Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted all of us in some way. Many schools are scrambling to figure out how to deliver quality education in an online environment that doesn’t overly disrupt the learning experience. Some of our Canvas partners have built tools specifically geared to support distance learning and video conferencing. Here are a few that we believe can help make learning easier during this difficult time.
Canvas Web Conferencing Tool – Free
Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) is the built-in virtual classroom solution for Canvas. While BigBlueButton is free, there is concern that extreme increases in usage could cause performance issues. As an alternative, BigBlueButton Premium Hosting, which includes unlimited downloads and recordings, is available with a pay-as-you-go option to help meet temporary customer needs.
There are other virtual classroom options that are also available to use in Canvas. We partner with amazing education technology companies and are working hard, together with them, to provide alternatives in the event that BigBlueButton is unable to scale to meet current or future demands due to Coronavirus. Below are some partners who are offering discounted or free services during this crisis.
Zoom – Free Basic
Zoom is temporarily lifting the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus. Zoom Free Basic allows teachers to create conferences outside of Canvas and copy that link to their Canvas courses.
We heard from many of you that an integration with Microsoft Teams would be immensely useful now and into the future. As of March 16, Microsoft Teams meetings are integrated into Canvas to ensure administrators, educators, and students can remain connected.Canvas customers with Microsoft accounts can create audio and video conference calls (meetings) using the Microsoft Teams integration with Canvas for free (Microsoft Teams is included in Office 365 A1, which is free for educational institutions).
Google Hangouts Meet
If you would like to connect with students using Google Hangouts Meet as your conferencing tool, you have the ability to add a Hangout to your Canvas Course, Course Announcement, or Module. The Google Meet will start when you join and will run until all users leave. You do not have to update the link to start a new session. When you’re ready for your next class to start, the same link will create a new Google Meet.
Google is rolling out free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including:
– Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
– Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
– The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
Quick Start User Guide
Pronto is a frictionless communication hub that connects teachers and students via chat and video. The platform can accommodate 400 concurrent users in a session. In an effort to support those colleges and universities going online, Pronto is now available for teachers at no cost for the remainder of the Spring and Summer semesters.
In addition to these great virtual conferencing solutions, Instructure has partnered with hundreds of other technology providers, many of which are making special accommodations to support educators during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can learn more about what some of our partners are doing to help on the coronavirus resource website.
Regardless of the tools or strategies you deploy to navigate the challenges that this virus brings, Instructure is committed to your success and the success of every learner.