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The Simple Guide To Setup Breakout Rooms In Microsoft Teams (2023)

A step-by-step guide for setting up and managing breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams.

Setting up breakout rooms during your Teams class meetings allows for small group discussions and collaboration. Breakout rooms give students time to critically evaluate, and you can drop into the breakout rooms to offer support and answer questions. Set out a clear plan, time frame, and instructions for the students before initiating the breakout rooms.

Within a Team, you can setup channels to function as breakout rooms during a meeting. Pre-load files to each breakout room for students to work on, access files from breakout rooms to share in the main session, provide a whiteboard for students to access during a breakout session, and seamlessly transition between breakout sessions.

Using channels for breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

  • Use or create a Team that includes all members that will participate in the main meeting session and the smaller group breakout sessions.
  • The Team’s General channel may be used for the main meeting session or you can create a Main Session channel, as shown in the image below.
  • Create channels for each group’s breakout session. For example, you could create Class A, Class B and Class C as channels but you may want to give clear, meaningful names to the channels.
  • If attendees should not self-select their group breakout session, use private channels.
  • You will need to add specific attendees as members of each private channel.
    Note: For private channels, you cannot schedule or record meetings.
breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams
  • Open channels allow any participant to join any breakout room. Private channels allow the instructor to preassign participants.
  • Add files to each channel’s file tab that you would like access to students while they are in the breakout session. Word documents will be read-only while PowerPoint and Excel files are editable in the session in the meeting window.

Setting up channels for breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

  • Click “Meet now” at the bottom of the conversation tab of each channel.
  • For standard, non-private channels, all members of the Team can join, but the meetings are specific to the channel.

Switching meetings for breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

  • As you switch meetings, the original meeting will be placed on hold.
  • You can join up to four meetings as once.
  • Note that when you join the Group B breakout meeting, the Group A breakout meeting is placed on hold. You can quickly switch from one meeting to another meeting by selecting “resume“.
  • The main session, as well as any other sessions running concurrently, will show you on “hold” in the top left of the screen.
ms teams app
  • To go back and forth between sessions, do not hang-up. Simply select Resume for the session you wish to be active in.
  • During the Main Session, make sure each participant knows which breakout room them will be going to.
  • Show them which breakout session you want them to join.
  • Participants can join the breakout session by selecting “Join” for the meeting posted in the channel.

Editing files for breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

From the Desired Breakout Room Channel (all participants must do the following steps to ensure all participants can see and edit the file at the same time.

  • Go to a channel
  • On the top, click “Files
  • Click More Options (…)
  • You will get a few options that you wish to make within Microsoft Teams.
microsoft 365 teams

Also, you can make other changes to the channel using the available options.

Accessing breakout room files from the main room

  • Make sure all participants are back in the main session
  • Select files from Breakout Channel File tab and open the file in the browser
  • Screen share browser so all participants can see the file

What if you can’t create Meet now for breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams?

The extraordinary factor about Microsoft Teams is there are very granular policies that control what users can and cannot do on teams. Policies put controls while a person can start Meet now or not in a teams channel. If you switch this on, while a user posts a message in a teams channel, the person can click Meet now under the compose field to begin the meeting in the channel. To check the status of polices at your environment, follow the below steps.

  • Go to “Microsoft Teams Admin Center
  • On the left, click “Meetings
  • Select “Meeting polices
  • If you have only Global policy, click them and make sure “Allow Meet now in channels” are enabled.
  • If for some reason, if you have a custom policy, access them and follow the same steps.
  • Refer this link to know more about policies on Teams admin center.

Cheers, you have learnt about the breakout rooms in Microsoft teams.

Want to improve your Microsoft Teams experience for better productivity? Check out the tips and tricks mentioned here.

Also Read: The New Guide to use the Breakout Rooms

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which finding from today’s report did you find most interesting? Or maybe you have a question about something that I covered.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you. So go ahead and leave a comment below.

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  1. zana ballantyne

    Hi, I’m keen to know if there is a 1 min timer option / bell or something that can remind participants that the break out session is shortly ending – saving the moderator/producer needing to pop into each room and remind them time is almost up.

    • techieberry

      Microsoft teams does not currently have the feature. There is also the wider request where Microsoft is currently working on remediation. I would vote on the uservoice and this will notify you of it gets picked up.

  2. Pingback:MS Teams Tutorial | A Step-By-Step Guide [2020]

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