Discover how live video conferences are easy to conduct in the Canvas learning management system using the BigBlueButton platform.
- Video conferences are a powerful way to improve communication and collaboration in your course, and in Canvas, they're easy to do. Canvas integrates a conferencing platform called BigBlueButton, which allows you to set up a video conference in which you can share video and audio, share resources, and even share your screen. You also have the ability to record these conferences and archive them for later for your students to view. Let's take a look at how to do this. From the Course Navigation bar, I'm going to go down to the Conferences tab. I'll click on that, and inside of here, you'll see that I have some conferences that have concluded that I've already set up and ran.
Now, this might give you a good idea of some possible uses for these conferences. At the bottom, I had a Biology 101 conference that was to intro the course to students. Here you can see I have one for virtual office hours, and this is a very innovative idea in which you can set up a conference for a set amount of time and allow students to visit you online inside of this conference to ask questions. So in other words, it's office hours that students don't even need to come to your office in order to ask questions. I ran a question and answer session here for the genetics unit exam.
Here I introduced a new unit that we were going to do. And you can also do these to individuals. So here you can see that I had a particular student who I visited with regard to a mid-term progress conference. So there's a ton of innovative ways that you can use these conferences. I highly suggest finding ways that you can utilize them. Now, to create a new conference, I'm going to go up to the top and click on Plus Conference. And this allows me to start setting one up. So here, I'm just going to type in Sample Conference.
Down here, the type is BigBlueButton, and that's the only option that we have. You can decide on the length, and if you don't want there to be a length, you can go down here and click on No Time Limit, meaning that it just will end when you end it. Now, here you can have Enable Recording For This Conference, and I am going to click on that for this example. So if you want to record it and have it archived, you do need to select that. Well, here you can add in a description, and then you can decide if you want to invite all course members. So if you want to do that, you keep this checked.
And remember that I'm inside of my Biology 101 course right now, so if I wanted to invite everyone, it's talking about people from that course. Now, if I uncheck this, it allows me to select individual students. This would be if I wanted to conference with someone individually or in a small group. I'm going to click back on Invite All Course Members, and then I'll click on Update. Now, up here, you'll see that we have a new conference, the sample conference, and off to the right-hand side I can start that conference. I'll go ahead and click on Start, and it will open up BigBlueButton.
Now, first, I need to enable my Flash player inside of the browser, and here is that platform. Now, first of all, you'll have to decide how you want to join this, and this is important for you and your students to know, because you'll have to decide if you want to join with your microphone, if you'll be speaking, or if you want to listen only. And here then I would just click the headphones if I'm just going to be a passive participant in which I'm listening to someone. In this case, I'll click on Microphone, and then need to allow the use of my microphone.
I can do a quick audio test. And right now it's letting me know that I'm the only person in the conference, and also that if I want to record this I need to hit the Record button before I start the conference or at any point if I want it to be recorded. And then at the end you'll be able to stop it. I'll click OK, and here is that layout. So up here you can see all of the different users, and as other students join it, their names will appear here. Down below we have the ability to add in webcam, and you'll notice up here at the top that we have several different things.
First of all, I can mute my microphone. I can disable my audio if I don't want to have audio at all. Next to this, I can enable my web cam. I'll go ahead and click on that. Allow the Flash player, and you'll see here again that it allows me to set this up. I can choose the web cam, I can choose the quality, click on Start Sharing, and now that will appear here. So you do have the ability to appear inside of these conferences. Now I'm going to go up here and disable that.
In the middle here, we have our presentation area, and this is a really neat thing because you can click forward in this and it provides you with some white boards in which you can utilize the tools on the right-hand side here to either draw things, move things around, you can draw in shapes, you can add text, change the color, and more. So it's a great way to present. While you're doing this, you have the option for chat. So on the right-hand side you can chat with the public. I could type things in here, or other participants could type in questions that they have.
Or I can click on Options, and this will allow me to chat with individuals. So once there's more students in here, they would appear here. I can click on their name, and then chat privately with them inside of this conference. Now, the other thing you can do here is you can upload presentations. So if I had a PowerPoint, a PDF, something that I wanted to go over, I could simply click on this icon in the bottom left corner, the Upload icon, and it allows me to go in and select that file. Next to this I have an icon that allows me to start a poll, and for this, it's assuming that you already have the question asked.
So either you say it using audio or video or you have it posted on a slide. So once you click on this, it will ask you what type of response you want to allow. Is it a Yes No, True False, AB, ABC, or customize that poll. Let's say I had Yes No, I can click on that. It will then show live results as to how students are answering that, because once you do this, students will have the ability, then, to respond to the question that you've posed to them. Now you can publish it so others can see it, in this case I'm going to close it.
Now finally, down here on the bottom, you can decide in the language that you want to use as well as your default layout. So depending on the reason that you're using this conference you may want to change the layout. In other words, here you can include closed captions. You can have a video chat, and when you go to this, it will show both people on the sides and allow you to see one another. Have a webcam meeting, where your face will appear here. It will be the focal point of the presentation, if you are the presenter and want people to focus on you.
You have presentation meeting, presentation and users, and all this does is changes the look and layout of that conference. So you want to play around with that when you're doing this to find the one that works best for you. Up here at the top, if I do click Start Recording, it says are you sure you want to start recording? I can click Yes, and then I'm recording this conference. When the conference is done, I can go back up to the top, click on Stop Recording, and it will save a file of this after a while that we'll be able to archive, and that will be right inside of the Conferences tab in that navigation bar.
So this is just a simple introduction to the BigBlueButton platform, a platform for doing conferences inside of Canvas. Now, if this is activated for your account, I highly suggest that you take advantage of it and find ways to utilize this conferencing platform. If you're not able to access it, you may need to talk to a system administrator to see if you can get this feature enabled. Now, once I'm done, click Log Out. It asks if I want to, and I can even end the meeting from here.
I'm just going to say that I want to log out, 'cause I'll show you here how we can now go over to the sample conference, and from the same place that we started it before, we can now end it. If you're a student, you'll see this tab that says Join, you'll be able to click Join by going into the Conferences tab, finding the conference that's active, and then clicking on Join. So that's how you use conferences inside of the Canvas platform.
- Communicating with video and messages
- Using notifications
- Setting up peer reviews
- Analyzing assignments
- Organizing content
- Using mastery paths
- Ensuring content is accessible
- Adjusting headings, links, and tags
- Integrating with third-party applications
- Importing and exporting courses
- Using HTML in Canvas