As more classrooms go virtual, many Zoom users have recently discovered the videoconferencing platform's version of discussion groups. Zoom breakout rooms let callers temporarily leave the main call to talk privately in separate private "rooms" — and people have some pretty strong feelings about the divisive feature. There's nothing quite as awkward as suddenly finding yourself face-to-face with your classmates and being told to talk, and the best Zoom breakout rooms memes hilariously poke fun at that fact.
While Zoom's breakout room feature isn't a new update, more people have been finding out about it recently as workplaces and classrooms utilize remote meetings — and, judging from the LOL-worthy memes that have been circling Twitter, many students are not a fan of the tool.
If you haven't tried it yet, the feature attempts to replicate the smaller discussion groups that would happen IRL by allowing select participants to go off into up to 50 different private calls. However, unlike in real life, you don't have a teacher hovering over you or checking on your discussion, so it's up to the individual students to strike up the conversation — or risk sitting in complete silence amongst your peers. *Cue crickets.*
One Twitter user summed up the potential cringe factor of the feature, writing, "Zoom breakout rooms are so awkward... we’re just all staring at each other not saying a word."
Judging by all the hate Zoom breakout rooms are getting on Twitter, it looks like the feeling is mutual for a lot of students. Some admitted to dipping out of the Zoom call as soon as their professors told them to get into their breakout rooms while others simply bemoaned the uncomfortable situation in meme-form.
Students' reactions to being assigned to breakout rooms can pretty much be summed up in the immortal words of Randy Jackson: "That's gonna be a no from me, dawg."
Awkward silences are pretty much a given in breakout rooms:
Some teachers like to have a little fun with the rooms.
Sometimes the breakout room can be a respite from a long lecture.
Tech issues will follow you to the breakout room.
Awkwardness aside, Zoom's breakout rooms can potentially be a handy feature if you're looking to add some smaller discussions to your call. To enable the feature and create breakout rooms yourself, you'll need to make sure you're the host of the call and you're using a desktop version of Zoom when you go to https://zoom.us/ to get started.
Once you've toggled the feature "on" in your settings tab, you can preschedule who will be in each of the breakout rooms, as well as add and delete users.
Only time will tell how long virtual classrooms will continue to be a part of students' new reality, but love or hate them, it looks like breakout rooms aren't going anywhere.