For those teaching at a distance and using Canvas, here’s a quick guide to get started. A downloadable resource is available at the end of this post.

Canvas Conferences is a quick and easy way to teach students remotely. In Canvas, Big Blue Button (the conferences app) will store recordings for 14 days.

This is best used in the Chrome internet browser

Getting Started

Please ensure the Conferences tab is available for students to access live lectures/recordings. If an ‘eye symbol’ is beside Conferences, it means Conferences is hidden from students.

Conferences Tab
Conferences Tab

To make the Conferences Tab visible to students, please follow the steps below:

  • Go to your Module
  • Click Settings (1)
  • Click Navigation (2)
  • Click and drag Conferences (3) above the hidden items
  • Click Save (4)
Canvas Settings and Navigation options
Canvas Settings and Navigation options
Instructions

Within the teaching module, click on Conferences on the left hand side:

Tabs available to students in Canvas
Tabs available to students in Canvas

Click +Conference

Conferences screen to add new conferences or conclude existing conferences
Conferences screen to add new conferences or conclude existing conferences
Options when creating a new conference
Options when creating a new conference
  • In the New Conference dialogue box, click ‘enable recording for this conference’ (1), this allows the recording to be made available later (14 days)
  • Add in a meaningful description, i.e., ‘Revision session 16th March 2020 at 6.00pm – This session revisits the epidemiology lectures in semester 2’ (2)
  • Invite all Course Members (3). This invites the students to the conference
  • Click the Update button (4)

This conference will appear in the New Conference Section toward the top of the screen.

Example showing a new scheduled conference in the 'Conferences' screen
Example showing a new scheduled conference in the ‘Conferences’ screen
Set an Announcement

Send an announcement for students stating when the conference will be live, i.e.:

Example announcement set to notify students of when conference will occur
Example announcement set to notify students of when conference will occur

NB. If you want students to ask questions, you can ask them to use their mic or use the chat feature.

Starting the Conference

Before starting the conference, the lecturer should mute the speakers on their computer/laptop.

A few minutes before the conference time, Click Start.

Example of starting a conference
Example of starting a conference

Lecturer chooses Microphone option (so students can hear)

Microphone options: Mic on or Listen Only
Microphone options: Mic on or Listen Only

Lecturer can choose Webcam option if they want to appear on screen and webcam is available.

Lecturer should choose to share screen to show slides.

Big Blue Button options for lecturer
Big Blue Button options for lecturer
Example of screen sharing and choosing screen to share
Example of screen sharing and choosing screen to share

NB: It’s a good idea to have the PowerPoint already open and the slideshow active on the first slide. Minimise the Canvas screen for the slides to be shared with students.

When ready, click Start Recording. Wait several seconds before starting to speak.

NB: If there isn’t a Start Recording option, you didn’t select enable recording for this conference in the New Conference Dialogue when setting up the session.

Example presentation in Big Blue Button with Start Recording button
Example presentation in Big Blue Button with Start Recording button
After the conference

Click on the ellipsis at the top right, click End Meeting and Confirm. Rate the Meeting and click Send Feedback.

Big Blue Button ellipsis options
Big Blue Button ellipsis options
Go to Conferences

Once you have ended the conference, go to Conferences and click END. This finishes the session completely allowing it to render for student use. It can take a while to render this information.

Conferences screen with End option
Conferences screen with End option

This then moves to the Concluded Conferences section.

Example of concluded conference
Example of concluded conference
Set an Announcement

After finishing the conference, announce to students that recording is available for the next 14 days. If slides were used in the conference, they can be shared with students in the announcement.

Resources

We hope you have found this tutorial on Using Canvas Conferences helpful. Please share this blog with other academics conducting Conferences.

Please follow us on twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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