One of Zoom’s more useful features is the ability to create virtual breakout rooms. Breakout rooms allow the meeting host to easily move between rooms while the participants continue discussions in smaller groups.

During any Zoom meeting you can quickly set up breakout rooms by clicking on the Breakout Room icon at the bottom of an active Zoom meeting screen.

From here you can assign your meeting participants to different rooms, or even have Zoom assign them randomly.

What if you want to assign students to breakout rooms prior to starting your Zoom session?

There are two likely reasons for wanting to do this:

  1. You already have assigned groups or teams and you want to keep students organized into these groups. This is particularly handy in larger classes.
  2. You have a standing course Zoom meeting and you want students to group together for more than one class/Zoom session

There are two very important things that need to happen for pre-assigned breakout rooms.
1. The breakout room list must use the student’s official university email.
2. Students need to login to ZOOM using SSO (DU email and password)

Assigning students to a breakout room is a three step process.

  1. Step one is to set up your Zoom class sessions through Canvas.
  2. Step two is to go to the Zoom web portal ( and assign your groups.
  3. Step three is to make sure that students access the Zoom class through the Canvas Zoom tab, using their DU credentials (SSO).

Step 1: Create your ZOOM meeting

  • Log into
  • Select the course which you are creating a Zoom meeting for.
  • Navigate to the ZOOM tab and then select Schedule a New Meeting.
  • You can create a recurring ZOOM meeting and assign your breakout room groups for the entire academic term.
  • Fill out the necessary data fields for your meeting and press Save.

Step 2: Create ZOOM breakout rooms and add your students

  • Go to and log in with your DU credentials.
  • Find your Canvas class meeting under the Upcoming Meetings tab.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the meeting settings to the Edit this Meeting button.
Click Edit this Meeting
  • Scroll down to the Meeting Options setting and (1) click the Breakout Room pre-assign checkbox and (2) Click the + Create Room link
  • Inside the Breakout Room Assignment window. Click the + to add new breakout rooms.
  • For each room you set up, add users by their DU email address.
  • As an instructor, you can locate your student emails by following these steps: Go to -> Login – > Display Class Photo Roster -> Select Term -> Select a CRN -> Select student -> Student E-mail Address.
  • Once you have your breakout rooms set up, click save and then save the meeting.

Pre-assigning participants to breakouts rooms using a CSV file

If you already have groups in a spreadsheet then you can add these to your zoom meeting using a CSV file upload. Here are the steps:

  • Scroll down to the Meeting Options setting and (1) click the Breakout Room pre-assign checkbox and (2) Click the + Import From CSV.
  • Click download to download a sample CSV file you can fill out.
  • Open the CSV file with spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel.
  • Note: You can specify internal or external Zoom users.
  • Fill in the Pre-assign Room Name column with the breakout room name, and the Email Address column with the assigned participant’s email address. 
  • Save the file.
  • Drag and drop the file in the web portal.
  • Zoom will verify that the email address has a Zoom account.

Step 3: Instruct students to log into ZOOM app using their DU login and password.

Tell your students to access the meeting via Canvas using their DU credentials. If they join the meeting with any other log in, they will not appear in their correct breakout room because their DU email address will not be passed into the breakout room. If your students are not sure, have them click on their ZOOM profile account (see below). If the don’t see their DU email, have them logged into the Zoom app with their DU credentials, have them log out of the Zoom app, and back in again!

Verify your DU account by clicking on you profile icon top right. You should see your DU email. If not, click Switch Account and sign in again using SSO.

Refresh your breakout room after students login

Click Recreate and select Recover to pre-assigned rooms to refresh participant list to see a new list of students after they have logout and login again.