Zoom Breakout Rooms Tips & Ideas

The following is a guest post by Alex Bukeeva, an instructional design intern at Touro College. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

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With all the amazing features of Zoom that help us educate our students remotely, Breakout Rooms are particularly noteworthy. This Zoom feature allows the host to put people into small groups for discussions or collaborative projects.

There is no doubt that group work activities are important in a classroom – they ensure students’ engagement, increase understanding through discussions, and help plan and manage time, just to name a few benefits. In an online learning setting, Zoom Breakout Rooms are extremely helpful.

If you have never used a Breakout Room in your Zoom classroom, watch this tutorial to learn more.

Below are five tips that will help you use Zoom Breakout Rooms efficiently

1.Three W’s 

Let your students be aware of what is going on – many of them may not know what a Breakout Room is, especially in the beginning of their online studies.

Use these 3 W’s:

  • Explain WHAT Breakout Rooms are
  • Tell them WHY you will use them during the semester (benefits of them)
  • Explain WHEN or how often you plan on using Breakout Rooms.

2. Let Them Choose

When starting a Breakout Room, you, as a host, assign participants to their groups. But sometimes (you decide how often), allow your students to choose groups or switch groups. Allowing students to self-select their breakout rooms is a feature you can easily turn on in Zoom settings. This will make your instruction less teacher-centered, enhance students’ confidence and promote their commitment to the group success. 

3. Help!

During a Breakout Room session, group members may need help from you. Let your students know about the “Ask for Help” button) and be there for them when they need assistance.

4. Pay a Visit

As the Zoom host and class instructor, you can virtually visit groups during their meetings. When you hop into breakout rooms, you can participate in their discussion, offer your advice, or simply observe – all these will show that you are involved in the activity as much as they are.

5. Ideas are Welcome

Get feedback about Breakout Rooms group work from your students. They will share their concerns or ideas – and this will help you make your class activities more successful.

As teachers continue to innovate with remote learning, one of the most important elements to keep in mind is giving students the opportunity to interact with their fellow classmates. While your students may be outside of a physical classroom, breakout rooms are an essential way for students to forge the social connections that are the key to a positive learning experience.

Alex Bukeeva

Alex Bukeeva currently teaches ESL to adult students. She is pursuing her MS in Instructional Design Degree at Touro Graduate School of Technology and practicing her new skills and knowledge as an intern for the Instructional Design team at Touro School of Online Education. She enjoys working with technology and likes to explore and implement new ways of helping students and instructors in achieving better results in their eLearning.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

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