The VCU Zoom Blog

Announcements, Alerts, Tips and Pointers

One of the more helpful tools in Zoom, “Breakout Rooms” allows hosts to divide participants into smaller groups for discussion and collaboration, then return them to the “main” meeting when those discussions conclude.

By default, Zoom will randomly choose which participants are assigned to each Breakout Room, but as host, you do have the ability to manually assign them to the room you want. A great guide for using this feature is provided at the Zoom Knowledge Base.

But what if you want to assign users to specific Breakout Rooms ahead of time? This is possible as well, as explained at the Knowledge Base. The catch is that you have to first enable this power in your account settings. Log in at the VCU portal and go to “Settings > Meeting > In Meeting (Advanced) to find this control:

Then, when you’re scheduling your meeting, you’ll see “Breakout Room pre-assign” added to your list of options.

Activate this to create your Breakout Rooms and assign participants based on their e-mail addresses. Note that for this to work, your participants need to have a Zoom account, and they’ll need to join the meeting using the account.

If you choose to “enable join before Host,” any participant who joins the meeting before you will be automatically placed into their assigned Breakout Room. If you arrive first, participants will begin the meeting in the “main” room before you elect to send them to the Breakouts as pre-assigned.

As always, keep in mind a few important conditions related to Breakout Rooms in general:

  • Users joined into the Zoom 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.
  • Cloud Recordings will only include what happens in the main room. If you assign recording privileges to co-hosts or participants in the breakout rooms, they can use “local recording” to save to their computers.
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