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Breakout groups in Blackboard Collaborate

In an online session via Blackboard Collaborate, breakout groups create small groups of participants independent from the main room with everyone together. This function allows the participants to interact, collaborate on documents, or simply discuss with each other. Both students and instructors could be part of a breakout group which has its own audio, video, whiteboard, application sharing and chat (but doesn’t get recorded in the ‘'main’' recording). Please note that breakout groups are only available with 250 or fewer attendees.

How to create breakout groups?

Breakout groups could be created using the following steps:

  1. Open the Collaborate Panel (1), navigate the Share Content (2) and click on Breakout Groups (3).

  2. Select either Random Assignment or Custom Assignment

    1. Random Assignment: Groups will be created for you in which the participant will be randomly assigned. Note that Random Assignment is only available if there are four or more people in the room.

    2. Custom Assignment: Create the groups and divide the students yourself. Move a participant by clicking on the attendee’s options and choosing a group or by dragging them into a group. Select Create a new Group to add more groups. Keep an attendee in the main room to not divide him/her to a group. Note that you can create up to 20 groups with no capacity limit per group.

  3. Click on Start in order to create the breakout groups.

Settings within breakout groups

Settings for Random Assignment:

  • Select Include moderator in group assignment in order to include the moderator (i.e. yourself) in a group.

  • You are able to change how many participants are in each group and the total number of groups.

  • Groups could be divided again by clicking on Reassign attendees.

Furthermore, optionally you are able to allow the attendees to switch groups by selecting Allow attendees to switch groups.

Share files to breakout groups

You can share files to the breakout groups of your choice by following the following steps:

  1. Select Share Files in the Share Content tab in the Control Panel.

  2. Add a file to the Main Room Files by clicking on the button Add Files.

  3. At the corresponding file, click at the options and choose for Share with Groups.

  4. Select the groups you want to share the file with and click on Share Now.

How to share files in breakout groups (Source:

Manage breakout groups

Join a breakout group as a moderator

In the Control Panel, click on Attendees. Click on the enter-icon of the corresponding to the group you want to join in order to participate to this breakout group. You are now as well able to share audio, video, content sharing and chat.

Move attendees to another breakout group

Attendees of a group could be moved to other groups using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to Attendees in the Control Panel.

  2. Click on the option-button at the concerning participant.

  3. Choose for Move to Another Group.

  4. Drag the attendee to the concerned group.

  5. Click on Update.

Note that if another moderator makes changes before you select on Update, your changes will be lost.

End breakout groups

If breakout groups are ended, every attendee will go back to the main room. Ending the breakout groups could be done in two ways:

  1. In the Control Panel, click on Attendees. End the breakout groups by clicking on the stop-icon (square) in the top right corner.

  2. In the Control Panel, click on Share Content. Here, click on the stop-icon (square) next to the button Breakout Groups.

Save files that are shared in breakout groups

You can save files that attendees have shared in breakout groups in order to use it later on. You could do this after ending the breakout groups and before leaving the session by using the following steps:

  1. Select Share Files in the Control Panel.

  2. Open the concerned group folder.

  3. Click on the File Options of the file you want to save.

  4. Choose for Move to main room files.

  5. Now, the file is moved to the main room and is ready to be used.

How to save files that are shared in a breakout group (Source:

Whom to contact?

Contact EDU Support or your faculty's Embedded Expert from ESI for tailored didactic advice in using these suggestions in your teaching. For technical assistance please contact Nestorsupport.

Last modified: 22 December 10:30 AM
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