Canvas Course Design

About Conferences

Canvas has integrated a web conferencing tool called Big Blue Button to extend the learning environment to the virtual space enabling synchronous (real-time) online meetings. Conferences allows users to

  • broadcast live audio and video
  • demo applications on your desktop
  • share presentation slides
  • demo any online resources

Conferences have a number of potential uses for both traditional face-to-face as well as distributed learning situations. Some possible use cases include virtual:

  • lectures
  • office hours
  • student group meetings
  • study groups

Students can even create their own conferences if they have:

  • Access to the Conferences menu item within a course
  • Have been placed within Groups
    The Conferences tool is a standard tool available to Student Groups in Canvas.

To learn more about Conferences in Canvas, feel free to view the Conferences Overview Video and the Conference Tutorials on this page.

Conference Tutorials


For questions about how these features might be implemented into a course design/course activities, please contact Geisel Instructional Technology Staff to schedule a one-on-one session to discuss these tools.

Technology for Teaching

Web Conferencing

Web conferencing or synchronous online conferencing allows students and instructors to meet online and from a distance. Frequent uses for web conferencing include online courses, presentations by lecturers at a distance, small group conferences, and even office hours. Depending on the tool being used, web conferences can be simple, passive engagement or extremely robust, active engagement experiences.

Adobe Connect

Adobe® Connect™ is a web conferencing platform for web meetings, eLearning, and webinars that work on virtually any device. Adobe Connect is currently used in Geisel by TDI, TDC and the Family Medicine Clerkship for both simple and more robust interactions.

Device Agnostic (with limitations)


BlueJeans is a video conferencing service that is device ubiquitous and allows for screen sharing, video sharing, chat and voice.

Device Agnostic

Conferences in Canvas

Conferences in Canvas are primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, synchronous student presentations, and student groups. The tool used by Canvas to provide the Conferences feature is called Big Blue Button.

Google Hangouts

While not built as a web conferencing system, Google Hangouts enables video conferencing and meetings (including screen sharing), text chats and voice calls. Individuals (up to 10) can join from anywhere on any device.

Device Agnostic


WebEx, by Cisco, provides web conferencing, online meeting, video conferencing and webinar applications. How robust the experience is will depend upon the licensed services. WebEx is used at DHMC, but it not a service supported by Geisel.

Device Agnostic (with limitations)


Zoom is a Dartmouth supported video conference system that lets Dartmouth users host engaging meetings and instructional sessions. For more information please refer to the links below. Geisel School of Medicine faculty and staff should contact for additional information and training.


The following are a list of references about the use of web conferencing in teaching and learning.