Canvas for Instructors

Web Conferencing

Conferences allow you to communicate remotely via webcam and virtual whiteboard to students and other course members in Canvas. Instructors can this feature in Canvas to:

  • Conduct a virtual lecture via webcam to the class.
  • Demonstrate the use of a tool or software by broadcasting the screen.
  • Meet one-on-one with students in a virutal office hour.
  • Connect with students, colleagues, or other groups to collaborate with each other.


Creating a Conference

To begin a conference, go into the class that you wish to initiate a conference session. Click on the Conferences tab from the navigation menu on the left. You will see a list of availble conference sessions. Click on the Make a New Conference button to create a new session.


Type in a name for the conference.

Check the "This is a long-running conference and should not be automatically closed" checkbox to prevent the conference from automatically closing after the session ends.

Type in a time limit for the duration of the conference if the conference is for a single use. During the conference, you will be prompted to close the session when the time limit is reached. Leave this blank if you do not want the conference to have a time limit.

Type in a description for the conference.

By default, all members of the course will be invited to the conference. To select specific users such as in a group or one-on-one conference, uncheck this box. A selection list will pop up allowing you to specify specific members.

Once all fields have been filled in, click on the Create a Conference button.


Your session should appear in the conference list. Click on the Start it now button to begin the session.


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Conference Interface

The conference interface in Canvas runs on the BigBlueButton framework and is similar to many other web conferencing software such as Adobe Connect. See the screenshot below for an overview of the different areas.


  • User List - This area shows the users currently in the conference. You can send messages, block users, and interact with them by right clicking on a user name.
  • Audio Control - This area shows users and whether they are broadcasting voice or audio.
  • Presentation/Screen Space - This area is where the presenter will be displaying thier presentation. This can be powerpoints, videos, or even the screen capture of thier computer.
  • Chat - This area allows you to exchange text messages with users in the course.
  • Webcam/Video - If a presenter or group of users have webcams, they can broadcast their videos to others in here.

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