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Breakout Rooms for Microsoft Teams

Super Contributor

Is Microsoft planning on creating breakout rooms for Teams meetings?  If so when?  I noticed a post in uservoice and it says it is planned but no timeline and I don't see it on the M365 Roadmap, so checking here.  https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/35000044-introduce-breakout-ro...

 

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This is the killer feature of Zoom that draws people away from Teams. Teams is a versatile product that is both "known or fixed team productivity" (a la Slack) AND broad video chat (a la Zoom). The work around above of using channels sort of works in the fixed team model (although not really what Zoom does). That does not work in a broader video chat/webinar model.

 

In Zoom you can quickly break the whole group into break outs for a timed amount and automatically close the breakouts and bring people back together. I was only recently exposed to it, but it is FANTASTIC. It is 100% needed for offsite type meetings, Design Thinking workshops, facilitated sessions.

 

It is unfair to Teams to compare it to Zoom, as Zoom does not do all the things Teams can do. Buuuuut, if Teams is going to play in the broader video chat use case like Zoom, it needs to get this feature fast. Like yesterday.

 

My .02

 

@Jeffrey Allen That would be nice! We handle it by creating one or more breakout channels in the class team for the purpose; ex meeting I meeting II ...

@Jeffrey Allen 
Vote cast :thumbs_up:

Also very interested in a MS answer to this question. It's a real weakness compared to Zoom.

We need this asap.

Staff are turning to zoom against our advice and despite secturity concerns.

@Rob_Frank 

 

That is what I am afraid of.  People at my work have already asked my opinion on Zoom.  I tell them that there are security concerns since we are a credit union.  I worry they will push this or do it on their own.  

@Jeffrey Allen Could you please go into more details.  I have been asked about breakout sessions also.  

@Rob_Frank 

What are your concerns regarding security? I'm not an IT pro, se please keep it simple.... for my simple mind!

 

@PKeller80, a breakout room would allow you to assign people to a smaller group to meet for part of a session that would have audio/video and screen sharing and then you can bring them back to the main meeting.  You could also in advance assign people to a particular break out group.  Posted above, there is a sort of workaround but it is limited to 3 breakout groups and wouldn't necessarily allow you to sign users in advance to a particular group.  I hope that is what you were looking for.

@Rob_Frank @JeffB @marnel_runner 

 

Rob et al,

I would not recommend using Zoom...while yes they have breakout room feature, it is tedious to manage if you want to assign people to specific breakouts and is NOT feature rich...meaning it's pretty basic.

 

I 100% agree with Microsoft needing to get the breakout room features in place asap, though.  In the meantime, I believe a better alternative to what Zoom currently offers (until Microsoft adds more) can be seen in demo video here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUUbA53ouSo

@J4man I personally like Zoom a lot. I am not really sure what you mean by "not feature rich". I have all I got and actually the Breakout Rooms are easy to use if you have done it a few times.

 

Anyway. Breakout Rooms are one of the major features that is missing in MS Teams when compared to Zoom. would really love to see it.

best response confirmed by Ash Chaudhury (Microsoft)
Solution

@Jeffrey Allen there is a roundabout way to do with as many breakout rooms / small groups as you want, but it must be set up in advance. I made a video tutorial aimed at teachers, but I've included the steps below too.

 

  1. In the Team where you want breakout rooms, create a new Channel for each breakout room.
  2. Open the Outlook desktop app, click into the Calendar, and then click 'New Teams Meeting' to generate a link to a new video chat.*
  3. Copy the 'Join Microsoft Teams Meeting' link from the Calendar invite, and paste it into the first channel / breakout room.**
  4. Repeat this same procedure for each breakout room / channel. It's important to generate new links for each group, or else everyone will end up in the same video chat.
  5. The teacher / owner of the Team can see all of the private channels and enter any breakout room they want.

Some caveats: this creates the video call as a 'Chat'--the video calls aren't being hosted within the Team itself. So any transcript of the meeting conversation will live inside the 'Chat' (not in the 'Team' itself). Additionally, while it's possible to re-use the same breakout rooms, I think anyone who has ever entered the room at any time (a) will always have access to it from the Chat tab (even if you have removed them from the private Channel), and (b) may get notifications showing the text conversations (even if you have removed them from the private Channel).

 

*We don't have Exchange Online accounts, but if you do, I believe step 2 can be achieved more easily without exiting Teams by clicking on the 'Meeting' button from the left-side toolbar.

**I find that it works best to paste the link into a new conversation. I tried creating a new Website tab at the top of the Channel and pasting the link, but this added some steps. When I clicked the link from the Website tab, it opened the meeting in my web browser, and then I had to click 'Open in Desktop App' (or something along those lines) before being brought into the video chat. Oddly, the only method that automatically loaded the video chat in the desktop app was pasting the link into a new conversation.

@dm12345, thanks for the video and steps below.  One thing to add is that you can do channel moderation and you could limit conversations to moderators and restrict members to reply to channel messages from the moderators only and that can cut down on the chats and then you can have the chats area of the meeting be fore the conversations. I will relay this information to some of our staff who have been inquiring.  

@Jeffrey Allen There is no limitation to three breakout rooms. The limitation that applies is that you can only be attending four meetings simultaneously (active in one and on hold in three). But there is nothing stopping you from having more rooms.

@Par Linderoth, thanks for the clarification about attending 4 meetings at a time.

Has this happened? Does microsoft teams have break out rooms now? @Jeffrey Allen 

yes and zoom have been doing it for years

@deblange, not officially but there are workarounds listed in this thread.

Yeah we have the same problem at my org. Zoom was chosen due to breakout rooms being available. We have 450 people breaking out into 6 or 7 member groups as a main meeting. We are already rolling out Teams internally but in this emergency situation Zoom was chosen due to the lack of features in Teams.

@Billsmi what about the security issues that have been reported in relation to Zoom?  Also the user experience is sub-par