To pre-assign breakout rooms before a class, all of your students need to have registered accounts on Zoom. Right now we generally don’t require that, as most of them will enter into Moodle and follow its Zoom tool to get to your class meeting, and that sends their names to Zoom but actually doesn’t set up accounts for them.

  1. So the first thing to do is to ask your entire class to set up accounts on Zoom (once they do this they can also start their own meetings that last longer than 40 minutes and can involve more than three others):
    1. Ask them to visit the Web site, click on the button Sign In, and provide their Amherst College username and password.
    2. They should then launch the Zoom application and sign in by clicking on the button Sign In with SSO; when asked, they should provide the same domain, , and again sign with their Amherst College username and password.
  2. The simplest way to set up the breakout rooms, especially as a class gets larger or if it has Five College students, is to create a file in advance, which you can then update as needed, e.g. to add more students, rearrange the rooms, or change the room names.
    1. To create this file, it’s easiest to start by downloading a list of e-mail addresses from your Moodle course:
      1. Click on the button Course Management.
      2. Click on the link Gradebook.
      3. Click on the menu Grader report, and select the item Export > Plain text file.
      4. Click on the button Download.
    2. In either case, the result is a comma-separated values (CSV) file. Open the file with Excel (but always save it as a CSV file, not XLSX).
    3. Delete all columns but the e-mail address column, and include one before it that lists the room names, in this format:
    Pre-assign Room Name Email Address
  3. To create the rooms:
    1. Sign in to
    2. Click on the tab Meetings on the left.
    3. Find your class meeting (ideally created beforehand in Moodle), and click on the button Edit.
    4. Near the bottom you should see a checkbox Breakout Room pre-assign; check this, and two options appear below, + Create Rooms and ⇑ Import from CSV. The former lets you add anyone who has registered with Zoom using an Amherst e-mail address, one at a time, and is really only good for a small number of students; the latter is how you upload the CSV file you’ve created.
    5. After you’ve uploaded the file, be sure to click the button Save.
  4. The next time you start this meeting and click on the button ⊞Breakout Rooms, you’ll see these rooms listed. However, the dialog Breakout Rooms will only show the students who have (1) signed in with their registered account, and (2) joined the Zoom meeting before you clicked on this button. So don’t click on this button too early; if you do, you’ll need to click on the menu Recreate > Recover to pre-assigned rooms to update the assignments. This dialog will also let you assign any remaining unregistered students to their appropriate room.