ITS

Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Breakout Rooms

Teams virtual breakout rooms are now available!

Teams virtual breakout rooms allow a meeting organizer to break a Team's meeting out into smaller, semi-private virtual rooms for focused group discussions, and then attendees can either re-join the main meeting themselves or will be brought back into the main meeting when the organizer closes the breakout rooms. Meeting organizers can create up to 50 breakout rooms and choose to automatically or manually assign participants into rooms. The organizer can start a breakout room in a Teams meeting or a Teams channel meeting,

screen capture of breakout room meeting windows

Getting Started

Verify that the New Meeting Experience is enabled in your Teams settings

To see the breakout rooms option within your meeting, the new Teams meeting experience is required. To verify your settings and/or enable the new meeting experience:

  1. Click on your profile image within Teams desktop client.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Check the Turn on new meeting experience option within General settings, if it is not already checked.
  4. Restart your Teams desktop client.

You can confirm that the setting is setup correctly by starting a meeting and verifying that the meeting opens in its own window.

Use the latest version of Teams

All participants, including the meeting organizer, must also use the latest version of Teams.

The minimum version of Teams desktop client or apps required to run this feature (as of January, 2021):

  • Minimum desktop app version 1.3.00.24755
  • Minimum iOS build: 1.0.77.2020100603
  • Minimum Android build: 1.0.0.2020091301

Start your meeting

After the meeting has started, the meeting organizer will see the option to create breakout rooms in the meeting control bar. Only the meeting organizer will see the option. Meeting attendees and presenters will not see the option to create breakout rooms.

screen capture of the previous step

Using breakout rooms Microsoft Teams

Watch the following video to learn how to use breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams.

Learn more

Frequently asked questions

What features are available to the meeting organizer?

  • Create breakout rooms in scheduled private meetings (including recurring), private meet now meetings, scheduled channel meetings (including recurring), and channel meet now meetings. Breakout rooms cannot be created in Private Channel meetings.
  • Meeting organizers can manage rooms and hop between rooms freely
  • Setup breakout rooms during an active meeting
  • Create up to 50 breakout rooms in a single meeting
  • Add, remove, delete breakout rooms
  • Rename rooms to the title of your choice
  • Reassign room participants from one room to another before as well as while the rooms are open
  • Room transition: as an organizer, you can decide if participants get moved to the room automatically when you open the room, or, if they need to click to confirm the move. The “auto-accept” setting is available per meeting.
  • Send an announcement that will show up as a meeting chat message in each room.
  • Chats, files, and recordings: only the organizer will always have access to all rooms meeting artifacts

What features are available to meeting participants?

  • Participants can join breakout rooms from web, desktop, iOS, iPads, Android mobiles and tablets. Note that organizers cannot move participants who joined via Desk phones or Teams devices join to a breakout room, they can stay in main meeting as their breakout room.
  • Participants join the room as presenters, so they can present, share Whiteboard, etc. freely.
  • Participants cannot add others to meeting chat, copy meeting details, nudge others to the meeting, or use “call me back”
  • Hoping between rooms: Meeting participants cannot hop back to main meeting or between rooms on their own. They must wait for the meeting organizer to pull them back to the main meeting.
  • Chat during the breakout session. Chat and artifacts shared during meeting are viewable for room participants.
  • Chats, files, and recordings: Participants have access to artifacts, but only organizer has access to the links – if link is shared by meeting organizer, then participants will have access.
  • Multi-device join: breakout room is not supported when the participant joins the same meeting and same account from multiple devices.

Where and when can I set up breakout rooms?

  • You can set up breakout rooms from desktop client, but not in mobile and web.
  • You can create breakout rooms in scheduled private meetings (including recurring), private meet now meetings, scheduled channel meetings (including recurring), and channel meet now meetings. Breakout rooms cannot be created in Private Channel meetings.
  • You can set up breakout rooms after you join the meeting as the organizer. You can bulk create rooms at the start, or manually add or remove rooms.
  • Microsoft plans to enable the ability for you to set up breakout rooms before the meeting very soon.

When can I assign participants to breakout room?

  • You can assign participants when you are setting up the rooms. You can do so manually before the rooms open or reassign participants to a different room while the room is open.
  • You can also auto-assign the participants to rooms when you first set up the rooms in the meeting.
  • You cannot copy rooms from one meeting for a next meeting.

I am an instructor, what will my students be able to do?

  • The meeting organizer will have the option to move students into the breakout rooms and pull them back to the main meeting, without any additional action needed by the student.
  • Students can be assigned to breakout rooms, join breakout rooms, use the whiteboard or screen share, re-join the main meeting, and see their breakout room chat.
  • Since breakout rooms are Teams meetings, the same security policies and options apply to the breakout room.
  • Refer to Create and manage breakout rooms during class meetings for more information on using breakout room for class sessions.

What is the ideal flow for an instructor to utilize breakout rooms?

Preparation

  • Join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with the breakout room experience, ask a colleague to test with you and take turns as organizers.
  • Test out breakout rooms with your students to ensure they are familiar with the flow.

Scheduling the meeting

  • Schedule a private meeting, start a private meet now, channel meeting or channel meet now.

Before the meeting

  • Inform students that you will use breakout room in the class session, ensure they have a way to contact you if they are running into issues, for example, monitor a channel post in your class team for any issues.

At the start of the meeting

  • Ensure students have joined, click on the breakout room icon to set up the rooms and participant assignments.
  • If there are students joining via phone, use the main meeting as their breakout room (as moving a participant who joined via phone to a breakout room is not supported at this time).
  • Set the breakout room settings to determine whether students must first accept the room transition before moving between rooms, or if you prefer that they transition automatically when you open the rooms. The latter one is recommended to ensure students join the rooms you intended at the correct time.

During the meeting

  • When the class is ready for breakout room, click to open the rooms.
  • If anyone joins late or needs to rejoin, make sure you assign them to the right rooms.
  • Participates join their breakout room as “presenters” by default, so they can share screen and interact freely. If you wish to limit their ability in the room, in preview, you can hop into the room and update their meeting roles.

While the breakout rooms are open

  • Hop between rooms to check the progress of the group discussions.
  • You can also read meeting chats of each room in Teams, without hoping to the room first.
  • Send announcements mid-way or towards the end of the breakout session to notify your students o the time remaining or any other expectations you have for their discussion. Messages will be posted in the meeting chat of each room.
  • If any students get dropped from the breakout room, make sure you assign them to the right rooms.

Closing the rooms

  • Go back to the main meeting, and click close rooms, students should be brought back to the main meeting.
  • Students will be removed from the meeting chat of the room; they can still see the past chat history but they cannot post nor receive new messages in the meeting chat.

After the meeting

  • In preview, you can get the recordings and attendance report of each room from its meeting chat
  • You can collect the recordings or other artifacts from each room and share out to the entire class

Last Updated: January 15, 2021