Microsoft have now launched breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams. You can find out more about using breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams here.
We have kept this information on managing break-out meeting or tutorial spaces by using a combination of Channels and video meetings, as it offers an alternative if breakout rooms cannot be used for any reason.
Creating break-out spaces
You can add any number of Channels to your Teams group, reflecting how many individual break-out spaces are required. You can name these Channels to correspond with the groups – this makes it easier to switch between group video meetings during a live session.
Assuming you are running a main video meeting in the ‘General’ Channel, once you are ready to break into groups you should instruct one person in each breakout group to start their video meeting in the corresponding Channel. This could be the first person to enter the Channel.
Alternatively, if the number of break-out groups is three or less, you could launch the video meetings yourself while still keeping the main video meeting running. This is because Teams allows you to run up to four video meetings concurrently.
You can see if Channels have video meetings running by looking for the video camera symbol to the right of the Channel name:
If you enter a break-out Channel you can see who is attending the video meeting from the display of profile images (or initials):
Yes, the recommended method is to create ‘private’ Channels to which individual members can be enrolled. This results in only those members of a Channel having access to that Channel, which can help avoid any confusion.
The first step to creating a private Channel is the same as creating a ‘standard’ (everyone in the Teams Group) Channel:
- Next to the Teams Group name, select the three dots (…)
- Select ‘Add Channel’
- Add Channel name and description
- Change privacy to ‘private’ (see image below)
- On the next screen, you can add Group members to this Channel by searching on their name.
Once you have created a private Channel, you can this is indicated by a padlock symbol next to the Channel name (see image below).
You can also add members to a private Channel after it has been created: select the three dots next to the Channel and click the "Add members" link. (Note: It is not possible to make a ‘standard’ Channel ‘private’).
Please, note: The ‘owner’ who created the private Channel is the only Group owner able see the content of the Channel. Other Group owners (if applicable) do not have access unless they are added as members to the Channel.
In Teams it is possible to move between different video meetings without having to hang up on the one you are running/attending. You can join up to four video meetings concurrently, although you can only be active (video and/or audio) in one at a time.
As you join multiple video meetings you will see these in a stacked controller, which offers a quick and easy method to move between meetings:
Each meeting has a ‘resume’ and ‘hang up’ button. Use the ‘resume’ button to actively rejoin another meeting and the ‘hang up’ button to leave the meeting entirely.
Whoever started a video meeting in each group channel will need to ensure they actively end the meeting, otherwise it will keep running in the background.
To end a meeting, click the ‘More actions’ icon (…) on the meeting menu bar and select ‘End meeting’:
Yes, there is an option to turn on moderation for each Channel. If you click on the Channel menu, select Channel Settings > Permission, you will see the setting for moderation. If you turn this on, only Group owners will be able to approve Channel content.
Each Teams Channel has its own ‘Files’ area. This is useful for collaboration, which might involve 1) sharing a document/template with each group to work on together or 2) asking each group to create their own document from a blank template.
The files within a breakout Channel are accessible/editable by those members of the Teams group who have access to the Channel. This is controlled by the permissions of that Channel – the files in a ‘Standard’ Channel are accessible by all members of the Team, while a ‘Private’ Channel has a Files area which is only accessible to members enrolled onto that Channel.
From each Files area you have the option to ‘Upload’ and share a document (this creates a new copy of the document on SharePoint). Students can then edit and work on this copy. You can also create a ‘New’ blank Microsoft Teams document for students to work on (or, students can do this independently):
Clicking the ‘+ New’ button provides the option to create a blank Word, PowerPoint or Excel document (group work) or a OneNote document (individual):
If students are required to share their group document with the General group meeting, they can do this by sharing a link to the document in the Teams meeting Chat. This link can be copied in two ways: once the file is selected, either by using the ‘Copy link’ button on the top menu or by right-clicking and selecting ‘Copy link’ from the drop-down menu.
If you wish to read-only share a document with students during a Teams meeting you can upload the document to your OneDrive account and share a link. You will need to ensure the Link settings give permission to ‘People in University of Brighton with the link’ (1, below).
The option to ‘Allow editing’ should be turned off (2, below). You can also disable the ability to download a copy of the file (3, below).