Creating Breakout Rooms on Zoom

Breakout rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting in up to 50 separate sessions. The meeting host can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, or they can allow participants to select and enter breakout sessions as they please. The host can switch between sessions at any time. 

1. Settings: make sure you enable breakout rooms in your settings. 

Sign into your UCalgary zoom account using Sign in with your UCID and password. 

On the left-hand pane, click on Settings and then click on In Meeting (Advanced) 

Ensure the Breakout room option is turned on and the Allow host to assign participants to breakout rooms when scheduling box is checked.  

2. Using Breakout rooms 

Launch Breakout Rooms from the host controls during a meeting.  


Click on Open All Rooms to send all students to their pre-assigned breakout rooms (if used). 

a. Take note of the following when using breakout rooms: 

  • If a participant joins after you started the breakout rooms, they won’t be pre-assigned to the breakout room you specified when scheduling the meeting. 
  • If a participant is in their pre-assigned breakout room and they leave the meeting and rejoin, they won’t rejoin their pre-assigned breakout room. 
  • You can manually assign participants using the in-meeting breakout room controls.  

b. If breakout rooms have not been pre-assigned, used the instructions below. 

  1. Click breakout rooms. 

2. Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms: 

  • Automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms. 
  • Manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room. 

3. Click Create breakout rooms. Pic 5 

Your rooms will be created, but will not start automatically. You can manage the rooms prior to starting them by following the instructions below. 

3. Options for Breakout rooms  

a. Click Options to view additional break out room options. 

 Check any options that you would like to use for your breakout rooms. 

  • Move all participants into breakout rooms automatically: Checking this option will move all participants into the breakout rooms automatically. If this option is unchecked, the 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 checked, the participants can move back to the main session from their meeting controls. If this is disabled, they need to wait for the host to end the breakout rooms. 
  • Breakout rooms close automatically after x minutes: If this option is checked, the breakout rooms will automatically end after the configured time. 
  • Notify me when the time is up: If this option is checked, the host will be notified when the breakout room time is up. 
  • Countdown after closing breakout rooms: If this option is checked, the participants will be given a countdown of how much time they have left before being returned to the main room. 

a. Assigning participants to rooms To assign participants to your rooms, 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. 


b. Preparing breakout rooms After manually or automatically assigning participants to rooms, you can rearrange the participants. Participants who are not assigned to breakout sessions will remain in the main meeting when the rooms are started. 

  • Move to (participant): Select a room to move a participant to 

  • Exchange (participant): Select a participant in another room to swap the selected participant with 

  • Delete Room: Delete the selected room. 
  • Recreate: Deletes existing breakout rooms and creates new ones. 
  • Add a Room: Add another breakout room. 
  • Open All Rooms: Start the rooms. All participants will be moved to their respective rooms after confirming the prompt to join the breakout room. The host will be left in the main meeting until manually joining one of the rooms. The participants (and the host when manually joining a room) will see the following message shown when joining the breakout room. 

c. Managing breakout rooms in progress Once the breakout rooms have been started, the participants will be asked to join the Breakout Session. 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.  

  • Join: Join the breakout room. 
  • Leave: Leave the room and return to the main meeting (only shows when in a breakout room). 
  • 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.  

d. Responding to requests for help Participants in breakout rooms can request that the meeting host join their meeting by clicking Ask for Help. You will be prompted to join the room where the request originated from. Click Join breakout room to join the room.  Pic 12 

e. Broadcasting a message to all breakout rooms The host can broadcast a message to all breakout rooms to share information with all participants. 

  1. Click breakout rooms in the meeting controls. 
  2. Click Broadcast a message to all, enter your message and click Broadcast. The message will now appear for all participants in Breakout Rooms.