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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

 

How to use MS Teams to make breakout rooms

You can utilise breakout groups in Teams by creating parallel meetings. The links (URLs) to the parallel meetings can be shared by email or from a shared document.

 

Set-up

  1. Invite attendees to a meeting as normal (this will be the Main Room).
  2. Create further meetings which run at the same time as the main meeting – do not invite anyone to these, as they will be your Breakout Rooms.
  3. Put together a document or email listing the links to the Breakout Rooms, which clearly shows who should be in each group.

Make sure everyone has access to the document with the links to the breakout rooms and that they are clear which room they each need to go to when instructed (Breakout 1, Breakout 2 etc.). Make sure the link back to the Main Room is also available and labelled so it is easy to find.

 

Top Tips

  1. Make it clear to attendees if anyone gets lost they should always return to the Main Room.
  2. Reassure them you will be popping in to see them in their breakouts to facilitate as needed.
  3. Be clear what time they need to return to the Main Room.
  4. Make sure they know what the breakout activity / task is. You could use a collaborative whiteboard to facilitate the breakout rooms so they can write their thoughts and key points from their discussions.

 

Alternative Approach

If you have a Team for your teaching, you can create private channels to act as breakout rooms. The main teaching session can be scheduled in an open channel. Attendees can each be assigned to one breakout channel, and instructed to initiate a meeting ('Meet Now') in their breakout channel when it's time to break into smaller groups.

It can be helpful to provide a screenshot showing the Meet Now button, and to assign one participant from each group to be in charge of initiating the breakout meeting.

 

Upcoming Breakout Room Feature

Microsoft announced earlier this year that a breakout room feature would be coming to Teams in the early autumn (there isn't yet a specific release date).


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