Running Simulations Online: Zoom Tips and Tricks

By — on / Teaching Negotiation

negotiating with zoom

Negotiation simulations, while incredibly useful teaching tools, can be difficult to orchestrate logistically, especially with large groups of participants. Moving classes online has made running simulations even more complex. Zoom, as well as many other video chat platforms, has lots of features to assist with running simulations online. To help educators prepare for this unpredictable school year, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has compiled a list of Zoom resources. Check out our list of tips and tricks for using Zoom to run simulations online below.

Breakout Rooms

Utilizing the Zoom breakout room feature allows you to divide participants into up to 50 separate video chat sessions. In these breakout rooms, participants can carry out their negotiations separately, but within the class session, and then can be called back to the main session at the conclusion of the negotiation. Learn more about managing breakout rooms in Zoom here.

When it comes time to divide participants into breakout rooms, you can either assign people to breakout rooms in the moment, or you can also pre-assign breakout rooms in advance of the class.

Pre-Assigning Participants to Breakout Rooms

If you will have a lot of participants you would like to place into breakout rooms for discussion or a negotiation, you may want to pre-assign them ahead of the class session. Zoom allows you to pre-assign up to 200 participants into breakout rooms. Participants must have a Zoom account before they can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms. Learn more about pre-assigning participants to breakout rooms here.

Host and Co-Host Controls

Being the “host” of a Zoom session (which you are automatically if you schedule the session) allows you to control certain aspects of the session, such as managing the participants. The co-host feature allows the host to share hosting privileges with another user, allowing the co-host to manage the administrative side of the meeting. This feature can be especially useful if you have a T.A. providing support for the course. The host does not need to assign a co-host, but only the host can designate someone as a co-host. There is no limitation on the number of co-hosts you can have in a session. Learn more about host and co-host controls here.

Video Recording Negotiations in a Breakout Room

One of the perks of an online course is that you can have video recordings of lectures and exercise debriefs made easily accessible for review. Having participants record their negotiations is a great way for them to reflect on their performance and analyze their negotiation skills.

Zoom session hosts can pre-select if they would like the session recorded or decide to record the session in the moment. However, if the session is being recorded to the cloud, the recording will only include the main session, regardless of if the session host joins one of the breakout rooms. If the session is being recorded locally to a computer, the recording will include whatever breakout room the person recording participates in. To make sure all breakout rooms are recorded, participants need to record the breakout rooms themselves. Multiple people can record locally to their computers if allowed by the host. The host can designate one person in each breakout room to record locally and then share that file with the host after the session. Learn about how to record Zoom sessions locally here.


What Zoom tips and tricks have helped you run simulations in your course? Leave us your suggestions in the comments.


Take your training to the next level with the TNRC

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including

TNRC negotiation exercises and teaching materials are designed for educational purposes. They are used in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a process or issue; and used by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Negotiation exercises and role-play simulations introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing students to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >>

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