Carnegie Mellon University

Breakout Rooms in Zoom

Breakout Rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting into separate sessions. You are able to split the participants of the meeting automatically or manually, and can switch between sessions at any time. Up to 50 breakout rooms can be created, all with full audio, video, and screen share capabilities. If the meeting is being cloud recorded, it will only record the main room, regardless of what room the meeting host is in. If local recording is being used, it will record the room the participant who is recording is in.

Note from Zoom: Users joined into the Zoom meeting from the Zoom Desktop Client, Zoom Mobile App, or H.323/SIP devices can participate in breakout rooms. Users joined via the web client and Zoom Rooms are unable to join Breakout Rooms, but the main room can be used as an alternative session for these users.

When using Zoom for your distance class sessions, you will:

  1. Confirm/enable Zoom in your account settings.
  2. Create breakout rooms during your meeting.
  3. Setting options for breakout rooms.
  4. Manage breakout rooms in progress. 
  1. Confirm/enable Zoom in your account settings
  1. Visit and click on the “Sign In” button.

    Zoom User Interface
  1. Click on your Settings

    Zoom User Interface
  2. Under the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section, find the Breakout room item. This will be turned on by default. Under this setting you will also have the option to pre-assign participants to breakout rooms.

    Zoom User Interface
Note: toggling any item under the Settings menu will update your settings automatically; there is no save button.

2. Create breakout rooms during your meeting.

  1. When you are ready, click on the breakout rooms icon.

    Zoom User Interface
  1. From the pop-up that appears, select the number of rooms that you would like to create, as well as how you would like to assign participants.

    Zoom User Interface
  • Automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms
  • Manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room
  1. Click Create Breakout Rooms
  2. Your rooms will be created, but they will not start automatically.
  1. Setting options for breakout rooms.
  1. After the breakout rooms have been created, click options to view additional options.

    Zoom User Interface
  • Move all participants into breakout rooms automatically: if this option is left unchecked, participants will need to click “Join” to be added to the breakout room.
  • Allow participants to return to the main session at any time: if this option is left unchecked, students will have to wait for the host to end the breakout rooms to move back to the main room.
  • Breakout rooms close automatically after x minutes: after the set time has elapsed, the breakout rooms will close and students will be brought back to the main room.
  • Countdown after closing breakout room: If this option is checked, students will be given a countdown of how much time they have left before being returned to the main room.
  1. If you are assigning to participants to breakout rooms manually, 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.
  • You also have the option to rename or delete individual breakout rooms.

    Zoom User Interface
  1. Once a student has been assigned, the number of participants will show in place of the “Assign” button.

    Zoom User Interface
  2. You also have the following options:
  • Move To: select a room to move the student to.
  • Exchange: select a student in another room to swap the selected student with.
  1. When your breakout rooms have been created, click the “Open All Rooms” button.

    Zoom User Interface
  1. Manage breakout rooms in progress.
  1. Once the Breakout Rooms have been started, the host will stay in the main meeting until joining a session manually. If a participant has not joined the session yet, it will be noted by (not joined) next to their name.

    Zoom User Interface
  1. Clicking Join next to a breakout room will bring you to that room’s session.

     Zoom User Interface
  2. Once in a breakout room, you can click the Leave button to be brought back to the main meeting (only shows when in a breakout room).

    Zoom User Interface
  3. You have two additional options at the bottom of the breakout room menu:

    Zoom User Interface
  1. Broadcast a message to all: broadcast a message to all breakout rooms to share information with everyone.
  2. Close All Rooms: Stops all rooms after a 60 second countdown, shown to the host and participants, and returns all participants back to the main meeting. 

Participating in breakout rooms