Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Setting up Breakout Groups

This article explains how to set up breakout groups in a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Session

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - Setting Up Breakout Groups 

Note: Google Chrome is the recommended browser for use with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

As part of a session you may want to divide participants into small groups for discussions or other group work. It is easy to divide participants into breakout groups using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. When participants are in breakout groups they only receive audio and video from other participants in the same breakout group. 

Things to consider when using a breakout group: 
  • Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate using the shared whiteboard option, but they will not be able to share that information back to the Main Room.  The instructor will need to take a screenshot of that information, save it as an image and then upload it to the Shared Files within the Main Room.  
  • Make a leader a Presenter so they can share their group's work in the Main Room by uploading a screenshot of their whiteboard. 

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra-Setting up Breakout Groups 

Collaborate Panel

Open the Collaborate Panel by going to the lower right-hand corner of your screen and clicking on the purple button with the double arrowhead in it.

Button that opens Collaborare Panel

Once the Collaborate Panel opens, click on the Share Content tab.

Collaborate panel toolbar with Share Content tab highlighted

Breakout Room Tabs

When the Share Content panel opens, click on the Breakout Groups tab.

When the Breakout Groups panel opens, participants will still be in the Main Room and there will only be two breakout groups ready.

Share content tab with Breakout Rooms highlighted

Assigning Participants

Open the dropdown menu in the Assign Groups area and choose the option that best suits your needs. 
Custom assignment:  Choose which participants will go into which breakout group. 
Randomly assign: participants will go into the groups randomly without you choosing.

Assign groups area with custom assignment highlighted
There is a box below the dropdown menu that you can check if you want participants to be able to switch groups. If you do not want them to be able to switch groups, do not check the box.

Check box to allow participants to switch groups

Custom Assignments Options:

One way to move a participant to a breakout group is to click on the three dots to the right of their name and then choose the breakout group from the list that pops up.

List of participants with three dots highlighted by one name

Another way to move participants to a breakout group is to click and drag their name to the appropriate group. As soon as you start clicking and dragging a name, the list of breakout group choices will appear. When the breakout group you want to put them in highlights, release and they will be put in that group.

Example of moving a participant to a breakout group by clicking and dragging

Randomly Assign Options:

As soon as you choose Randomly assign in the dropdown menu, participants will automatically be moved to breakout groups. 

You can also include yourself and other moderators in the groupings by checking the box labeled, Include moderators in group assignment. 

Number of Breakout Rooms

Choose a different number from the dropdown menu in the Number of Groups area. When you change the number, the description below will change to tell you how the participants will be grouped. 

Reassign Participants

If you do not like the way the participants have been assigned, you can click the Reassign participants button.  

You can also move participants to different groups by clicking and dragging them or by clicking on the three dots to the right of their names.

randomly assign paticipants to breakout groups

Managing Breakout Rooms

Naming Breakout Room

Click on the name of the breakout room and type in a new name. 

Deleting a Breakout Room

Click on the trash can button to the right of the group name. Any participants in the breakout group you delete will be transferred back to the Main Room automatically.

breakout group with arrows showing where to click to rename or delete group

Add a New Breakout Room

Create a new breakout group by clicking on the plus sign (+) in the circle centered over the area with the name and the trash can button.

button to click to create a new group with an arrow pointing to it


As the Moderator, you can assign yourself to the Main Group or any breakout groups that have been created. 

  • Click on the three dots to the right of your name and choose the breakout group from the list that opens.  
  • You can also click and drag your name to the breakout group of your choosing.

Moderator with list of current groups
Once you have everything set the way you want it, click on the Start button at the bottom of the panel. Clicking the Start button will enable participants to start interacting in their assigned breakout groups.

start button

Active Breakout Rooms

After you click the Start button, you will see a different view of the breakout groups. 

Viewing Participants

You can see the participants in any breakout group by clicking on the down-pointing arrowhead at the far right of the group listing.

Joining a Breakout Group: 

Click on the button that looks like a door with an arrow on it.

Ending the Breakout Groups

Click the square in the circle at the top to end the breakout groups. Doing this will automatically return everyone to the Main Room area.

View of active breakout groups
You can also go back to the Share Content tab and click on the square in the circle next to Breakout Groups to end the breakout groups.

breakout group with arrow pointing to stop button

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Although the audio and video automatically split and reconnect when you and participants move to different groups, it can take a few seconds for them to sync up. You might need to wait a little before speaking.
  • As the moderator, you should try to spend an equal amount of time in each breakout group if you are going to move between them during the breakout time.
  • When you give participants a set amount of time to work in the breakout groups, you should set a Timer (found under the Share Content tab) to remind them of how much time they have left if you enter their breakout groups. Please note: do not end the breakout groups before you have collected and saved the breakout group's content to your desktop and/or your main room.  
  • Breakout groups are not included in the recording, so to capture the ideas generated within those small groups, facilitate a share out or whole group discussion at the end of the breakout group exercise. 
If you would like training or assistance with Collaborate Ultra, please contact Learning Technology Services (LTS).

Keywords:blackboard collaborate ultra, collaborate ultra, collaborate ultra breakout, breakout rooms, ultra breakout, blackboard collaborate ultra tutorial, collaborate ultra tutorial, collaborate tutorial, ultra tutorial   Doc ID:67262
Owner:Emily L.Group:UW Stout
Created:2016-09-27 08:49 CDTUpdated:2020-12-15 16:42 CDT
Sites:UW Stout, UW System Administration DLE
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