Tutorials to Help You Increase Interactivity, Engagement, and Quality of Online Didactics
Setting Up a New Zoom Meeting
Using Breakout Rooms
Breakout Rooms are very effective educational tools because they allow for small group work and peer-to-peer instruction, even when the learners are scattered across many physical locations. In addition, learners can easily be moved to different Breakout Rooms in seconds, whereas allowing learners time to physically move between rooms would take time away from the educational activities.
In Zoom, only hosts have the ability to assign participants to Breakout Rooms, as well as to open and close the Breakout Rooms. Depending on the host's settings, participants may be able to select the Breakout Room they would like to join, enter the Breakout Room at will, and leave the Breakout Room at anytime. Alternatively, hosts can determine which Breakout room each participant is assigned, and exactly when each participant enters and exits each Breakout Room.
Once in a Breakout Room, participants will be equipped with the same features as were available in the main meeting room, including, for example, screen sharing and chat. Participants in one Breakout Room are not able to see or hear what is happening in another Breakout Room.
Example 1: Dr. Toscano and Dr. Dom are co-facilitating a day-long "Introduction to Obstetrics" session to orient new 3rd year clerkship students to Labor and Delivery. Due to the Covid pandemic, the day must be conducted via distance learning. In order to break the day up into manageable chunks, generate greater interest among learners, and leverage the power of peer-to-peer teaching for knowledge construction, Dr. Toscano creates several Breakout Rooms, each representing a different medical specialty. She then allows participants to select the specialty that most interests them at this stage in their career. Prior to opening the Breakout Rooms, Dr. Toscano directs the group to a series of Google forms, one for each specialty, and instructs the learners to work their way through the relevant Google form together once in their Breakout Rooms. Each Google form provides a structured, low-stakes, low-fidelity simulation experience, wherein the students must care for a patient who is presenting with bleeding in pregnancy (Example Form). Though the patient cases share a clinical topic, the settings and specifics vary in accordance with the specialty chosen. After a pre-determined amount of time in Breakout Rooms (20 min), the groups all return to the main meeting room. There, each group briefly describes their case and clinical reasoning, while Dr. Toscano provides corrections and additional information.