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Embedded Studio videos don't display thumbnail on iOS

I am a Canvas administrator for a K-8 school.  Our institution purchased Studio thinking that it would be a good tool for teachers to leave video messages for students, especially younger ones.  We are finding that while Studio videos embedded onto course pages display very well on the browser (Mac/Chrome), they only display a yellow bar that says "Launch External Tool" on iOS (iPad Air). This is totally unhelpful for the younger students who are our main tablet user group.  A screenshot is at the bottom of this post.

The videos do play once you click on the yellow bar, but they open on another page.  Conversely, I can embed a YouTube video and see the thumbnail on the page, and the video plays without leaving the page. 

I did a support chat with Canvas and they confirmed that this is expected behavior.  But I feel that I must be missing something, because this just seems so user-unfriendly!  Am I just embedding the videos incorrectly?  Or has anyone found an embed wrapper that will let the videos play within the page?  Thanks for any advice!


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4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi there, @tomokiyo ...

Studio is a paid add-on product offered by Instruture (the company that makes Canvas).  It is not a part of the core Canvas product.  So, this may be why Studio videos embedded on a page appear with a button to tap on in the mobile app.  I can also confirm that I get similar behavior on my iPhone 11 Pro Max.  I'm assuming the reason you are using Studio is so you can get the "Insights" on the video to see which of your student are or are not watching it.

I hope this is of some help to you.  Sing out if you have any other questions...thanks!  Take care, stay safe, and be well.

Hello again, @tomokiyo ...

I think I may have found a work-around for you ... after doing a bit more digging.  However, I don't think you'd be able to get the "Insights" from your students that are watching the video if that is important to you.  Here's what you'd want to do:

  1. Grab the embed code from your Studio video: How do I get a public link or embed code for media... - Canvas Community
  2. Add the embed code into your Canvas course page.
  3. Save the page.

I tested this on my iPhone again, and this time the button was not there to tap on.  It appeared like a YouTube video with a normal "Play" button, and the video played as expected on my phone.

Do you think this would be a workable solution for you?


Thanks @chofer, this is very helpful.  The reason that we are using Studio is to avoid YouTube - mainly because if we link to a YouTube video, even if it's embedded, students can then go down the rabbit hole of YouTube.  I tried out the instructions for embedding a Studio video on a Canvas page, but it requires that the link be made public.  We can't do that for teacher privacy reasons - if they are uploading a video lesson, for example, we don't want that to be public.  I was hoping that I might be able to make the link public momentarily to grab the embed code and then make it private again, but that does break the link. 

Hello again, @tomokiyo ...

I'm not sure if the word "public" acts exactly the same as how it works for YouTube videos.  I know that there are three main states for a YouTube video: public, unlisted, and private.  Public means they are viewable to everyone.  Unlisted means that only people with the link have access to the video.  Private means that only you would have access to the video in your YouTube account.  I could be wrong, but I *think* the "public" option in Canvas Studio operates more like the "unlisted" option in YouTube.  Students would need to have the link that is generated in Studio in order to watch it outside of Canvas.  But, you're instead embedding the video in the course using the directions I gave you...which is a bit different than the public link.  (Technically, you could take that embed code and use it on a website outside of Canvas...such as a personal blog site, for example.)  So, with your video lessons, even if you went to that screen to harvest the public link or the embed code, they would need to know that exact address or the HTML that it provides to you.  There isn't anywhere else I can think of that the end user would be able to get that kind of information.

Does this help at all?  Looking forward to hearing back from you.