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

Groups in Moodle

Moodle will allow you to organize students into groups in Moodle for smaller discussions and other activities.  You can have group assignments, so that several students work together on a single project. Written assignment can be crafted within Moodle (with the text editor) or uploaded as a finished PDF or other document.  Note: there is a file size limit of 20 Mb for assignments uploaded by students. Audio or video assignments of more than a minute or so, should be uploaded to a separate cloud service (Panopto, Google, Box, etc.).

Pros: If you are using Moodle, this lets you facilitate group work in almost any activity. 

Cons: If you are using multiple group configurations within your course, along with groups in the gradebook, you need to use the “groupings” option. This is not hard, but if fail to add groupings, your gradebook won’t reflect the group grades correctly.

Expert: Sharon Strauss

From Manuscript to Print


This primary source packet provides resources related to the transition from manuscript to print in Western Europe. Materials in this packet will help students understand how manuscripts and early books were created, practice analyzing primary sources and material objects, and consider the similarities and differences of these methods for conveying information. 

The manuscripts included in this packet come from Haverford’s J. Rendel Harris collection, and were recently digitized. Harris was a professor of religion at Haverford, and later became a librarian at the John Rylands Library in Manchester. He purchased these and other manuscripts during travels in the Middle East. More information about Harris and the collections is available at https://archives.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/repositories/5/resources/324

Incunabula refers to books printed between 1450 and 1500, the cradle period of printing. The materials in this packet come from a collection of incunabula recently donated to Haverford by David Wertheimer ‘77. The digital versions are not from Haverford’s copies, but rather from German libraries. To see a list of the entire Wertheimer collection, you can search tripod.haverford.edu for Wertheimer. 

Packet contents:

  • List of manuscripts and incunabula (four each), with links to digital versions 
  • Guiding questions for students engaging with these primary sources (specific to each text)
  • Glossaries of relevant specialized vocabulary 
  • Articles which provide background on the creation of manuscripts and the transition to printing
    • Kwakkel, Erik. “General Introduction.” Books Before Print. Arc Humanities Press, 2018, 1-28.  

Lyons, Martin. “Was There a Printing Revolution?” A History of Reading and Writing in the Western World. Palgrave: 2009, 26-42.

List of Manuscripts


Psalter, England? 15th century, Latin, Harris 42

Vulgate concordance, France? 15th century, Latin, Harris 44

Essay on Greek and Roman history, Padua, 1457, Latin, Harris 44a

Thomas Aquinas treatises, England, 15th century, Latin, Harris 45


Zebolt, Gerhard. Tractatus de spiritualibus ascensionibus. Basel: Johann Amerbach and Johann Petri de Langendorff, not after 1489. Wertheimer BX2349 .Z47 1489

Haverford copy record

Digital copy from Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek

Felicianus. De divina praedestinatione. Speyer : Johann and Conrad Hist, ca. 1489. Wertheimer BT810 .F35 1489

Haverford copy record

Digital copy from ULB Darmstadt

Exercises and Handouts

These small group exercises and handouts will lead students through a discussion around these materials:

  • Manuscript Exercise
  • Manuscript Glossary
  • Early Printing Exercise
  • Early Printing Glossary