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Building Interactive and Collaborative Online Learning Communities With Breakout Rooms

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, June 23, 9:00–10:00 am
Location: 201BC

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Katrina Boone  
This session focuses on online synchronous breakout groups. Building an online community that supports individual and group learning means designing a course that promotes a high proportion of student‐to‐student dialogue. Breakout rooms help cultivate such community in three recent research areas: social presence, teacher presence and cognitive presence.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: The Blackboard Mobile App would be helpful for attendees using smartphones or tablets but not required to participate in this session.

Want a hands-on experience? Join me online in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra at

Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Distance, online, blended and flipped learning
Grade level: Community college/university
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is to familiarize attendees with the various effective methods and strategies of using the breakout room/group feature of web-conferencing tools in an online instructional environment.

Session Attendees will meet the following objectives:
1. Examine the available strategies with which k-12 and college instructors can use to create a social, teacher and cognitive presence during an online learning experience.
2. Identify 4 main strategic uses of breakout rooms for student-to-student interaction and teacher-to-student interaction.
3. Discuss and describe the benefits of using breakout rooms.
4. Understand the individual components of breakout rooms for effective use in an online instructional setting as well as the direct and indirect affect of learning outcomes.


10 Minutes: Introduction and discussion surrounding the ongoing challenges faced by finding strategies to provide effective learning experiences to students traditionally in face-to-face classes to an online/distance learning environment.

5 Minutes: Present concept and data from research topics, Social Presence, Teacher Presence and Cognitive Presence. Demonstrate through visual and live web-conference session in Blackboard Collaborate (and Webex if time permits) how breakout rooms can directly address the 3 areas.

10 Minutes: Invite attendees to log on to a live web conference session and participate in a short device-based hands-on activity giving first-hand experience in an online breakout room/group setting. Although participants will be in the same room, the activity will provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer interaction.

Supporting research

Jihyun Kim, Hayeon Song, Wen Luo,
Broadening the understanding of social presence: Implications and contributions to the mediated communication and online education,
Computers in Human Behavior,
Volume 65,2016,Pages 672-679,ISSN 0747-5632,

Hofmann, Jennifer. ( © 2004). Live and online!: tips, techniques, and ready-to-use activities for the virtual classroom. [Books24x7 version] Available from

Soffer, T., & Nachmias, R. (2018). Effectiveness of learning in online academic courses compared with face-to-face courses in higher education. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34(5), 534-543. doi:10.1111/jcal.12258

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Katrina Boone, Clackamas Community College

Katrina Boone holds her masters degree in Instructional Technology from East Carolina University. Katrina is the Multimedia Specialist in the Office of Instructional Technology Services and Distance Education at North Carolina A&T State University. Katrina has served more than 17 years in the UNC System.

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