Groupwork: separate boards or one board with multiple frames?

Userlevel 1

I’m planning to use Miro while teaching an online math course this Fall. For the synchronous portion, we will break into groups (using Zoom breakout rooms) and each group will work collaboratively on a worksheet, which I will integrate with Miro. Do you think it’s better to have a single board for that day’s lesson, containing a frame for each group? Or create multiple (identical) boards and give one board to each group? Of course a single board is more streamlined and will help me easily see each group’s progress. But my concerns are (a) the groups peeking at each other’s work rather than devising their own original solutions, and (b) one group accidentally messing up another group’s work.

12 replies

Userlevel 7
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I’ve tried to flesh the concepts out a bit more with some considerations. Maybe not all that helpful… but nevertheless.  


1 / Together:

  • Pros: 
    • streamlined
    • it can be exciting to be part of collaboratively filling a board
    • maybe some ‘peaking’ is not all bad…? Cross-pollination. 
  • Cons: 
    • any peaking is bad
    • edi
  • Considerations:
    • Can only be done with reasonably trust-worthy students
    • Save out the board (download board backup) before class and intermittently during as a back up technique ( I know … kind of a pain until full version history tools in place)
    • Must be done with extra instruction WRT: 
      • peaking 
      • board etiquette: don’t mess up other’s stuff. 
        • don’t press the delete button ever unless you see the one item to delete selected in front of you.
        • don’t press ctrl-A ( you’ll select everything )
        • if you’re trying to navigate the board with the hand tool by dragging the canvas around, make sure its the hand icon you’re on and not the pointer… if not you may inadvertently lasso select a huge swath of content and accidentally then edit or delete it. (hot keys : H and V will toggle between hand and pointer )
      • place the assignment break out areas in specific frames, frames that are named and can be navigated to using the frame tool in lower right. And make each of those framed areas in separate geographic locations of the board… Give the break out areas space to mess up only their own stuff. 



Many / Apart:

  • Pros:
    • It can be nicely un-distracting to have a whole board to ones self
    • No accidental deletes/edits of other’s work 
    • No peaking
  • Cons:
    • Quite a few links to manage. 
    • If you share the breakout board links on the main board the peaking can still happen… so you must do it through email or some direct channel… This adds logistical weight. 
  • Considerations: 
    • Place links from each breakout board back to the main board -- at the top by a title. 
      • this will enable easy navigation into and out of the main board and each break out board. 
    • Ask students to (at the end) screen shot or ‘export to image’ and paste back into the main board to get that ‘we all did a lot together’ feeling. 
    • Open all the breakout boards ahead of time into sequential tabs in Miro … then hop back and forth from ‘room to room’ 
    • I had considered showing how to embed these breakout boards as iFrames back into the main board ( so as to act as live windows out from the main board to the breakout boards... But it doesn’t work well enough to suggest at this point and I’m making a request ticket to Miro to see if this can be done better. 
Userlevel 4

@Max Harper - Great post thnx for the methodical description and then the ideas.

I’ve run some breakout class sessions with folk on the same board - I had adults so peeking wasn’t an issue? - anyway only factor i’d add is that  frames can have a background colour so creating ‘colour-coded teams’ helps with “this is your space” teams names don’t have to be Red-Green-blue or Peach-Apple or sports team based etc…

I’ve also had great success using a xoom w/ a google-sheets workbook where each team gets a tab in a shared workbook - ok it means extra tools but it works well w/ shared desktops in xoom for debrief and the links to sheets can be easily placed on the miro board - Not used in anger yet but embedding the s/sheet into a board with an iframe is showing half-a-promise - I set the iframe at 3600x2400 then resize the  shape on the board for individual access it works great - sadly from a miro / group angle everyone has to open the iframe themselves  so..


 [[ ... Max - I 100% agree improvements to <iframe> (so that it is a shared, live portal to what ever is contained in a board ) would be SO welcome - the power of non-linear navigation it would create would be amazing ]]

Userlevel 1

Thank you @Max Harper and @Simon.Harris for your thoughtful and informative posts. I did play around with embedding a Google Doc in a Miro board, but didn’t love it - the experience was far from seamless and each time I clicked out of the Doc and back to the board, there was a wait while the doc re-embedded (or something).

Taking all your points into consideration, I’m leaning towards the following workflow for class:

  • Start class in one Zoom room and share a Google Doc/Slides presentation with the day’s announcements and agenda. Hold a class discussion, and then break out into groups.
  • Each group will have a separate board, accessed through links in the Google Slides presentation, which they will pull up on their machines before we break into groups. I’ll include the worksheet questions as native text or images in the boards, rather than embed a separate Google Doc. I saw LaTeX support (for displaying math formulas) is on Miro’s to-do list, that would be super helpful.
  • I still need to find the best way for students to share their handwritten math work on the boards. If they have a stylus + touchscreen, it’s simple. If not, I guess they’ll use paper, snap a pic and upload to the board? Too bad this can’t be done in real time, this is a big obstacle to collaborative math work.
  • After the activity, come back to the main room and discuss. I could copy/paste highlights onto a main board, but I’ll probably just share my screen and click around among the group’s boards without creating a master board. There will only be 3 groups so this should be manageable, and less work for me.

A limitation of Zoom breakout rooms is the inability to message the host (you can “call for help”, but can’t send a chat message). Since I’ll be a member of each group’s board, I can monitor those chats and have conversations with the students even if I’m not in their Zoom breakout room at the time. This should be lower overhead for students than using e.g. Slack as a backchannel.

I might decide mid-semester to streamline things and use a single board with color-coded frames. But for now, I like the idea of each group’s work being sandboxed to a degree, and with only 3 groups, this should be doable.

Thanks again for your help!

@Max Harper Great suggestions, thanks!


I’m also thinking of using Miro boards with Zoom breakout rooms. I tried embedding as you mentioned to create a tiled effect, and it wasn’t responsive enough to work for me. Any chance you came up with another solution since your last post?

Ideally I’d like to have an easy way to peak at each board to see if any groups are stuck on problems so that I can figure out which breakout rooms to visit. 


Thanks in advance!

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

@Mariah -

What I’ve been doing with breakout groups which have their own individual Miro boards is to open all the boards in separate browser tabs and just rotate roughly 1 minute per group without going in/out of their Zoom audio & video breakout rooms unless they are getting into trouble.

Its lots easier if the groups are all on one board as you can zoom out, turn collaborator cursors on and watch if the activity ceases in any one group’s area for any length of time as that is usually a clue that they may need help.


Userlevel 7
Badge +6

@Bennie Naude -

A lot depends on whether you want the outcomes from the breakout rooms to be consolidated. If so, then a single board approach overall is easiest.

If not, I’d go with a single board per breakout group plus a class board for any common activities for the entire group. With six groups, you will end up switching frequently to see what participants are doing so hopefully you have co-facilitators who can help support some of the rooms.


Userlevel 7
Badge +9


I add my idea to this that I had posted 8 months ago:

And if you combine this with you get a real firework of groupwork:



Userlevel 2

Wow - thank you all for all your ideas!

I’m hosting a 3-week training course with 32 participants, 30 different topics/lessons.  For some of the topics we’ll only have collaboration (e.g. stickies) for the group as a whole, and for others we’d like them to collaborate in groups.  (using zoom breakout rooms for those)

I can see the benefit of having one board (as some of you stated), yet wondering if there’s a tipping point where it would be better to have additional boards.

If we have one board,  it will have 30 collaboration ‘exercises’ on it, some of which will have 6 ‘areas’ for the 6 breakout groups to collaborate.

This seems like one huge board.

If it does make sense to have separate boards, do you suggest:

  • a board per team, with all the topics’ exercises (for all 30 topics) on one board [6 boards in total]


  • a board per exercise, with all the teams’ collaboration for a particular exercise on one board, i.e. 30 boards in total, one per topic [this seems like a nightmare in the making!)

Many thanks for your help.

Cape Town, South Africa


Userlevel 3

I can echo what @Max Harper and @Simon.Harris  said.

The workshops / training sessions we run usually are continuous back to back in which case a single board works really well. Some of us mix the groups up each day which would end up in a lot of confusion if we had separate boards. 

We work with adults and teach collaboration so we encourage peaking ;-)

We also colour code to ensure people know which is their space on any board - including pre-applied post-it’s. 

The instances I use separate boards are usually if it’s a longer-term engagement and I am working with multiple stable teams that don’t change. I might bring them together into a main board for the teaching part but then they keep building their own boards over time. 

Userlevel 2

As always, many thanks @Kiron Bondale, much appreciated

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

@Bennie Naude

1 break out board per group - all the exercises there.
    - I really think Miro can handle it. I have boards with several thousands of objects. Miro is keeping up.

   - The main reasoning is the student experience. The problem with putting every lesson and exercise in a different board will be a painfully disjointed experience… both from the students’ organizational and logistical standpoint(making it hard to remember what’s where) but more from the learning standpoint: You will debilitate  their powers of spatial memory, holistic comprehension, ease of recall, etc. plus they get to peak ahead and get excited for what’s next. And as they complete each section they will leave a wake of accomplishment… geometrically upon the board they will March forward as a team — there’s gamification capability there… it’s hard to picture any of that being possible in a 30-separate-exercise-boards scenario.

I recently took a pro cert course and used Miro as my note-taking and exercise workbook. Having the entirety of content in one board enables me to scan the whole thing in an easy pass to recall items and to remember the relationships of concepts to concepts. 

if you think 30 exercises is too much for a board- then just string 2 boards together (a: 1-15) (b: 16-30) by embedding Miro board-To-board links in each/all. Links [ main - a, a - main, main - b, b - main, a - b, b - a ]. This will still allow for much of the value proposition I lay out above while playing it safe on board size. 


Why not embed your google slides into each board and have email and Miro be the one place they go every class as opposed to linking from GS to Miro? /or both? 


Userlevel 2

@Kiron Bondale  @Max Harper - much appreciated, that helps a lot.