Do you want to have group work in your live class session?
If so, then Group Work In Breakout Rooms is quite a possibility. Here you can divide students into smaller groups for a discussion, monitor individual groups or even record the group’s proceedings with very little tricks to implement.
One of the key advantages of breakout rooms is to allow teachers/presenters to divide the meeting lesson into sub-groups to facilitate discussions and brainstorming sessions.
Group Work In Breakout Rooms
Breakout rooms or mini-meetings allow a meeting teacher/organizer to split attendees into multiple online rooms for discussion and collaboration in Microsoft Teams. Only the meeting teacher/organizer can create breakout rooms. That means, literally, only one person in the meeting is able to do this, and must be present throughout the duration of the meeting.
Click the breakout rooms button in the meeting toolbar. Note that the breakout rooms icon might be either of the two shown below.
Choose how many rooms you’d like—up to 50— . . .
In the pop-up settings window, select the number of breakout rooms you want to create and how participants will be assigned:
- Automatically – Participants who have already joined the meeting will be assigned into equal-sized rooms. Participants who join the meeting after automatic allocation will need to be assigned manually.
- Manually – This allows you to assign participants to rooms as you choose.
Once the meeting has started, Select the breakout room icon.
There are times when you must assign or move a participant manually – Select the closed room where the participant is currently assigned. Tick the box next to the name of the participant you want to move. Select ‘Assign’ and choose any room you want to place them in.
Participants who have not yet been assigned to a room will appear under the ‘Assign participants’ section.
Note that participants joining via desk phone or Teams mobile app cannot be assigned and will remain in the main meeting.
Starting Breakout Rooms Meeting
When you are happy with the breakout rooms allocations you need to open the rooms to allow participants to access them. This is quite simple to do:
- To open all of the rooms at once, select ‘Start rooms’. The status icon next to the rooms will change from ‘Closed’ to ‘Open’.
- To open individual rooms, hover over the ‘Closed’ status icon of the room and select the ellipsis icon. Select ‘Open’.
- When participants are in the breakout room, ‘In meeting’ displays beside their name. If this status is not shown beside a name, you can prompt the participant to enter the breakout room by selecting their name and ‘Ask to join’.
Among many other things you, as the Teacher, can do all the following:
Send An Announcement To All Breakout Rooms – The meeting organizer can broadcast an announcement message via meeting chat to all breakout rooms so everyone in all rooms are informed of updates, changes, or news during their breakout sessions.
Join A Breakout Room As The Organizer – The organizer cannot be in all breakout rooms at once; however, they can jump between breakout rooms as necessary. To enter a breakout room, click the room’s ellipses and selecting Join room.
To Create An Announcement, click the ellipses in the Breakout Rooms pane and select Make an announcement. In the pop-up box, write your announcement then press Send.
Record Breakout Rooms – The meeting organizer can begin recording by jumping between each room. To record the breakout room, you need to be in it. In the meeting toolbar, click the ellipses then click Record.
Sharing And Accessing Files – While breakout rooms are open, attendees can upload files to the room chat for sharing and collaborating. To share a file in a breakout room, open the breakout room chat from the Chat icon in the main Teams window (not the meeting window nor the breakout window). Find the chat for the breakout room. Below the chat text box, click the paperclip icon to upload a new file or share an existing file from OneDrive. Press send once you’re ready. Everyone else in the breakout room (including the meeting organizer) will be able to access the file and edit it live at the same time as you.
What Students Cannot Do in a breakout room:
- Students cannot add participants.
- Students will not see suggestions of people who should join (organizers may).
- Students cannot get meeting details or dial out (akin to not being able to add participants).
- Students cannot rejoin the original meeting themselves.
- Students cannot switch between breakout rooms
Close Your Breakout Rooms – Once you as the organizer decide it’s time to end the breakout rooms, you can close them, pulling everyone back into the main meeting. To close your breakout rooms, click the Close rooms button to close all the rooms at once. Or you can close them one-by-one by clicking the room’s ellipses and selecting Close room. At this time, breakout room participants cannot return to the main meeting room on their own nor can they close their own breakout room.
After Your Breakout Rooms – Once you close your breakout rooms, you can actually re-open them if you want. They will have the same artifacts—shared files, whiteboards, things like that—as before, so the attendees can work on existing content. Or you can delete the existing breakout rooms and create new ones for a fresh experience.
YOU can Download An Attendance List And Transcript, just like regular meetings. The recording will become available afterwards via Microsoft Stream. Only breakout room attendees and the organizer will have access to these because they’re in the breakout room-specific meeting chat, at least until the new meeting recap feature rolls out.
Switching Between Main Meeting And Assigned Breakout Room – If this feature is enabled by the teacher, students can return to the main meeting at any time while the room is still open by selecting ‘Return’. Students will still be able to return to their assigned breakout room from the main meeting while the room is open by selecting ‘Join room’.
Accessing The Breakout Rooms After A Session – You can revisit the breakout rooms after the session and view chats, shared files, whiteboards as you can with standard chat areas and meetings. The chat area for each room is available via the standard Teams chat panel: However, students are not able to add or share files within the chats once the meeting has ended.
I have enjoyed using breakout rooms with all my students and they have benefitted immensely. If run properly, and with efficiency, the greatest benefactors is not just the teacher, but the students themselves.
Please try it and see for yourself.
Good luck in all your endeavours.