How Do I Create a Breakout Room? (Moderators Only)

BigBlueButton (BBB) provides you with the option to create side rooms – so-called breakout rooms – for different groups of participants. Within an ongoing BBB meeting, such a breakout room can be used for group work or a group discussion.

NOTE: This article is intended for participants with moderator rights in BBB. For more information for participants without moderator rights, please see the following article: How Do I Enter Breakout Rooms?

Creating Breakout Rooms

To add a new breakout room, click the gear icon in the user list on the left. Select the Create breakout rooms option from the menu (see fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Setting the Number of Breakout Rooms

You may create up to 16 breakout rooms in BBB to which you can assign your meeting’s participants. Use the Number of rooms selection box to select the number of breakout rooms you want to create (see fig. 2).

Fig. 2

Setting the Breakout Session Duration

Use the Duration (minutes) input field to set the time particpants will be able to spend in the breakout room (see fig. 3).

Fig. 3

The remaining time will appear in a blue bar at the top of the browser window (see fig. 4), visible for all participants. When the time is up, all participants are automatically brought back to the main room of the BBB meeting.

Fig. 4

It is not possible to extend a breakout session’s duration once it’s been set. You may, however, manually close the breakout rooms before the time is up and bring participants back to the main room. We therefore recommend to set the duration time more generously and, if necessary, end a breakout session early (see fig. 5). When setting the duration, add a buffer period and inform the participants about both the available meeting time as well as the buffer time.

Fig. 5

Assigning Participants to Breakout Rooms

You have three options for assigning participants to separate breakout rooms (see fig. 6):

  1. Allow participants to choose a breakout room.
  2. Use the Randomly assign option to let BBB assign participants at random.
  3. Manually assign participants by using the drag & drop feature.

Fig. 6

NOTE: If the participants are assigned randomly, participants who arrive later in the main room or participants who have been kicked out for reasons are no longer automatically assigned and have no way of getting back to the group rooms. For those cases it is recommended to have a responsible contact person in the main room who has the rights to assign the participants to the group rooms.

Opening Breakout Rooms

Once participants have been assigned to different breakout rooms or they have chosen a breakout room themselves (see fig. 6), you can open the rooms by clicking the Create button. The rooms will now remain open for the preset duration time.


  • By default, the last presentation slide that appeared in the main room will be displayed upon entering the breakout rooms but participants are not able to switch to another slide. If necessary, prepare a separate slide that contains workshop-specific instructions or introductory information. In case you want participants to work on a whiteboard together, we recommend that you create a presentation with several empty slides and upload them to the breakout rooms.
  • At the moment, it’s not possible to save the results when using the whiteboard feature and they will also not be transferred to the main meeting room. Please tell participants to create screenshots if they want to document their work.

  • As an alternative, you can also use the Shared Notes feature to document and download group-work results (see fig. 7).

Fig. 7

Closing Breakout Rooms

Breakout sessions will end automatically once the preset duration time is up. All particpants will then be brought back to the BBB meeting’s main room.
In case you want to close the breakout rooms before the time is up, you may do so by clicking End all breakout rooms. As long as the breakout sessions are open, you will see the Breakout rooms menu item above the user list on the left side. Click it and you will see a list of all participants assigned to the rooms along with the button to end the breakout rooms (see fig. 5).

Regardless whether the duration set for breakout rooms has automatically expired or you have actively closed them, the system will ask you to reconnect your audio.