Tips for Managing Breakout Groups in Collaborate Ultra #1 – Assigning Students and Communicating with them

by / Thursday, 19 November 2020 / Published in Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, Teaching with Technology








Knowing your way around in breakout groups is crucial for the seamless administration of online collaborative activities. This post shares tips regarding assigning students and communicating with them. The next post will share tips for monitoring students and ending the groups.


Assigning Students


1. Assign multiple students to a group at once. If manually assigning students to groups, you can hold down (Shift on Windows) or (cmd on Mac) and select multiple students at once. Then drag and drop them into the desired group or click on (…) for one of the selected students and choose the desired group.

Assign multiple attendees to a group at once

image from Breakout Groups – Blackboard Help


2. Name the groups. If you have not noticed this yet, you can click on the default group names and rename them as you want.

Name Breakout Groups


3. Take a screenshot of the groups. This will allow you to know the group distribution when you end the groups, so you can follow on getting the feedback from each group. This is much needed if you were using a random distribution of a large number of students.

Screenshot Breakout groups


Communicating with Students


4. Use the Everyone chat channel to message all students at once. Students will always have access to the Everyone chat channel even when they are in the breakout groups. So, the Everyone chat channel is the best medium to communicate with all students at once during breakout groups. It’s also highly recommended to send the instructions and timer counting to that channel, so students can access them as needed.

Everyone Channel


5. Direct students on how to communicate privately with you for help. Issues may happen during the breakout group activities, so students need to be aware that they can still reach out to you privately if they want. Students need to find your name in the chat panel search field to start a chat as shown in the left image below. Note that students won’t find your name in the Attendees panel when they are in the breakout groups as shown in the right image below.

Chat-Attendee panels



Breakout Groups – Blackboard Help