Managing Pre-Assigned Breakout Rooms

Missouri Online strongly recommends that you avoid pre-assigning breakout rooms whenever possible and instead assign participants to the rooms during the meeting. If you would like to use this feature, we recommend Importing Canvas Groups into breakout rooms. 

What are Zoom breakout rooms?

  • Breakout rooms allow you to divide up participants in a Zoom meeting, allowing them to have group discussions and then return back to the main room

How do pre-assigned breakout rooms work?

If you are setting up a Zoom Meeting ahead of time, you can have the participants be assigned to specific breakout rooms. 

Should I use pre-assigned breakout rooms?

Pre-assigning breakout rooms is possible, but is very confusing and challenging to get right. Therefore, it is a tool that only advanced Zoom users should attempt. We strongly recommend that you avoid pre-assigning breakout rooms whenever possible and instead assign participants to the rooms during the meeting.

However, if you MUST pre-assign breakout rooms, here are some tips (these tips assume advanced knowledge of Zoom):

  1. Pre-assign University of Missouri users by using their Zoom account email address. Users can login to and click on profile to determine which email address their Zoom account uses.
  2. In order for pre-assigning breakout rooms to work, the email address you used to pre-assign someone to a room MUST match the email address they use to join your meeting. Therefore, it is REQUIRED for pre-assigned breakout rooms that you use Registration and/or Only authenticated users may join because these are the only ways to connect a participant to an email address.
    • If using Registration, inform participants of the email you expect them to use to register; for example, if all participants are University of Missouri users, instruct them to sign in to their Zoom client before joining your meeting.
    • If using Registration on a recurring meeting, you must select Attendees need to register for each occurrence to attend.

    • If using Only authenticated users may join, encourage participants to join with their University of Missouri Zoom account and provide instructions on joining if they see a message about authorized attendees.

  3. Only people with Zoom accounts can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms.
  4. The only way to pre-assign members from a different Zoom account is to use the Upload a CSV option. If using this option, the CSV MUST be uploaded as you are creating the meeting. The CSV may not save if you attempt to add it later.
    • If you are having a meeting with both regular Zoom AND Protected Zoom users, use this option.
    • Have someone with a Teacher role in the course download the Canvas gradebook to get the list of users to copy/paste in the CSV.

  5. Expect some participants to end up in the wrong rooms. Ensure that you as the host are prepared to adjust assignments, or pass the host role to someone else to allow them to adjust the assignments (the host role can be passed back or reclaimed once this is done).
  6. No more than 200 participants can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms, regardless of the capacity of the meeting.

  7. If someone joins the meeting while the breakout rooms are in session, even if the person was pre-assigned, they won't be sent into a breakout room and will be sitting in the main session. To mitigate this, create one fewer breakout rooms than you intend to use and leave some participants unassigned so that the main session is effectively one of the breakout rooms. That way, someone is there if a person joins late.
  8. Refer to Pre-assigning participants to breakout rooms Zoom Help Center article for in-depth instructions.

Import Canvas student groups into breakout rooms

Instead of using Zoom's pre-assigned breakout rooms, consider importing student groups from Canvas into Zoom breakout rooms.
Note: You must create your groups and add students prior to importing them into Zoom.

  1. Navigate to your course in Canvas.
  2. Select Zoom from the course navigation menu.
  3. Select Schedule a New Meeting.
  4. Enable Breakout Room pre-assign.
  5. Select Import Course Groups. The course groups will automatically be added as breakout rooms.


  • Students can not access the Import Course Groups feature.
  • If you delete a user from the group after the breakout room assignment has been completed, the user will still be assigned to the room. However, when you click Import Course Groups next time, it will reflect the most current course groups.
  • When importing groups that exceed the 100 breakout room limit, only the number of breakout rooms allowed will be imported.

Modified on: Tue, Oct 31, 2023 at 8:20 AM

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