Breakout Rooms Effectiveness Tested By Teachers Daily


Students interact in breakout rooms, separate from the main classroom where a teacher is able to supervise. Photo by David Galaviz

School completely shifting to online limits teachers from having complete control of their class. For Zoom to function as a virtual classroom, teachers rely heavily on the commitment of the students.

Digital Graphics Teacher Jasey Crowl said, “Breakout rooms aren’t perfect, and some classes need more assistance than others. It’s important to have distinct goals set for what is supposed to be accomplished in small groups and be clear about behavior expectations and how students can express any issues to the teacher.”

The closest thing students can get right now to working at a separate table within a group is joining a smaller version of the class. Breakout rooms are groups that can be randomly picked or chosen by the host. Maxing out at 50 people per room which is more than enough space to allow teachers to split up the class.

Once the rooms are generated, the host is given the ability to jump to and from rooms but leave the students completely alone with piers.

It can start to feel like a hassle and become awkward working in groups when everyone’s face is just blown up on the screen. The result is students moving their cameras to the ceiling or simply turning it off.

After fighting through uncomfortable silence, students have to struggle with sharing links to pretty much every assignment they have been assigned. Trying to remember whether the file was a Word File and then struggling to get it open on someone else’s computer can ruin a “fun” project.

In between rooms, host are not given a way of knowing what’s going on in the rooms they aren’t currently in.

Junior Natalia Camacho said, “I think it’s not easy for students to fake being in class because some teachers accuse students for not listening or being active on zoom.”

Faking being in class using a looped video, photo background, and applying filters to make the camera look blurry have gotten popular on social media platforms, especially Tik-Tok

These absurd antics aren’t the only things affecting teachers. Zoom bombing, where a person leaks or joins a classroom to bother the class, has gotten especially popular with people finding different ways to mess with the teachers.

Crowl says, “Luckily all my students are amazing, and I haven’t had any discipline issues yet, however, productivity during distance learning is a constant struggle. If I’m not seeing adequate amounts of work turned in I’ll often ask a student to talk during asynchronous time or office hours to see how we can help them get more work done.”