Set Up and Manage Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms are sessions that are split off from the main Zoom meeting. The meeting host can create Breakout Rooms, and can manually place participants into rooms, or have Zoom automatically assign them into rooms. The host can jump between rooms, and choose to close and reopen rooms at any time during the meeting.

Breakout Room Limitations:

  • Only the host can assign participants to breakout rooms and launch breakout rooms. The co-host can leave and join any breakout room only after they join the breakout room assigned to them by the host. NEW! Self-Select Breakout Rooms: The host can now create breakout rooms with the option for participants to self-select which breakout room they would like to join. If enabled, participants can move freely between breakout rooms without the host’s help. Both the meeting host and participants need to be running 5.3.0 of the Zoom client (software) or later in oder for self-select Breakout Rooms to work.
  • Users who’ve joined a meeting from the Zoom Mobile App or H.323/SIP devices can participate in breakout rooms, but cannot manage them. Users joined using Chromebooks/Chrome OS or Zoom Rooms are unable to join breakout Rooms, but the main room can be used as an alternative session for these users.
  • If the meeting is being cloud recorded, it will only record the main room, regardless of what room the meeting host is in. If the host selected local recording it will record the room the host is in.
  • Hosts can create up to 50 breakout rooms. The maximum number of participants in a single breakout room depends on the meeting capacity (300), number of breakout rooms created, and if participants are assigned during the meeting or before the meeting. Up to 200 participants can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms.

How do I create and manage breakout rooms during a meeting?
By default, all Georgetown Zoom accounts have Breakout Rooms enabled. Create and manage breakout rooms during a meeting.

Can I pre-assign breakout rooms before the meeting starts?
Yes, there is an option to pre-assign participants to breakout rooms before the meetings begins.

Can co-hosts start breakout rooms?
Co-host’s cannot start breakout rooms nor move participants from one breakout room to another.

How do participants join and interact in a breakout room?
Join and participate in breakout rooms.

Can hosts and co-hosts move through breakout rooms?
The host and co-hosts can jump from breakout to breakout rooms. Use the Breakout Room in-meeting controls to do this. Within the Breakout room controls, mouse over the name of the breakout room and the “join” button will appear.

Can the host record breakout rooms?
It’s complicated. If the host chose the cloud recording option for their Zoom meeting, then Zoom will only record the main room, regardless of what room the meeting host is in. If the host chose a local recording, Zoom will record whatever room (main or breakout) the host is in. Note: When using the local recording option, you can give multiple participants the ability to record locally, and they can record their own breakout room for example. The participants given this ability will have the recording saved to their local computer.

Can the host reuse the same breakout rooms multiple times in a meeting?
Yes, the same breakout room configurations can be used multiple times during the same meeting. However, when the meeting is ended the breakout room configurations are lost. If this is a concern, see the section of pre-assigned breakout rooms.

Do breakout rooms work on mobile devices and tablets?

The host cannot create nor manage breakout room using the Zoom mobile app. The host will need to be using the Zoom desktop app to create and manage breakout rooms. However, participants can join breakout rooms using the Zoom mobile app. Your participants will receive a pop-up notification within the meeting when the host opens up breakout rooms. Participants then tap the “join breakout room” button to join the breakout room. See Zoom’s guide for instructions on how to join breakout rooms using their mobile app (iOS and Android).

Pre-Assigned Breakout Rooms

As a meeting host, you can set up and assign participants to breakout rooms before a meeting starts. This can be done when scheduling a new meeting or editing an existing meeting’s details.

Warning: There are known issues with pre-assigned breakout rooms that you need to be prepared for. You will probably need a dedicated TA or co-host to provide support during the meeting.

There are two prerequisites for pre-assigned breakout rooms to work correctly in Zoom: 

  1. Participants must have a GU Zoom account before they can be pre-assigned. They can claim their account by signing into Zoom using their NetID and password. 
  2. Once participants have been pre-assigned to a breakout room, they must be sign into the Zoom software or app on the computer or device using their NetID and password before joining the meeting. 

Pre-Assigned Breakout Room Limitations / Issues:

  • Even when participants have met both of these prerequisites, there have been cases where they still don’t appear properly in the Zoom database of users, or they do not appear in the correct pre-assigned room during the meeting. You should expect to manually move a number of participants into their pre-assigned rooms. Depending on the number of pre-assigned participants, hosts may simply opt to skip the pre-assign process, and let Zoom automatically (but randomly) assign participants into breakout rooms.
  • Pre-assigning breakout rooms can only be done in the Georgetown Zoom web portal by the creator of the meeting. It is not supported in the Zoom desktop or mobile client; nor in the Zoom Conferencing tool in Canvas.
  • Pre-assigned breakout rooms in Zoom are not synced with Canvas course groups.
  • If you have registration enabled and external participants (non Georgetown users) joining the meeting, you will need to manually assign them to breakout rooms during the meeting.
  • Up to 200 participants can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms.

Do participants need to download and sign into Zoom before they can be pre-assigned to Breakout Rooms?
Yes, in order to pre-assign participants into breakout rooms, they must first claim their GU Zoom account. Participants can download, install and sign into the Zoom software/app on their computers and mobile devices.

How do I pre-assign participants into breakout rooms?

  1. Sign in to the GU Zoom web portal
  2. Click the ‘Meetings’ tab on the left side of the screen
  3. Schedule a new meeting, or click the name of an existing meeting
    (note: If adding pre-assigned breakout rooms to an existing meeting, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click ‘edit’)
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and in the Meeting Options section, select Breakout Room pre-assign 
  5. Click ‘Create Rooms’
  6. Click the plus icon beside ‘Rooms’ to add breakout rooms
  7. Hover over the default breakout room name and click the pencil icon to rename it
  8. In the Add participants text box, search for participants’ by name (not email address) to add them to the breakout room
  9. When finished adding rooms and participants, click Save at the bottom of the page

How do I pre-assign participants to breakouts rooms using a CSV file? (optional)

  1. Download a sample CSV file you can fill out:
    https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/article_attachments/360064694172/breakout_room_sample.csv
  2. Open the CSV file with spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel
  3. Fill in the Pre-assign Room Name column with the breakout room name, and the Email Address column with the assigned participant’s NetID@georgetown.edu email address.
    (note: It will not work if you add first.last@georgetown.edu email address)
  4. Save the file.
  5. Sign in to the GU Zoom web portal
  6. Click the ‘Meetings’ tab on the left side of the screen
  7. Schedule a new meeting, or click the name of an existing meeting
    (note: If adding pre-assigned breakout rooms to an existing meeting, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click ‘edit’)
  8. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and in the Meeting Options section, select Breakout Room pre-assign
  9. Drag and drop the file in the web portal
  10. Zoom will verify that the email address has a Zoom account
  11. Click Save at the bottom of the page

How do I start pre-assigned breakout rooms in a meeting?
Starting pre-assigned breakout rooms during a meeting.

Things to note:

How do I recover (revert to) the pre-assigned breakout rooms during a meeting?
After starting the breakout rooms, you can revert to pre-assigned breakout rooms you previously specified. This can be useful if you changed your breakout rooms during the meeting, or pre-assigned participants have joined the meeting after you joined the meeting or started breakout rooms. You can also choose to simply manually assign participants to their breakout room. 

Can the host use pre-assigned breakout rooms multiple times in a single meeting?
Yes, simply relaunch the breakout rooms in-meeting controls and open the breakout rooms. You may have to revert to pre-assigned breakout rooms if room assignments are missing.