Participating in Breakout Groups

How do I join a breakout group?

You must use a telephone to participate in a breakout session. Dial in to your course call by using the phone number and PIN code that we provided to you when you registered. These will be listed on your Course Homepage. To get to the Course Homepage, click here, and then sign in using the email address that you used when registering for the course.

If you do not have access to a telephone, or if calling in by phone is cost prohibitive for you, we suggest trying a free internet telephony option, such as SkypeGoogle Voice and MaestroConference Webphone. See our MaestroConference access page for details on recommended webphone services. If using Skype, Google Voice, etc., enter your PIN using the service's virtual dial-pad rather than typing it on your computer keyboard. (We cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of services provided by Skype, Google Voice, or Maestro Webphone. The quality or speed of your internet service may affect your ability to successfully use these options.)


How do I know that I have been placed in a group?

There is nothing you need to do if you are already connected to the live call and it is announced that Breakout groups will soon start.  Our MaestroConference platform will place you in a group automatically.  Sometimes, the facilitator will ring a bell to indicate that the group has begun; other times, the teacher will simply announce that groups are beginning.  Then you will hear silence.  This silence indicates that you have been moved from the large audience hall into a small virtual room with a few other people.  Please introduce yourself and state your first name to initiate conversation; otherwise, your entire group might be waiting quietly and patiently for someone else to begin.


Dialing in after Breakout groups have begun.

If you dial in while breakout groups are already in session, this is absolutely fine.  Please know that it will take some time for us to locate you and place you into the best group for you.  So, after you are connected to the conference line, please allow about 30 - 60 seconds of silence before requesting technical assistance by pressing '5' or trying again.

If you believe that you have not been connected with others, or if you need other technical assistance while Breakout groups are in session (e.g. extraneous noise which interferes with conversation), do press '5' on your phone keypad and an assistant will be with you as soon as possible.

Can I participate in Breakout groups via Webcast?

No, the webcast is an audio listening option only. Some participants listen to the call via the webcast and then dial-in quickly to the call when the breakout sessions are about to begin at the end of the faculty teaching segment of the call, as mentioned above.

However, some classes feature small breakout sessions during the faculty segment of the call, and a longer breakout session at the end of the call, so you may prefer to use the phone or internet phone options listed at the top of this page.

Generally, any Breakout groups that occur during the class time proper will be short (10 minutes or less), in contrast to the unlimited Breakout time after class ends.  If we do form Breakouts during class, our facilitator will try to let you know well in advance so that you have time to dial in and get placed in a group before these discussions begin. 

We do not recommend listening via telephone and Webcast simultaneously, though toggling between one and the other works just fine. 


Technical Difficulties & Dropped Breakout Sessions

Unfortunately, technology is not perfect. Maestro Conference normally works very well, but occasionally participants have experienced technical difficulties during breakout sessions, or have been dropped from the breakout session altogether. If you need help at any time, press '5' on your keypad and we will do our best to assist you. It may take a minute or two to assist you as we may be assisting others as well, so we appreciate your patience. If you are dropped from the call, please attempt to call in again and press '5' for assistance. 

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