There, it will tell you if a student is in the meeting or has not made it there. You can ask any student who is not in the meeting to join the meeting and Teams will give that student a call.

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As a teacher, you can jump between each of your breakout rooms. When you enter a breakout room, you can see that it has all the same features as any other Teams meeting. Students can chat, present, and share files. You can change the Meeting Options in the breakout rooms to switch students from presenters to attendees. The Meeting Options are found in the Extra Features menu.

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Back in the main meeting, you can make an announcement to each of the groups. In the Breakout Rooms drop-down menu, select the Make an Announcement feature. Type out your announcement and click Send. Then, every student will get a notification in their chat that you have sent a message. Announcements are marked with a red exclamation mark and highlighted as important.

Close the Breakout Rooms

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When it is time to finish up with the Breakout Rooms, you can Close the Rooms. If there are students that have not joined back into the main meeting, this will force them to rejoin. Then you can continue with the rest of your class.

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When it is time to end the call, you can End the Meeting for everyone so that students cannot stay on the call longer than you.

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To view the chat, and all the files, meeting notes, and whiteboard your students created in their Breakout Rooms, you can go to the Chat tab from the Teams side toolbar. Here, you can view all the information for every Breakout Room. Students are only able to see their own Breakout Room, but as a teacher, you have access to every room.

Breakout Rooms FAQs

Now you are a Breakout Rooms expert! But just in case you have more questions, we’ve made a short FAQ list of the most common questions about Breakout Rooms. If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave us a note in the comments below!

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