Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) Overview

Canvas has a built-in web-conferencing tool called "Conferences" that can be used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, or anything else that would need synchronous interaction. Conferences utilize an integration with BigBlueButton and allow up to 50 concurrent webcams at a time. You can record a conference, use the whiteboard function, add files, share your screen, and conduct polls during conference sessions. However, we do not recommend sharing video via Conferences as this will result in extremely poor quality video sharing.

Because of Google Chrome's discontinuation of Java applets within the browser, some of Conferences' features will not work in Chrome (such as desktop sharing). As a result, we do not recommend using Chrome with Conferences. Please also note that the Canvas mobile app does not support Conferences at this time.

*Please note that recorded Conferences are stored in Canvas for 14 days and are then deleted automatically.

Why use it?

  • Conferences are available to ALL courses in Canvas, both distance and face-to-face classes!
  • There are several different screen layout options you can use.
  • Conduct live virtual office hours to coach or tutor students in the use of online resources like databases and computer applications.
  • Archive information sessions so that students can access them for up to 14 days after the session has ended.

Keep in mind:

  • Students must be invited to a conference in order to access it - conferences will not appear for a student unless they are invited to that particular conference.
  • There is a 50-viewer limit per conference (this may not be ideal for courses with more than 50 students enrolled).
  • Recordings of Conferences are automatically deleted after 14 days.
  • Uploading internal media content is not available. The screen sharing option does not transmit audio and has a reduced frame rate from the host, so we do not recommend sharing video via Canvas Conferences. External links in the chat window is the only method available to share media content.
  • The java program on your computer needs to be up-to-date in order to run the screen sharing program. The "open with" file needs to be Java Web Start Launcher.
  • At this time, breakout rooms are not supported in Canvas Conferences. If you are teaching a fully-online course (no face-to-face classes), then we recommend that you use Blackboard Collaborate if you want to use breakout rooms.

Further resources:

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