Alamo Colleges District

How to Use and Manage Breakout Rooms

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Whether you're an educator, team leader, or event organizer, breakout rooms are a powerful tool for facilitating small group discussions and collaborations.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of using breakout rooms, offer tips on organizing and managing them efficiently, and provide best practices for your next virtual gathering.

In this guide you will learn how to:

  1. Enable Breakout Rooms
  2. Create Rooms During a Meeting
  3. Customize and Manage Breakout Rooms
  4. Pre-Assign Breakout Rooms
  • Up to 50 breakout rooms can be created with 200 participants.
  • Breakout room participants have full audio, video, and screen share capabilities.
Enable breakout rooms

1. Begin by logging into your Zoom web portal and go to Settings.

zoom settings

2. Under Settings, select In Meeting (Advanced). Locate the Breakout room - Meeting feature. Select the toggle on switch. 

Important Selections in Breakout Rooms:

  • Enable Breakout Rooms - Select toggle on, so you can create and manage breakout rooms. [1]
  • Assign participants to breakout rooms when scheduling - check this box, so you can pre-assign breakout rooms. [2]

Additional Options:

  • Broadcast message to participants - check this box, so you can display messages for ALL participants in breakout rooms, notify them how much time they left, and send out important reminders for discussions, etc. [3]
  • Broadcast voice to breakout rooms - check this box if you would like to speak to ALL breakout sessions or make announcements. [4]
  • Allow host to view activity statuses in breakout rooms - check this box to see what participants are presenting or other Zoom features they are using in breakout rooms [5]

Finally, don't forget to press Save [6]

enabling breakout rooms in zoom and breakout room settings

In order to gain the most features from breakout rooms, check all the boxes. 

Broadcasting a message to breakout rooms

The host can broadcast a message to all breakout rooms to share important information or an announcement with all participants.

  1. Click Breakout Rooms in the meeting controls.
  2. Click Broadcast a message to all, enter your message, and click Broadcast.
braodcast message in breakout room
Create breakout rooms during a meeting

1. Start a new or scheduled meeting.

2. Select Breakout Rooms.

zoom breakout rooms

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

  • Automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the selected amount of rooms.
  • Manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room.

4. Press Create.

zoom create a breakout a room
Customize and manage breakout rooms

Breakout Room Options: 

  • You can rename the rooms [1]
  • Delete rooms [2]
  • Assign participants to rooms [3]
  • Add more rooms [5]
  • Recreate the rooms [4]
zoom customize breakout rooms

Assigning Participants to Rooms

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

assign participants to breakout room

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

assign participants to breakout room

 Moving Participants to Different Breakout Rooms

1. After manually or automatically assigning participants to rooms, you may rearrange the participants.

  • Select participant name.
  • Choose Move to.
  • Select a room to move the participant to.
assign participants to breakout room 2
  • Select participant name.
  • Choose exchange.
  • Select a participant in another room to swap the selected participant with.
move attendees to different breakout rooms

Participants can ask for help during breakout rooms, and hosts can respond by joining the breakout room. At any point in time the host can join or leave a designated breakout room.

join breakout room
leave breakout room

Managing Breakout Rooms in Progress

1. Once the Breakout Rooms have started, the participants will be asked to join the Breakout Session. If a participant has not joined the session yet, it will say not joined next to their name.

viewing in progress breakout rooms
Pre-Assign Breakout Rooms

Pre-assigning breakout rooms is useful for selecting groups that will not change. If you don't want to manually change and assign students to a breakout room during every meeting, then use this feature.

Note: It is only recommended for groups that will stay the same, because once you pre-assign a breakout room, you cannot change it during the meeting.

1. Begin by scheduling a new meeting, or opening an already scheduled meeting in your online Zoom account portal.

2. Under the Meetings tab in your navigation bar, scroll down and locate Options.

3. Press Show.

zoom meetings options

4. Then, under Options, check mark the box Breakout Room pre-assignHere you will have two options:

  1. Create Rooms with Zoom Template
  2. Import Rooms from a CSV template

We recommend, using the Create Rooms option, and manually enter them if you aren't familiar with building excel files. However, if you'd like to import a CSV, learn how to do so here.

pre-assign breakout rooms

5. Select Create Rooms, then begin adding rooms by clicking the (+) sign.

add pre-assigned breakout rooms

6. You can change the name of the room by clicking the pencil icon.

7. You can add participants below the room title.

add participants to pre-assigned breakout rooms

8. If your participants are in your internal network, school, university, then you can simply begin typing their name to add them.

search network to instantly add people to pre-assigned breakout rooms

9. Zoom will automatically add them with their email addresses. Add as many participants as you like, and don't forget to press Save.

list of members in pre-assigned breakout room

Pre-Assign Breakout Rooms with CSV

1. Follow the steps above, to reach Breakout Room pre-assign.

2. Select Import from CSV.

import from csv pre-assigned breakout room

3. You can drag and drop a .csv file from excel, browse your files, or download the template and fill it in.

We recommend downloading the template for easier uploading.

download csv template pre-assigned breakout room

A template example of what your file may look like:

  • Fill it in with your desired breakout room title names and correct email address.
example template of pre-assigned import to breakout room

4. Finally, upload your document back to Zoom via drag and drop or browse. The breakout room will update with your template if you filled it in correctly.

uploaded template from csv breakout room

Additional Resources and Support

Need help with something else? Want to learn more about Zoom polls? Visit the Alamo Colleges Zoom Guides, Official Zoom Guides, contact Zoom Support, or your local, or district IT help desk.


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