Presenter support and pre-creation of Microsoft Teams breakout rooms are just around the corner during writing this blog article. Both are really awaited improvements, and help when planning and running workshops and small groups in meetings using breakout rooms. Currently, the pre-creation of rooms is in rolling-out state (already available in Public Preview) and presenter support can be tested on Public Preview as well (update: 23.9.2021).

Assigning presenters to help manage rooms

Presenter support allows meeting organizers to nominate specific presenters from their organization to a breakout room manager role. Breakout room managers can be assigned on room pre-creation mode and during the meeting.

Breakout room manager assignment from Breakout room tab
Breakout room manager assign from a breakout room pane

Breakout room managers have permission during the meeting to

  • Assign and re-assign users to rooms
  • Add and delete rooms
  • Open and close rooms
  • Send announcements
  • Recreate rooms
  • Set timers
  • Adjust settings

Breakout room managers can also join in rooms, so organizers and managers can share the load of running and facilitating rooms.

Room pre-creation and participant assignment

Note that during writing this blog article, you need to have Public Preview enabled on Teams to use this feature. (23.9.2021)

Pre-creation of breakout rooms allows the meeting organizer to create rooms and assign invited attendees to specific rooms. Breakout rooms are managed from the Breakout room tab from the event on Teams calendar.

Breakout rooms tab

Creating rooms

Room creation is simple, just number of rooms needs to be chosen. New rooms are named like Room 1, Room 2, Room 3, etc. Maximum number of rooms is still limited to 50.

Create rooms

More rooms can be added from a small +-sign on the top-right corner of the Breakout rooms tab.

Add a room

Edit the room name

Room name can be changed selecting Edit from three dots on the room header.

Rooms settings menu
Edit the room name

Assign participants to rooms

Only invited attendees can be assigned to rooms either automatically, which divides attendees equally between rooms, or manually per user basis or selecting multiple users and assigning them to a room. If someone is already assigned to the breakout room manager role, he/she cannot be assigned to a room.

Assigning multiple users

Room settings

Settings selection on room settings menu opens a meeting options view to a browser for that specific room. As breakout room is actually a Teams meeting, you can control some of the settings in the similar way. Different rooms can have different settings.

Settings for all breakout rooms

Setting for all rooms in the meeting are controlled in breakout room settings. In settings organizer can controls and assign presenters to breakout room manager role, set a time limit for rooms, are attendees moved automatically to rooms and can people return to the main meeting by themselves.

Setting for all breakout rooms

Running pre-created rooms in the meeting

Pre-created rooms can be opened from the Breakout rooms pane in the meeting view. All rooms can be opened by clicking Open from the toolbar or one-by-one from the three dots in the room list.

Opening rooms

During the meeting breakout room management can be done only in the Breakout rooms meeting panel.

How other presenters are managing rooms?

Room management can be open for one user at the time. Organizer and nominated presenters can switch between rooms by first taking control of the rooms management on the Breakout rooms pane, and joining in a room

Manage rooms
Confirm room management
Join to a room

Another option for joining rooms is to use Join button in the top-right corner of the room chat. Room chats are available on Teams chat list after some chat activity.

Breakout room chats
Join room from the chat

Limitations

Currently:

  • Breakout rooms support up to 300 participants
  • Invited channel members cannot pre-assigned to rooms

Afterword

These new features are really improving the planning capabilities of breakout rooms, and the organizer doesn’t need to join the meeting beforehand for creating the rooms and arranging the participants. Running a larger number of breakout rooms requires more management, and quite often organizer is one who is also jumping between rooms and facilitating room discussion and work. Breakout room managers are also bringing more flexibility around that as well.

Both features are already available on Public Preview, so you can start testing them and start planning for better small group meetings and workshops.

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