Advanced Webex – Breakout Rooms and Other Features

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This page contains information on:
Breakout sessions – ‘Substitute Host’ Feature – Cohosts Feature – Enhanced Audio Control – Q & A Panel – Animated Reactions – Layout Controls – Live Captions

Breakout sessions in Webex Meetings are smaller groups that are split off from the main Webex meeting room to collaborate and share ideas over audio and video. You can import a spreadsheet to preassign breakout rooms or create these during the meeting. Please read the known issues and limitations.

‘Substitute Host’

The named Host can be changed by editing the meeting details before the meeting. View this guide to Changing Webex Host in Moodle.

Cohosts is the new name for ‘alternative hosts’ who can share your host-level privileges such as muting and unmuting other participants. During a meeting you can assign other meeting participants as cohosts, who can help facilitate the meeting such as by managing and joining breakout sessions. Nominated cohosts can also start a meeting on your behalf when it has been scheduled in Further information about cohosts can be found on the Webex knowledge base.

Enhanced audio controls include removing background noise, and that Hosts & Cohosts can choose whether participants can unmute themselves when selecting Mute All or Mute on Entry. Additionally, when a host or cohost unmutes a participant, that participant will be given a prompt to unmute, instead of being unmuted directly.

Q & A allows meeting participants to type private questions into the Q&A panel, which can be answered privately or publicly by the host or cohosts. Questions can be managed by being prioritised, assigned to cohosts, deferred or dismissed and answered verbally. Q&A is only supported in the main session and not in breakout sessions, and hosts must use the desktop app to answer questions.

Animated reactions let participants express themselves in a meeting or breakout session, even when mics are muted and webcams turned off.  As a presenter you can get a sense of the audience response by asking participants to give a quick thumbs up or thumbs down, happy/sad/laughing/surprised face, applause, and celebrate. Reactions appear for a few seconds and then disappear automatically, but are not included in the meeting recording. Further information on using animated reactions can be found in this Webex article.

Improved Layout Controls now provide the views into a single button which includes the option to Hide non-video participants to this menu for easy access. The views are

  • Stage view shows the active speaker and thumbnail videos
  • Focus view shows the active speaker and full video view
  • Stack view shows the video strip view
  • Fullscreen view has floating panels


Live captioning is a forthcoming feature that is part of the Webex Assistant tool that meeting hosts can turn on. Each participant will see the Webex Assistant in the lower left of their screen or hear the announcement, Webex Assistant is enabled to save audio highlights or both. Further details can be found on the Webex knowledge base. Note that transcripts are already enabled for Webex recordings.

View the Webex pages for further information about Webex in the University, including the Moodle integration and the student quick guides.