Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms for Invigilation

Having to move very quickly to online teaching again necessitated the need to continue running ‘school’ as ‘normally’ as possible, despite being online. This meant having to find a way to keep an eye on my students who were writing a test at home. I thought I could use the breakout rooms feature in MS Teams. Each student was allocated a room in a meeting, the room became like a little sub-meeting on its own where the student could have their webcam on and share their computer screen while the whole session was recorded by Teams. I would then go from room to room, just popping in for a few seconds each time to see what the student was up to.

My thoughts

Settings for breakout rooms must be set before the rooms are started.

If you see a duplicate student, it could be that they are using a mobile device to access with a second account perhaps for a camera or microphone.

When a student has an issue while you’re not in the room you can always go back and play the recording.

It does take a lot of time and effort to go from one room to the next to connect but that’s a small price to pay for being able to monitor your students individually online.

Students have to share their whole window or desktop not just an application window otherwise you cannot see if there is switching between applications such as a web browser.

When students need help they need to type it in a chat. I saw that the hands up feature is only notice when you’re in the room with the student.

If students are having trouble with webcam issues on their computer, it is easier to use their phone as an external webcam using a device such as Droidcam.

You can use the announcement feature to send a message to all rooms in one go.

Students have to leave the rooms in order for them to be close to ready otherwise the room stays open and the recording just keeps going.

I think this could be quite a difficult thing to do if a teacher does not have more than one screen or monitor. Having a second screen does help to keep track of students and your work or what your Teams are doing at the same time.

1 thought on “Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms for Invigilation”

  1. I also gave this a bash with a small group of students and it worked nicely.
    The speed of switching between rooms is a bit slow.
    With younger students, they didn’t always get it right to unmute, turn on video and share desktop, but that’s just down to training and listening to instructions…

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