This page covers how to use the Breakout Rooms feature, released Dec 2020.
What is the Breakout Rooms feature?
This allows you to quickly your participants into groups, or ‘breakout rooms’. These groups then leave the main meeting to have a separate meeting, where they can discuss and work collaboratively. When you wish the groups to return, you can simply close the breakout rooms and everyone returns to the main meeting.
Main things you need to know
- The Breakout Rooms feature is only available to the organiser of a meeting (the person who starts the meeting). The organiser will have to be present to set up and run the breakout rooms if required.
- It is only available to users with a University of Brighton account (guests can participate in Breakout Rooms but cannot set them up)
- Breakout Rooms cannot be set up in advance of a meeting – you create them during the meeting itself.
- Breakout Rooms allows you to randomly assign participants to breakout rooms, or you can manually choose. You can also move people between groups if required.
- Participants can automatically be ‘pushed’ out to their groups, and similarly, you can ‘pull’ them all back to the main meeting with a single click.
- The meeting organiser controlling the breakout rooms is able to post an ‘announcement’ to all breakout rooms – such as reminders about the task or a time warning.
- The meeting organiser controlling the breakout rooms is able to join any of the breakout room meetings and move between them
- Participants will only see a record of their own breakout group (this appears in the Chat after the meeting). The meeting organiser who created the breakout rooms will be able to access a record of all breakout rooms. This would include recordings, shared files and chat history.
How does this feature compare to Channel Breakouts that we’ve used previously?
Before the Breakout Rooms feature was available, many staff used the Channel Breakouts workflow to replicate a similar style of teaching. There are some differences between how both work, summarised below
- Great for quickly creating breakout rooms for on the fly activities.
- Quick to assign attendees/students to rooms, and easy to bring students back to the main meeting.
- Can be a little more challenging for participants to use initially.
- Useful when you are re-using the breakout groups/rooms week on week, for example over the duration of a module.
- Useful when you wish to pre-populate the groups/rooms with content, for example, resources and documents.
- More on Channel breakouts here
How do I use Breakout Rooms?
There is a very useful video here that shows the process. There are also some basic instructions on Microsofts Website
Top Tips for Breakout Rooms
Naming – by default your rooms will be named ‘Room 1’ and ‘Room 2’ etc. This can be confusing after a while as you will find it difficult when sorting through the chat and locating a particular room you used. Tip – rename your rooms.
Remember to close your rooms – Closing your rooms means attendees/students are automatically brought back to the session. You can always reopen them if you plan to reuse them again in the same meeting. However, leaving them open can cause issues as effectively attendees/students can rejoin these at any time – even when the main meeting has concluded! Tip – always make sure your rooms have been closed before ending the main meeting.
Look out for late arrivals – once you have assigned all your participants to breakout rooms, anyone who joins the meeting late will not be assigned a breakout room. They appear under the ‘Assignment Participants’ button and you will need to manually assign them to a room. Tip – even when you are dipping in and out of breakout rooms, when you do return to the main meeting each time, keep an eye out for latecomers.