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Community Coach
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Canvas Conferences on Canvas Student

There are two features that have been part of Canvas for a long, long, long time that haven't worked on mobile. Conferences and Collaborations. While I don't have anything new to report for Collaborations, there has been some significant movement with Conferences. 

While at InstructureCarn 2018, I spent some time at the Canvas Mobile booth and saw  @ffdixon ‌ quite a bit. It got me thinking if Conferences would soon be part of the mobile experience? 

Well, In the latest release of the Canvas Student app for Android,  @KristinL ‌ brought to my attention that the following was in the recent notes: 

- Added support for viewing Conferences

So, I started to dig a little further and this is what I found out. 

  • Access to the mobile version of Conferences has actually been available for a little while, but now Android was getting a direct way to access this feature through the app. 
  • This feature is available for iOS as well but wasn't highlighted in any recent updates. 
  • Accessing conferences inside the apps is still not a straight-forward experience 

Conference on Android inside Canvas Student: 


Conferences on iOS: 

Conferences doesn't open up directly in the Canvas Student app but instead pushes you out to Safari. 


The process to access Conferences still needs some work: 

On Android, when a user taps on the Conferences button, they are brought to a squished web view and have to search around for the button to join a conference. 


Once joined, you get the experience described above. 

On iOS, the process adds one more step. When the user taps on the Conferences tool, they are prompted to open Safari and then navigate a squished web view to join a conference. 


Now, I have confidence that this process will get better over time as a mobile version of Conferences is a newer feature.

What do you think about this? Does opening up Conferences to mobile devices make your teaching/learning/admin life better? 

3 Replies

Hi  Ryan,

Thanks for your feedback! 

I am the product manager for BigBlueButton and, while I work for Blindside Networks -- the company that started the BigBlueButton project -- and I can't speak for Instructure, I can respond to your question.

> Access to the mobile version of Conferences has actually been available for a little while, but now Android was getting a direct way to access this feature through the app. 

We released the HTML5 mobile client for students on September 15, 2018.  See Canvas Release Notes (2018-09-15)

Today, the mobile client implements all the viewer capabilities except two-way webcams (that will come in a future release).   Here's a breakdown of capabilities for the viewer between the HTML5 mobile client and Flash web client.


(*) To view the screen on the HTML5 client the presenter must use WebRTC base screen sharing -- this was also released on September 15th (read: you no longer need Java to share your screen in FireFox or Chrome).

Looking ahead, we are now focused on implementing the remaining moderator/presenter capabilities in the HTML5 client.  Once the HTML5 client reaches feature parity with the Flash client, it will be possible to switch all users of Canvas Conferences to pure HTML5. 

We expect to reach this goal on (or before) April 31, 2019.   Today, as the HTML5 client and Flash client can co-exist in the same session (they both show the same content), we should be able to make this a smooth transition.

> Accessing conferences inside the apps is still not a straight-forward experience 

I agree. 

There has already been initial work by the mobile team to make the launching of Conferences easier -- specifically to make Conferences appear as any other item in the iOS and Android client.  Here's a look at a developer build of student mobile launching Canvas Conferences. 

Note: I emphasize this is a developer build and the final version may have a different workflow, such as launching externally to Safari instead of within the mobile client.


Our goal is the same as yours: to make it easy for users to access Canvas Conferences from within the mobile client, both for launching into sessions and viewing recordings.

There is still work ahead, but we are making progress.

Regards,... Fred


BigBlueButton Developer

(I also moonlight as the CEO of Blindside Networks)

 @ffdixon ‌,

Thanks for the reply, this is very helpful. I'm well aware of the developer version as well and like what I've tested already. This is a big win for the mobile experience. Thanks again! 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Conferences are now natively available in the Canvas Student app version 6.7:

Canvas Student Release Notes (iOS 6.7)

Canvas Student Release Notes (Android 6.7)