ITS Online»Room Tech & Conferencing»Zoom Breakout Rooms

Zoom Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow for small-group discussion in a Zoom call. The meeting host can group participants into small sessions. When the small group discussion is over, participants move back into the main room. Participants can share content, chat, and ask the host for assistance. For full detailed instructions from Zoom, see here:

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  • Only the Host can assign participants to breakout rooms. The co-host can not create or manage breakout rooms, but they can leave their assigned breakout room and join other breakout rooms. 
  • To create and manage breakout rooms, you must be joined to the Zoom call with a Windows or Mac device. iOS and Android users will not be able to create or manage breakout rooms. Participants can join breakout rooms using any device.
  • Only the main room is recorded onto the cloud. Breakout rooms can be recorded locally if the user has the correct permissions.

Creating Breakout Rooms during a meeting

step 1:

Connect to your Zoom call as the host like usual. For course Zoom calls, the first instructor to click on the “Instructor Course Zoom” link in Canvas will be the Host. All subsequent instructors will be the co-host. Only the Host can create and manage breakout rooms.

Step 2:

Click the “Breakout Rooms” icon  breakoutroom icon


Step 3:

Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:

  • 1. Automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms.
  • 2. Manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room.
  • 3. Let Participants Choose. Participants can self-select their breakout room
    • breakout rooms
  • Options for Breakout Rooms. Select any of the available options:
    • breakout room options

Assigning Participants and Open Breakout Rooms

On the next screen, you can assign participants to a room.

To assign participants to your rooms, select Assign next to the room you wish to assign participants to and select the participants you want to assign to that room. Repeat this for each room.

Once a participant has been assigned (manually or automatically), the number of participants will show in place of the Assign button.

You can also move participants between rooms, delete or add rooms.

When finished with assigning participants, click “Open all Rooms”

Open All Rooms: Start the rooms. All participants will be moved to their respective rooms after confirming the prompt to join the breakout room. The host will be left in the main meeting until manually joining one of the rooms. 

Managing Breakout Rooms

When participants are in breakout rooms, the host remains in the main room. 

To manage the breakout rooms, click on the Breakout Rooms icon.

manage breakout room

Here, you can move a participant to a new room by clicking on “Move to” next to their name

Click “Broadcast message to all” to send a test message to all participants in every room

Click “Close All Rooms” to close breakout rooms and return the participants to the main room.


Pre-assigning Breakout Rooms

Note: using the “Let Participants Choose” is a great option to manage breakout rooms, instead of using pre-assigned breakout rooms. For instance, you could share a word document or email with your students that has the groupings that you have designed. Then during class, all you have to do is open the right number of rooms, and tell students to join the appropriate room.

If you want to pre-assign the breakout rooms, see below:

for a course zoom call

To create the breakout rooms before class, you can fill out a spreadsheet with the email addresses of your students and which breakout rooms they are in. ITS will upload this to your course Zoom account. Please allow for a 3-day turnaround on creating pre-assigned breakout rooms. Please fill out the following survey:

Link to survey:

For a non-course call:

See Zoom’s instructions here for creating pre-assigned breakout rooms:

Starting your breakout rooms with your pre-assigned rooms:

  1. Start the meeting with participants pre-assigned to breakout rooms.
  2. Click Recreate then Recover to pre-assigned rooms.

    Participants will be re-organized into the breakout rooms you specified when scheduling the meeting.

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