Canvas for Instructors


Conferences in Canvas allow you to communicate remotely via webcam and virtual whiteboard to students and other course members in Canvas. Instructors can use 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 virtual office hour.
  • Connect with students, colleagues, or other groups to collaborate with each other.


Basic Requirements

  • Have access to a Canvas course where the conference has been scheduled
  • Teachers have moderator/presenter access and students have attendee/viewer access (visit Helpful Videos below for more information)
  • Webcam has fast internet connection (minimum 1 Mbps up and down stream)
  • Latest version of the Flash plugin installed
  • Recommended browsers; Windows: Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, Mac: Google Chrome
  • Headset and/or mic muting strategies to prevent echo effects

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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 available conference sessions. Click on the Make a New Conference button to create a new session.

Conference button


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. This will prevent you from setting a time limit for the conference. 

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 Update button.

Creating a conference page


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

New conference with start button highlighted


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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.

Conference page interface


  • 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.
  • Presentation/Screen Space - This area is where the presenter will be displaying their presentation. This can be powerpoints, videos, or even the screen capture of their computer.
  • Chat - This area allows you to exchange 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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Helpful Tips

For more guides, visit the canvas site or the UW Canvas Conferences Overview

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