When you’re teaching online, you likely use Zoom breakout rooms to create engagement and get your students thinking more in-depth about a complex idea. Maybe you bop around in the breakout rooms, listening to great ideas and students chattering. However, when you return to the shared space and ask students to share what they discussed you get… *crickets* …*silence* …*Zoom cameras click off*
It can be difficult to speak up in those settings, so it’s helpful to designate a reporter to share out for the breakout room groups when your class returns to the larger room. Ask students to pick a reporter in their breakout rooms by providing a prompt that also serves as an ice breaker. You might ask, “Whose birthplace is farthest away from Bloomington? This person will be the reporter.” Or, “Who has the most siblings? This person will be the reporter.” Using this method can help diversify who is the reporter (the role doesn’t always fall to the most outspoken person) and can serve as a way for students to build community. When you return to the main Zoom space, ask the reporters to share their ice breaker answers in the chat and pick two or three reporters to share what their group discussed.
I learned about this tip from the presentation “Bringing an Inclusive Mindset to your Teaching” by Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) put on by the Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL). Learn more about CIRTL@IUB and their upcoming events.