What Grinds Our Gears: Switching Breakout Rooms without warning

Zoom hosts should inform participants before moving them to different Breakout Rooms 

Photo courtesy of stockgiu via Vecteezy.com

By: Tiffany Chang, Peak Associate

Since SFU began holding classes remotely, many instructors have been using Zoom to hold live classes. Zoom is a great tool, and I’m glad we can (kind of) simulate in-person settings with it, like dividing people into groups via the “Breakout Room” function for discussions.

While I think it’s great that Zoom meeting hosts can easily shift people around in these groups, I don’t appreciate it when they suddenly move someone to another Breakout Room without a heads-up. To clarify, I understand there could be several legitimate reasons why the host would do so, whether it’s fixing an uneven distribution, being short on time to spend with each group, or thinking a person might fare better with other individuals.

However, it can be very disruptive. I’ve been in situations where either I, another student, or our TA was moved without warning. As a result, we all entered different groups during their conversations without knowing the discussion’s context, thus awkwardly needing to be caught up. I kid you not — every single class our TA would be in the middle of explaining something, only to be whisked away from our group to another and cut-off .

Please, if you want to move someone to another Breakout Room, all I ask is you refrain from doing so without warning.