Breakout Rooms

Overview

Breakout rooms are like mini Zoom meetings within your main Zoom meeting. They are a great tool to use when attendees need to participate in small-group activities and discussions.

Breakout Room features:

  • The host and co-hosts of a Zoom meeting can set up, re-organize, and close breakout rooms at any point during a meeting.
  • Participants can be split up into rooms automatically (random) or manually. With a recent Zoom update, participants can also be allowed to self-select their own breakout rooms!
  • The host and co-hosts can join and leave individual breakout rooms whenever they want.
  • The host can broadcast messages to all of the breakout rooms at once.
  • Participants can invite the host to join their breakout room if they need help.
  • Breakout rooms can be configured to close automatically after a set period of time.

NOTE: If participants are assigned to specific rooms, they will receive a message asking them to join the appropriate room once the host opens them. The host will remain in the main Zoom meeting room, along with any participants who were not assigned to a breakout room.

For Tufts faculty who plan to use Zoom for distance teaching and learning, please also refer to Education Technology's Teaching with Zoom guide.

Configuring Breakout Rooms During a Meeting

  1. Click the Breakout Rooms button in the bottom toolbar.Breakout Rooms button in host's toolbar
  2. A Breakout Rooms window will appear. Choose how many rooms you want to create. As you change the number of rooms, Zoom will tell you approximately how many participants would go in each room if participants were split up evenly.Specifying number of breakout rooms and how participants will be assigned
  3. Select whether you want Zoom to split up participants into rooms automatically (random) or if you would rather do it manually. You can also let participants choose their own breakout room (requires host and participants to have Zoom version 5.3.0).
  4. Click Create.
  5. A window will appear that displays your breakout rooms. From here, you can do the following:
    • Add or delete rooms.
    • Rename rooms.
    • Move participants into and out of rooms.
    • Recreate rooms.Adjusting breakout rooms
  6. (Optional) Click the gear icon in the bottom left of the Breakout Rooms window to view additional settings for the breakout rooms, including:
    • Allowing participants to choose their own breakout room.
    • Allowing participants to return to the main Zoom meeting at any time.
    • Automatically moving participants into breakout rooms.
    • Setting a time limit after which the breakout rooms will automatically close.
    • Setting a countdown timer to warn participants that the breakout rooms will be closing.

 

breakout room options

Opening Breakout Rooms

  1. Configure your breakout rooms using the directions in the previous section.
  2. Click the Open All Rooms button in the bottom right corner of the Breakout Rooms window.Open All Rooms button
    Participants will be prompted to jump into their assigned breakout rooms. The host can see which guests have entered their breakout rooms from the Breakout Rooms window.Window indicating which participants have joined their breakout rooms

Closing Breakout Rooms

The host can manually close breakout rooms at any time by clicking the Close All Rooms button in the bottom right corner of the Breakout Rooms window.

Close All Rooms button

In addition, when configuring breakout room options, the host can set a timer. When time is up, the breakout room will automatically close. For more information, see the section above on “Configuring Breakout Rooms During a Meeting”.

Hosts, co-hosts, and participants have several options for communicating with each other while breakout rooms are occurring.

  • Hosts/co-hosts can join and leave breakout rooms at any time.
  • Hosts can broadcast messages to ALL of the breakout rooms at once.
  • Participants can ask the host for help.

Joining/Leaving Breakout Rooms (Host and Co-hosts)

To join a particular breakout room, click the appropriate Join button in the Breakout Rooms window, then click Yes to confirm. (Note: Co-hosts can only jump between breakout rooms after they have joined the room that they were initially invited to by the host.)

Joining a breakout room

To leave a breakout room that you have joined, click Leave Room in the bottom toolbar. (Hosts can also select a different room to join from the Breakout Rooms window.)

Leave Room button

Broadcasting Messages (Host)

While breakout rooms are open, click the Broadcast a message to all button in the bottom left corner of the Breakout Rooms window. Type your message in the window that appears and click Broadcast.

Broadcasting a message to breakout rooms

Breakout room participants will see the message in a banner at the top of their meeting window.

Asking for Help (Participants)

While participants are in their breakout rooms, they can click the Ask for Help button in the bottom toolbar. They will then be given the option to invite the host to their breakout room. The host can accept or decline the invitation.

Ask for Help button and resulting window where participants can ask host to join their breakout room

 

If the host enables participants to choose their own breakout rooms, participants will see a Breakout Room button in their bottom toolbar when the rooms are open. Clicking on the Breakout Rooms button will bring up a window where they can see the rooms and select one to join. Participants can also do this to switch between rooms.

Selecting a breakout room to join

 

Similar to the original Zoom meetings from which they are launched, individual Breakout Rooms can be recorded. There are different ways to achieve this.

Notes:

  • Breakout Rooms can only be recorded locally. They cannot be recorded to the cloud.
  • At this time, there is no way to automatically record all of your Breakout Rooms simultaneously.
  • If you need to record multiple rooms simultaneously, the recordings must be done by co-hosts (automatically have recording privileges) or by participants who you have given recording privileges to.
    • Tip: Give one participant in each Breakout Room recording privileges before you open the rooms. For more information, see the section titled “Giving Recording Privileges to Participants” on the Recordings page.
  • If someone else records a Breakout Room for you, they will have to share the recording with you after the meeting. For example, they could upload the recording to Box and share it from there.

Recording Breakout Rooms

The information below explains how Breakout Room recording works. It assumes that the person already has recording privileges (host or co-host) or that they were granted such privileges during the meeting.

  • If the person was already recording the main meeting window to the cloud
    • The cloud recording of the main window will pause if the person doing the recording enters one of the Breakout Rooms.
    • Once they enter a Breakout Room, they can initiate a local recording of that room. They will only be able to record that room for as long as they remain in it.
    • If they join a different Breakout Room, local recording of the new Breakout Room will automatically begin.
    • If they return to the main meeting window, the cloud recording of the main window will automatically resume.
  • If the person was already recording the main meeting window to their local device…
    • The local recording of the main window will pause if the person doing the recording enters one of the Breakout Rooms.
    • Once they enter a Breakout Room, local recording of that room will automatically begin. They will only be able to record that room for as long as they remain in it.
    • If they join a different Breakout Room, local recording of the new Breakout Room will automatically begin.
    • If they return to the main meeting window, the local recording of the main window will automatically resume.
  • If the person was NOT already recording the main meeting window…
    • When they enter a Breakout Room, they can initiate a local recording of that room. They will only be able to record that room for as long as they remain in it.
    • If they join a different Breakout Room, local recording of the new Breakout Room will automatically begin.
    • If they return to the main meeting window, the local recording of the main window will automatically begin.