This week, Dr Liz Hodges tells us the benefits of using web conferencing in Canvas

Using Web Conferencing in Canvas

Although the benefits of web conferencing for the support of distance learning programmes are self-evident, it also has uses for campus-based programmes. Some ideas are:  

  1. Student project meetings - If students are added to groups in Canvas they automatically get their own Conferencing room
  2. Guest lecture spots - if the Conference is opened in a lecture theatre others can 'dial in' to speak to the class  
  3. Tutor group meetings - a virtual tutorial with one or many students is sometimes useful for part time students, or if a meeting room is not available on campus

Web Conferencing is available to all staff and students using the Canvas Conferencing tool. It is simple to set up and powerful in its range of teaching applications.

Key features of Canvas Conferencing are:  

  1. Flexibility - students can attend the session no matter where they are located geographically  
  2. Presence - the ability to share your webcam, and for students to share theirs, increases the sense of presence that can be missing in online environments  
  3. Document sharing -  this could be anything, from an essay that you wish to discuss with a single student, or a PowerPoint that you wish to talk through with a group

Adobe Connect is also available to some staff, with a similar set of features.

Learn more about Web Conferencing in our online course which is open to all University of Birmingham staff -

Further Reading Bower, M., Dalgarno, B., Kennedy, G.E., Lee, M.J. and Kenney, J., 2015. Design and implementation factors in blended synchronous learning environments: Outcomes from a cross-case analysis. Computers & Education, 86, pp.1-17. [Online] (Links to an external site.)