Gregory Beyrer

Use Conferences with something besides Big Blue Button

Discussion created by Gregory Beyrer Champion on Apr 28, 2016
Latest reply on Jun 15, 2016 by M. Ricardo Flores


The Conferences tool should be able to connect to a synchronous interaction tool besides Big Blue Button.


Describe your idea

Canvas has a tool called "Conferences" that serves the purpose of synchronous interactions within the class. It is connected to a third-party service called Big Blue Button. This works well enough, with screen sharing, an interactive whiteboard, text chat, video and audio interaction, etc. However, it requires a paid subscription to retain recordings for longer than fourteen days (!) and does not appear to have an easy way to invite a live amanuensis.


This might not be a problem because we can use a system like ConferNow to meet the same interest (especially once accommodations are *easy* to make with ConferNow). This is true except that the Conference tool cannot be linked to another service besides Big Blue Button, at least according to the Canvas Guides. Why not just train instructors not to use Conferences? Because the Groups tool *always* includes a link to Conferences and this cannot be disabled by the instructor. So any instructor who uses the Groups tool in Canvas will expose students to a tool that is not universally accessible and drops recordings after fourteen days.


I guess the answer is to disable the Conferences tool at the sysadmin level, but it would be nice if that tool could be connected to a service of our choice.


How will this idea benefit CCC users?

We already provide ConferNow to our colleges, which meets the needs of our faculty and students for synchronous online communication. It is already possible to link from Canvas to a ConferNow Meeting, but connecting it to a Canvas tool will make it easier for us to use. This is especially important for classes that use the Groups tool, as having ready access to a fully supported synchronous communication tool provides an additional place for them to complete their work.