New and improved Canvas and Digital tools features for the new Academic Year

Over the summer there have been several changes to Canvas and our other digital tools used for Teaching and Learning, that as a member of staff you should learn more about. There are also some useful reminders to help you as you return to campus teaching.

Hybrid Teaching Rooms

Sixty-six Hybrid teaching spaces will be available from the start of term where students can access the same live teaching session in real time online and in the room, (synchronous delivery). Access to the rooms is managed through timetabling.

Visit our Hybrid Teaching Room Hub for guidance on using the Hybrid room equipment, teaching in a Hybrid Room, what to expect as a student, FAQs, Room tracker (detailing Hybrid rooms) and to ask any further questions. You can also access digital familiarisation tours and book on to a familiarisation session or access time to practice with the equipment in the rooms. Essential recourses if you are scheduled to teach a session in a Hybrid room. 

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Live streaming in non-Hybrid teaching rooms 

The Hybrid teaching rooms are fully equipped for Hybrid teaching; in other standard rooms you may still want to live stream your lectures for students unable to attend in person.

All main teaching spaces across campus are enabled to use Panopto to live stream your session. This is can be simply enabled at the same time as recording with Panopto.

From the start of teaching on 27th September 2021, standard teaching rooms will also be enabled to run Zoom from the lectern PC.

There is information on ‘how to live stream in a standard room’ using Panopto and Zoom on the Hybrid teaching room hub.

Both options will be a broadcast experience, but not a fully Hybrid experience.

The advantages are:

  • Students can watch the webcast live, listen to the lecturer and view any presentation content displayed on the room screens.
  • Audio from the presenter microphones is captured.
  • Students can type questions via the Panopto discussion area or Zoom chat.
  • On Zoom students can choose to connect their audio and video and this can be displayed on the screen in the room.

​​​​The considerations are:

  • Panopto webcasts have a 20 to 40 second delay. 
  • Most standard teaching rooms do not have cameras installed for lecturer or students.
  • There are no audience microphones.

Reminder about Panopto Quick Start Lecture Capture


A reminder that Quick Start Lecture Capture is available in main teaching spaces (of a capacity of 25+) across campus, allowing you to record your lectures in just a few clicks and automatically releasing them onto Canvas. Anything displayed on the projection screen is captured. Find out more about Quick Start lecture capture.

For sessions in the Hybrid Teaching rooms you should record your session using Zoom. See the Hybrid Teaching Room Hub for more information.

For live streamed Panopto sessions you will not be able to use the Quick Start system. 

Immersive Reader released

Microsoft Immersive Reader has been released throughout Canvas. You’ll see the button in the top right-hand corner in Canvas pages. Students also have access to the immersive reader.
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Immersive Reader boosts reading and comprehension of written contents on a webpage by highlighting specific lines of text, adjusting text size, spacing and page theme, breaking down words by syllable, noun, verb, adjective, adverb and visualising words through illustration. It supports students with learning differences like Dyslexia with text decoding solutions and helps English as an Additional Language readers build confidence and understanding with written English. It is also available in the Microsoft suite of tools. 

Find out more about using Immersive Reader in Canvas

Wider range of Pronouns available in Canvas

After consultation with the Guild of Students a wider set of personal pronouns are now available to be used in Canvas. These now include She/Her; He/Him; They/Them; She/They; He/They

These can be enabled by users in their own Canvas profile.

Turning Point web polling


The University has an Institutional license for Turning Point polling. Turning Point now has a fully web enabled version for simple polling on any device. Please visit our guidance pages on Turning Point Polling. 

Reminder from IT Services - Zoom recording retention limit 365 days

When you record a Zoom meeting set up through Canvas the recording of the meeting will be automatically transferred to the Panopto folder for that Canvas course.

For all other Zoom meetings, the recording will remain in your Zoom account. These recordings are only kept for 365 days. For any Zoom recordings required for teaching which are only stored in Zoom, please ensure that you transfer the recording to Panopto before the recording retention period elapses. Please visit our guidance on Uploading content to Panopto.

New refreshed guidance pages

HEFi is pleased to announce the release of its new look Teaching and Learning Guidance, available through our website. Fully searchable self-paced guidance on teaching and learning, the University of Birmingham adaptable teaching framework, and digital tools such as Canvas and Panopto. Take some time to explore all the resources we have to offer.

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