Why is there not a breakout room option in an online conference presentation?
For many of us, if we have been in an online meeting in the past few months, going into breakout rooms has been a common occurrence. Utilizing these online rooms can be a useful way for people to interact with each other, in small groups, in order to learn more about each other and the topic at hand. This ability to have people engage and personalize their interactions can be particularly valuable online, where connections with other people and even with the material can be made more difficult by the physical separation caused by the online format.
However, as valuable as these breakout rooms can be, they are not an option for the presentation of a session during a conference. Why? This is due to the fact a conference presentation has dozens of, perhaps even over 100, people, For example, imagine you are presenting your session to 85 people; you get to the part where you plan on putting people in a breakout room for a "think-pair-share" exercise to work in groups of 3 or 4 to discuss a sub-topic for five minutes. It is not reasonable to expect you to effectively manage 25 online breakout rooms.
Recognition of this fact is shown by the fact that online tools (such as Zoom) literally disable breakout rooms for webinars (more info on difference between 'meeting' and 'webinar'). An online presentation to 50-150 people, the vast majority of whom you do not know, requires a level of control that is higher than your faculty meeting or classroom session with 10-30 people.