Live lectures through Canvas modules are called “Conferences”. This uses a live online meeting tool called Big Blue Button which is integrated into Canvas.

Your lecturer can use these live lectures to hold a shared online room with you where they can present, speak to you, answer questions, share files and links and generally support you. These are the equivalent of your face-to-face lectures for remote teaching.

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Conferences are scheduled in advance, so it is recommended that you check the "Conferences" tab in your module in Canvas regularly to check when a conference is due to take place.  It is also recommended that you join a conference a few minutes beforehand to setup your microphone, etc.

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To participate in a conference in Canvas, you should ideally have:

  • A set of headphones (your computer may have speakers, but these can cause acoustic feedback if they are close to the microphone and your microphone is on).

Depending on your lecturer's running of the lecture, you may also use a microphone and/ or webcam:

  • Your lecturer may wish to give you the option to use your microphone so that you can speak in a conference, to ask questions, etc. If this is the case, it is recommended that you try to use a microphone if possible (your computer may have a microphone, but these are rarely of good quality)
  • A webcam may be useful, but this is not a necessity.

Big Blue Button will open through your browser. The recommended browsers are:

  • Desktop/Laptop: Chrome, Firefox or Edge (latest versions)
  • Mobile iOS (12.2+): Safari Mobile
  • Mobile Android (6.0+): Chrome Mobile

Please note that at this time the IE and legacy EDGE browsers are not supported



The following settings are recommended for all users connecting to BigBlueButton via desktop or laptop device:

For computer, you need a laptop or desktop computer with (at least) 2G of memory and a 1Ghz processor (any computer bought in the last five years should be fine). 

  1. For bandwidth, you must have at least 0.5 Mbits/second upstream and 1 Mbits/second downstream.  To check bandwidth use, https://speedtest.net/.
  2. For browsers, we recommend Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox or Microsoft Edge.  You can also use Safari on Mac OS X, but you will not be able to use the screen sharing feature .
  3. For audio, we strongly recommend using a headset.  A headset will ensure that others can hear your voice clearly and you don’t cause echo or background noise for others.  You do not need to buy an expensive one -- any basic headset with a built-in microphone will work.   

A laptop with a built-in webcam and microphone will be sufficient as well if you’re in a quiet area.