Facebook Pixel Blackboard Collaborate - Faculty | Western Kentucky University Skip to main content

Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning - Blackboard Collaborate - Faculty


Using Breakout Groups

(Note: Tutorial provided by Blackboard)

To facilitate small group collaboration, a Moderator can create space separate from the Blackboard Collaborate Main room and place session attendees into these breakout groups. In a group, participants experience a collaborative environment. They can use Collaborate's high quality video and audio. They can chat just in the group or send messages to the whole class. They can share files and collaborate on the whiteboard together. And if they are using Google Chrome they can also share applications.

The collaboration that takes place in a breakout space is independent of the Main room (and other breakout groups). When Participants enter in to a breakout group, they are assigned full presenter privileges in the space. Keep in mind also that breakout group activity is not captured in recordings.

Make sure to watch this Breakout Groups in Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra Experience to help you in understanding breakout rooms in Collaborate Ultra.

Creating Breakout Groups

Any attendee currently assigned the moderator role, can create and edit breakout groups. To start breakout groups:

  1. Open the Collaborate Panel.

  2. Click the Share Content icon to open the Share Content Panel.

  3. Select Breakout Groups. The Share Content Panel is replaced with one titled Breakout Groups.

You can create a breakout group by going to the share content tab from the collaborate panel and selecting breakout groups. 

 

Attendee Distribution

Collaborate provides two ways to assign attendees to group, custom assignment and randomly assign.

Custom Assignment

This assign groups option allows the moderator to drag and drop participants into groups or use the ellipsis menu next to an attendee’s name to assign them to a selected group.

If you’d like to allow participants to move between groups on their own, be sure to check the Allow participants to switch groups checkbox.

Once attendee distribution is complete, preview the groups and click the Start button to generate the distribution and start the groups.

Randomly Assign

To allow Collaborate to randomly distribute users to the available groups, select Randomly assign from the Assign Groups drop-down menu.

Collaborate will determine the number of possible groups based on the number of session attendees. A randomly assigned breakout group must have at least two participants. The Number of Groups drop-down menu allows the moderator to determine the number of desired groups from the possible breakdown. The current distribution is listed below this drop down menu.

To include moderators in the random distribution, be sure to select the Include moderators in group assignment checkbox.

To redistribute participants after they have been randomly assigned, click the Reassign participants option.

Just as with Custom Assignment distribution, if you’d like to allow participants to move between groups on their own, be sure to check the Allow participants to switch groups checkbox.

Once attendee distribution is complete, preview the groups and click the Start button to generate the distribution and start the groups.

Once the breakout group tab is opened, you can then assign groups.    You can also set the breakout groups to randomly assign the groups.

Understanding the Participants Panel

From the Participants panel, moderators can stop the use of Breakout Groups, choose to join any of the available groups, return to the main room, assign roles to users, and move group members to another group or back to the Main Room.

For Participants, this panel displays the users assigned to their current group. If the Allow participants to switch groups check box is enabled, participants can move between groups via the Participants Panel as well.

Notice in the screen capture we see here, Group 1 has been expanded to view its members and the moderator controls have been accessed for Jai. From here, we can access options that allow us to move participants between active groups. At any time after creation, you can send yourself or Participants and Moderators from the Main room to an existing breakout group, from a breakout group to the Main room, or from one breakout group to another.

Once the group is made, you can stop it, move participants, expand the group, etc.

Moving Participants Between Groups

After selecting the Move to another group option from the Moderator Controls for a user, the moderator is returned to the breakout groups panel. Collaborate offers Moderators a variety of ways in which to move participants.

Drag and Drop
You can also drag and drop attendees in diffferent groups.

  1. Open the Breakout Group Panel.
  2. Locate the user in their current room.
  3. Click and hold on attendee name and drag toe user to the new location. The new location will change color to indicate you can drop the attendee name to assign them to the group.

 

 

 

 

 

Direct SelectionYou can select an attendee and directly assign he or she to a group.

  1. Open the Breakout Group Panel.
  2. Locate the user in their current room.
  3. Click the ellipsis next to the attendee’s name and select the new location.

 

 

 

 

 

Add Participants IconYou can go to a group and hit the plus sign to add people as well.

  1. Open the Breakout Group Panel.
  2. Locate the group you want to move participants in to.
  3. Click the Add Participants icon to view a pop up list of attendee names.
  4. Select the name of the user you want to assign to the group or room. This option can be used to move everyone back to the main room at once. Simply select the Add Participants icon in the Main Room area and select the Move Everyone Here option located at the top of the attendee list.

 

 

 

Self-Select and/or Move Between GroupsYou can allow attendees in the groups to switch around too.

  1. Mark the Allow participants to switch groups check box.

 

 

 

 

When making changes to groups, it is important to remember to click the Update button, located at the bottom of the panel, to initiate the change.

End Breakout Groups

Any session moderator can end the use of breakout groups, automatically returning users to the main room. Collaborate offers several areas in which breakout groups can be ended, making it easy to access this feature regardless of where the moderator is at the time.

To end the use of breakout groups, select the Stop button from either the Share Content or the Participants Panel.

 To end breakout groups, you can go to the share content tab and hit the stop button.  You can also be inside the breakout tab and hit the stop button.

Keep in mind, returning all session attendees to the main room does NOT end the use of breakout groups. Any available groups will stay available for use again later in the session, a great option if you plan to use groups multiple times throughout your session!

 


 

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 11/12/19