Quick Setup Guide For Webex Breakout Rooms
Webex breakout rooms extend the features of Webex meetings and collaboration into dedicated groups away from large meetings.
Breakout rooms offer meeting participants the opportunity to meet in smaller groups away from the main session.
Attendees of virtual workshops or online classrooms can share ideas, collaborate on projects, and network using breakout rooms. They are also helpful when you need a moment to talk privately with a few participants outside of the main session.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to set up your first Webex breakout room.
- How to create a Webex breakout room
- Can I create breakout rooms in Webex before meeting with people?
- How to join breakout sessions in Webex
- Webex breakout rooms best practices
- Webex breakout rooms limitations
How to create a Webex breakout room
Here’s a quick walk-through to create breakout sessions during a Webex meeting.
Before you start here are three points to keep in mind:
- Only a host/cohost can create a breakout room.
- Only one host/cohost can have the ‘Breakout session assignment’ dialog box open.
- During webinars, attendees can choose the breakout session they want to join.
- Attendees cannot be assigned to breakout sessions in webinars.
To create breakout sessions when a meeting is in progress:
- Click on the three dots (more options) and then select ‘Enable Breakout Sessions.’
- After enabling breakout sessions, you can choose the number of available rooms. The following options will appear to assign participants to a session:
- Assign participants automatically.
- Assign participants manually.
- Let participants choose any session.
- Next, click on ‘Create Assignments.’
- A ‘Breakout Session Assignments’ window will appear. If you have assigned participants automatically, you will see an overview of how they will be distributed.
- If you chose to distribute participants manually, click on the checkbox next to the name of each participant. Then click ‘Move to Session’ and choose the desired session from the dropdown menu.
- Click on ‘Start Breakout Session’ to get the breakout rooms going.
- The ‘Settings’ button allows the host or cohost to set the following options:
- Allow attendees to return to the main meeting.
- Allow attendees to join the session later.
- Automatically end breakout sessions after set minutes.
- When sessions end, give participants more time before returning to the main meeting. Set countdown timer to desired seconds.
- By default, breakout sessions are named Breakout Session 1, Breakout Session 2, and so on. You can change the name of breakout sessions by clicking ‘Rename.’
You can access Settings by clicking on ‘Breakout sessions’ in the controls bar if you want to create breakout rooms later in the meeting.
How do I assign participants to breakout sessions in Webex?
When you enable breakout sessions, you’ll have three options to distribute participants:
- Assign participants automatically: This option automatically splits the meeting participants up evenly. For example, if there are 20 participants and 4 breakout rooms, Webex will assign 5 participants to each breakout room.
- Assign participants manually: By choosing this option, you will have to assign participants to each breakout session manually.
- Let participants choose any session: This option lets participants choose the breakout session they want to join.
You may want to assign participants to specific breakout sessions later during the meeting or after all participants have joined. There are two ways you can do so manually.
Manually assign participants to breakout sessions
You can distribute participants manually by clicking on the checkbox next to the participant’s name. Then, click ‘Move to Session’ and choose the name of the desired session.
Hover your mouse next to a session listed in the right-hand column of the ‘Breakout Session Assignments’ window. Then click on ‘Assign’ to reveal the names of the participants. Click on the checkbox next to the name(s) to add each participant(s) to the breakout room.
You can also click on ‘Reset’ at the bottom of the ‘Breakout Session Assignments’ window. This allows Webex to automatically assign users or lets users choose the breakout session they want to attend.
Can you share your screen in Webex breakout rooms?
Within a breakout session, tools like chat and content sharing work the same as in the main session.
Only members of the breakout room can see what is being shared. You can also share information from documents, whiteboards, applications, and the web.
Here is how you can share content inside breakout rooms:
- Click on ‘Share’ at the bottom of the screen.
- You will see a window with a list of open programs that can be shared.
- In the drop-down menu, you will see three options to optimize your content:
- Automatically optimize.
- Optimize for text and images.
- Optimize for motion and video.
- To share a video with audio from your computer, click the ‘Share computer audio’ checkbox. To share your video via webcam along with your presentation, click on the ‘Show me in front of presentation’ checkbox.
- Once you share the application or your screen, a small orange bar (You’re sharing your screen) will appear.
- Hovering over the orange bar expands the menu to reveal available options.
- To end the presentation, click ‘Stop Sharing’.
Can I create breakout rooms in Webex before meetings with people?
Already have a list of participants and want to save time by creating breakout rooms in advance?
Here’s how you can do it:
- Enter your credentials and login to your Webex account. Click on ‘Schedule a meeting.’
- Fill in the ’Meeting topic’ box. Next, add the email IDs of participants using the ‘Invitees’ box.
- Scroll down and click on ‘Advanced options.’
- Click on the checkbox next to ‘Enable breakout sessions.’
- Click on ‘Preassign breakout sessions’ to bring up the ‘Create breakout sessions’ dialog box.
- You can choose to auto-assign participants to breakout sessions or add participants manually. Click ‘Next’ to see participant assignments. Then click on ’Create’ to save.
- You can import a list of participants by clicking ‘Import from CSV file.’
- To do this, download the CSV template. Populate the template.csv file using the format specified. Now you’re ready to upload your file.
How to join breakout sessions in Webex
If you’re not creating the breakout session, follow these instructions to join a Webex breakout room.
Options for attendees to join a breakout room depend on how the host or cohost has configured the session.
If an attendee is assigned to a breakout session, they can join it manually or automatically after the session starts. Alternatively, the host or cohost can allow anyone to join any breakout session.
If you’re the host or cohost, you can join any breakout session.
If the host has selected automatic assignment, you will be notified that ‘Breakout sessions have started.’ You have the option to join now or later. Click ‘Join now’ to enter the breakout room.
If you decide to join later, click ‘Join’ from the Participants panel.
If the host or cohost decides that participants can join any breakout session, go to the Participants panel. Click ‘Show all breakout sessions.’ Then click ‘Join’ next to the desired session.
Webex breakout rooms best practices
These Webex breakout room best practices will familiarize you with available features. Read on to level up your participation and make the most out of any breakout session.
On joining the breakout session, the Participants panel on the right provides a list of attendees and the time elapsed since the start of the session.
Use the ‘Ask for help’ option if you need to ask the host a question.
Start or stop sharing your video and mute or unmute yourself by using the buttons at the bottom of the panel.
If your host or cohost wants you to return to the main meeting, they can send you a broadcast message.
Once the breakout session timer runs out, you’ll see the message below.
To help hosts or cohosts run breakout room sessions smoothly, here are a few tips:
- Share clear instructions before each breakout session.
- Consider beginning with an icebreaker.
- Participants new to breakout rooms often have difficulty joining. This is especially true if they drop out after sessions have been allocated. For ease, temporarily make the participant an alternate host. This allows you to guide them into the right room while explaining the steps to join. Once the activity has finished, change their role back to a participant.
Webex breakout rooms limitations
Here are some issues and feature limitations for Webex breakout rooms that you should be aware of:
- Webex supports up to 100 breakout sessions and up to 100 participants per session. You are limited to a maximum of 1000 participants total.
- End-to-end encryption of meetings isn’t currently supported (as of June 2022).
- Only one assignment dialog box can be opened at a time by either the host or cohost.
- If the audio connection type for a meeting is ‘Use VoIP only’ and the site administrator hasn’t enabled the ‘Collaboration Meeting Room’ option for the host, ‘Breakout sessions’ will be unavailable in the meeting controls.
- If participants join a meeting before breakout rooms are created, Webex can move participants into sessions automatically. If participants join after the creation of breakout sessions, the host/cohost has to move them manually.
- If network connection issues cause a participant to disconnect, they will return to the main menu upon rejoining.
As of June 2022, the following features aren’t supported while participating in a breakout session:
- People Insights profile and the notes taker role.
- Webex Assistant for Meetings.
- Closed captioning.
- Recording of breakout sessions.
- Sharing a file using the ‘Open and share’ option.
- Sharing iPhone or iPad screens.
- Annotation and Whiteboard on Windows and Mac.
- Remote control.
- Live streaming.
- The option to save chats.
As Webex continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it won’t be too long before these features and limitations become available.
Read about the innovation at Webex: The New Webex App With Abhay Kulkarni