Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms

Matthew Thaxter
PD Account Manager / PD Specialist
News on December 28 2020

Microsoft Teams, the last of the mainstream online virtual meeting places to do so, has pushed out breakout room features to its platform. Earlier this month, Microsoft had full-on roll out of their new breakout rooms feature.

Breakout rooms are the tool in which teachers or meeting hosts can divide up participants into smaller meeting groups for independent collaborative meetings. Depending on the platform, some of these breakout rooms can be pre-designed or set up with random participants.

In Microsoft Teams, the meeting organizer can create up to 50 breakout rooms and choose to automatically or manually assign participants into those rooms. The organizer can also start a breakout room in a Teams meeting or a Teams channel meeting, allowing greater flexibility on how you want to meet. (Note: this option is for the installed version of Teams only.)

Here are the steps to create your breakout rooms:

First, click on the Breakout Rooms icon.

In the launch window, choose from the following:

  • Room settings (number of rooms you need)
  • How participants will be assigned to those rooms
    • Automatically (random)
    • Manually (you decide on the room/person assignment)

Using the breakout room settings, the meeting organizer can choose to allow participants to come back to the main meeting at any time and/or return to the assigned breakout room. This allows participants to ask a clarifying question without disturbing the breakout room discussions.

Organizers can also use their settings to re-create breakout rooms in the same meeting. This allows them to assign participants into new room setups.

The meeting organizer can create, rename, and delete rooms as needed.

Once the breakout rooms are open, meeting organizers can join any of the breakout sessions. And should the need arise, you can quickly switch attendees in between breakout rooms.

Organizers can also send announcements to the breakout rooms, and recall all participants back to the main meeting at any time.

Since breakout rooms are within Teams meetings, all the innovation that makes Teams inclusive, interactive, and intelligent are available in your breakout rooms, too.

Attendees can discuss a topic in their breakout room while in a virtual coffee shop in “Together” mode. Or, students can bring up the Microsoft Whiteboard and draw out their ideas. Most importantly, the security features that help make your Teams meetings a safe and secure place for students are also a part of the breakout rooms feature. 

For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom check out more articles on our blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.