How do I use Breakout Rooms in Zoom?

Zoom allows you to split your students into separate breakout rooms  for small group projects and discussions, but this feature is disabled  by default. To enable it, log in to and turn on the Breakout room option in the In Meeting (Advanced) section. You only need to do this once.

Once you have enabled breakout rooms in your Zoom account, you can either pre-assign students to breakout rooms before class begins or manually create breakout rooms and assign students to them during class. Users who have downloaded the latest version of the Zoom app can also use the self-assigned breakout room feature.

Zooms Managing Video Breakout Rooms  guide will show you how to create breakout rooms, assign students to  rooms, manage breakout rooms, broadcast a message to your breakout  rooms, and end a breakout room session.

The host in the main meeting will only receive the main recording -  they must assign co-hosts to record each breakout room if they wish.  Once in the rooms, the co-hosts can then start the recording of those  sessions (there is no choice of cloud or local - the recording defaults  to local). When the meeting ends, the breakout session recordings will  save locally to each co-hosts machine, accessible via their Zoom app or  directly in their file system. Participants joining the meeting from a  mobile device cannot record meetings. The host in the main meeting will  still receive the main recording, in the cloud or locally, as chosen.

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 via the web client, 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.

For very large classes there are limitations to break out rooms that you can read about here:  limitations of break out rooms


Determine what breakout room set up best fits your small group activity.

You have a few options on how to structure your small group meetings on Zoom. 

1: Assign students to breakout rooms in the zoom meeting itself.
You can do this manually (one at a time) or automatically (random assignment). This is fast and easy for courses that are small enough for the instructor to individually assign the groups on the fly or where randomly assigned groups is just fine. If you can assign students in the meeting, it is recommended that you do so. Link to instructions: Managing break out rooms

2: Have small group facilitators create links to their individual zoom rooms. 
This is easy for each facilitator, but may not be appropriate if you don't have enough facilitators, or if you want to come together as a whole class at the start or end of your session.

3: Allow students to self-select their Breakout rooms.
Once your participants have entered the room you can allow them to select the room they want / should be in. The downside to this option is that all participants must have the latest version of the Zoom app installed on their device. The update that included self-assign break-out rooms was released on September 28th, 2020. Read more: For Hosts: Zoom Meetings with Self-Assigned Breakout Rooms


4: Pre-Assigned break out rooms for Members of the Tufts community. 
If everyone in your meeting has a tufts user name and password you can set up your room to require the use of the Tufts username and password. This will ensure that they can be properly identified by the system and assigned the correct break out rooms. Read more on Creating a Pre-assigned break out rooms (Tufts participants only) 

5: Pre-Assigned break out rooms that include non-tufts participants.
For small classes, this option is the most work upfront and the most work when you want to send the students to break out rooms. For large classes, that can not use the options above, this is will help set up your break out rooms, but will not alleviate the need for the host to manually assign some participants. . Read more on Creating a Pre-assigned break out rooms (Tufts and Non-Tufts participants)