Zoom Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting in up to 50 separate sessions. The meeting host can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, and can switch between sessions at any time.

Some additional tips:

  • Breakout groups have their own private chat and whiteboard; they can save the whiteboard to PDF or JPG 
    • Pro: it is a private workspace
    • Con: it is not easy for the professor to see/save/share group work with others unless they pop into the group
    • Alternative: have students post into a shared google doc that prof can also see even if they’re not “in the room”
  • Use cases vary, but group size of 5 or under often works best – small enough so everyone can contribute and be heard
  • Allowing Zoom to do random group assignment is easiest way to quickly group students for discussion/reflection
  • Pre-assigning groups takes some setup but once done, the groups can be standing for repeated use in subsequent class sessions
  • The instructor/facilitator can send broadcast messages to all groups
  • Group members can use “ask for help” button to call the professor
  • If a big number of groups are used, it is helpful to have a student or other co-host facilitate group management – to the “con” noted above, it can take some manual shuffling to move students from one to another

Pros: Allows for discrete, smaller discussion groups within Zoom sessions for meeting participants to discuss individual topics.

Cons: Completely silos users into their assigned room and requires the host to actively manage which room they are in without any easy way for students to move around easily. Breakout rooms are not included in the primary recording for the meeting. 

Expert: Alex Savoth, Charles Woodard