Option 1: Web Conference with Canvas Conferences or Zoom

This option works especially well for large and small discussion-based classes or if lectures are needed, especially if you have a moderator.

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: Some students may not have access to a computer, mobile device, internet or phone and may not be able to access or join a web conference.

Canvas Conference:

Whether you’re already a Canvas User or don’t use Canvas much, using Canvas Conferences makes it easier for students to locate the live sessions. We’ve created a detailed Quick Start Guide and short Video Tutorial which walks you step-by-step through the process of setting up a Canvas Conference in your Canvas course shell. Students could join by phone if internet access is not available, but wouldn’t be able to view shared screen or video. NOTE: Faculty must communicate with students when the conference will take place and which conference to join as this tool currently does not include a scheduling feature.


UNT Dallas currently offers a which hosts up to 300 participants. Sessions are unlimited. Students could join by phone if internet access is not available, but wouldn’t be able to view shared screen or video. Log into UNT.zoom.us with your UNT Dallas credentials to access zoom. You will need to request to be added to the UNTD account by emailing distancelearning@untdallas.edu.

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Use slides and screen sharing within the video conference tools to make sure content you are sharing eg. discussion questions, power points, presentations, whiteboard, etc. are visible to students. This may also need to be shared with students via email, Canvas or other means, preferably prior to scheduled sessions.

  • On your first slide, display an agenda at the start of the class session so that students know what to expect of the shared time together.

  • Use Canvas Conferences or Zoom Breakout Rooms to help students talk in smaller groups (just as they would do break-out groups in a larger class environment).

  • Rethink your classroom activities to make the class more interactive even if Canvas Conference or Zoom students don’t have ideal connections and aren’t able to hear and see everything perfectly.

  • Have students write and comment together on a shared Google Doc.

  • Try using Google Forms to collect student responses, and then share results with both in-person and online students.

  • When using Canvas Conferences or Zoom to hold live discussions, consider making discussion questions available in advance in Canvas, etc. so that students can access the questions if screen sharing does not work. If sharing slides in, share as PDFs, as students will be able to access the material on their phones. PDF is easier to access and read on mobile devices. Refer to How to Create Accessible Content.

A Few Troubleshooting Tips:

  • If your Internet connection is slow or lagging, consider temporarily turning off your video stream and only maintaining the audio stream. Sometimes, running the web camera on your computer will use up the Internet’s bandwidth in a way that might make communication challenging. Turning off the video should improve communication quality and consistency.

  • If you have earbuds or a headphone set, wear them! Wearing earbuds or headphones will reduce the amount of noise that your computer will pick up during your quality, which will make it easier for your students to hear you. Similarly, you may want to advise your students to wear earbuds or headphones during the call.

  • Advise students to mute their microphones if they are not speaking and unmute the microphones when they wish to speak. Students may be joining the conference from all kinds of different locations, many of which may create background noise that could be distracting. Encourage students to mute themselves if they’re not speaking to minimize unnecessary or distracting background noise. Using the “raise hand” feature or simply seeing the microphone unmuted will give the group a visual cue for when a student wishes to speak.

  • Check the “chat” space for student questions and contributions. Some students may not have working microphones and, therefore, may be unable to contribute via voice. The chat room is a good place for students to contribute, ask questions, and be involved.


Accessibility Suggestions:

  • Automatic live captioning is not available in Canvas Conferences or Zoom. You may wish to use Google Slides and enable the live captioning feature within Google Slides. If you share your screen using Google Slides, your voice will be captured and live captions will appear. See Present Slides with Captions (via Google Drive support) for more information.

  • For students who are blind or have low visibility, narrate the material that you’re displaying visually on the screen. Just as you might read materials aloud in class, read screen material that you share on-screen just in case students are not able to see essential text.