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Enable and Use Breakout Rooms

To allow group work or discussion in individual spaces, use Zoom's breakout room feature. The host can open several breakout rooms with any number of participants, then visit those rooms to check in as needed. Read more below on how to use this feature.

Enable Breakout Rooms

Before breakout rooms can be used during Zoom meetings, make sure that they are enabled in your settings.

  1. Log into Zoom using SSO.
  2. Click Settings, then click In Meeting (Advanced).
  3. Toggle the Breakout room switch to on. We recommend that you also check both options below the Breakout room setting. These allow you to sort participants before a meeting begins and allows you to broadcast messages while participants are in breakout rooms.

Use Random Breakout Rooms

During a Zoom meeting, breakout rooms can be opened at any time, and random breakout rooms are the fastest and easiest to use. Follow these directions to open random breakout rooms:

  1. Click Breakout Rooms at the bottom of your screen. (You may need to click More, then Breakout Rooms.)
  2. Select Assign automatically, then click to choose how many rooms you would like to create. You will see how many participants will be in each room in the bottom left corner of the pop-up.
  3. Click Create. You will see each room with the participants listed below. You can move participants if you wish by hovering over the name, clicking, then selecting a new room. You can also click Options to review the breakout room settings.
    Note: The settings under Options cannot be changed once the breakout rooms are opened.
  4. Once you are ready, click Open All Rooms.

Use Manual Breakout Rooms

For some teachers, students may need to be in specific rooms instead of random ones. In that case, it may be best to manually assign those students. Follow the directions below to create your own breakout rooms during a session:

  1. Click Breakout Rooms at the bottom of your screen. (You may need to click More, then Breakout Rooms.)
  2. Select Assign manually.
  3. Enter how many rooms you would like, then click Create.
  4. Next to each room, click Assign, then choose the students you would like in each room. Make sure you assign every student.
  5. Click Options to review the breakout room settings and ensure they will function the way you would like them to.
    Note: The settings under Options cannot be changed once the breakout rooms are opened.
  6. Once you are ready, click Open All Rooms.

Use Self-Selected Breakout Rooms

Some students may need to select their own rooms, whether that is to join their team in one room or to pick a topic of discussion they would like to participate in. 

  1. Click Breakout Rooms at the bottom of your screen. (You may need to click More, then Breakout Rooms.)
  2. Select Let participants choose room.
  3. Enter how many rooms you would like, then click Create.
  4. Click Options to review the breakout room settings and ensure they will function the way you would like them to.
    Note: The settings under Options cannot be changed once the breakout rooms are opened.
  5. Once you are ready, click Open All Rooms. Now students can select which breakout room they would like to join.
    Note: If students have not recently updated their Zoom account, they may not see the self-select option. You will have to manually sort them by clicking on their name in the breakout room window and then assigning them to the room.

Set Up Preexisting Breakout Rooms

If your class has set teams that meet throughout the year, consider uploading a document that will preload the appropriate breakout rooms. You will still be able to choose random breakout rooms if you wish, but students will be sorted with their team by default and that team can be restored at any time. Follow these directions to set up preexisting breakout rooms:

  1. Log into Zoom using SSO.
  2. Click Edit on one of the recurring meeting for your classes. If you don't have recurring meetings for each of your classes, learn how to create them here.
  3. Click Show next to Options.
  4. Check the box for Breakout Room pre-assign.
  5. From here, you have two options:
         a. Click Create Rooms. Add as many rooms as you would like, then type in the students' school email addresses to assign them to their rooms. Click Save.
         b. Click Import from CSV. Download the template, add your students as per the example, then upload the CSV file to the Zoom meeting. Click Save.
  6. Click Save to save the changes to your meeting. From now on, your students will automatically be sorted into these rooms for you to open. You can still use the other types of breakout rooms if you wish.

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