Covid-19 LSA teaching and learning remotely frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers

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Content last updated 2020-03-17 09:50
Page last edited 2020-06-29
For the most current version of this content, refer to the version in Google Docs.

The purpose of this article is for faculty and instructors to post or find queries and solutions to specific challenges of remote teaching. Please send your questions to We will add the question and answer to this document as soon as we are able. For the most current version of this content, refer to the version in Google Docs.

Webinar links

Critical issues

Information for successful remote teaching for students with disabilities

Please start with this information from Accessibility Experts at Michigan. We will add more information as it becomes available.

Preventing BlueJeans problems


If you want to use BlueJeans for videoconferencing, you must log in at to create your BlueJeans account.

We’ve seen repeated cases now where folks are going to and creating trial (and limited-feature) accounts with their U-M logins. With those non-U-M logins people miss out on important features (such as BlueJeans sessions that include up to 150 people). The non-U-M logins actually creates a significant problem with competing accounts on the BlueJeans system that takes some manual labor to correct. We need to minimize that and improve the experience for our users (and the speed at which they can get up and running.) If you find that you’ve inadvertently created a trial account, point your browser to and click on the Live Chat button at lower right. It may take a few minutes to get through, as they are extremely busy right now. Explain to the support agent what happened and they’ll get it fixed within a few minutes.

Telephone connection issues

Those attempting to connect using a telephone and the on-campus 734.763.1841 number may have experienced problems on Monday, March 16. This was due to the extreme load that we were putting on the AT&T circuits supplying the campus. That issue has now been addressed and you may again use that number for audio-only connections to BlueJeans.

The BlueJeans app remains the best choice for connecting to a BlueJeans Meeting, providing Dolby noise reduction and all the App plug-in features like Breakout Rooms and the Whiteboard. After that, browser use is a next-best choice.

For other dial-in numbers, the regional USA phone numbers are preferred over the toll-free number, as the cost of the toll-free numbers lands on the university. If you are abroad and need a phone-line connection, choose one of their other numbers covering 68 countries around the world.

Best practices from LSA faculty

Brenda Gunderson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Statistics, produced a Video Introducing Students to What the Online Stats 250 will be Like Going Forward: Lecture, Labs, Office Hours, Homework, Exams, and more.

Bibliography and resources

Useful information from other U-M schools, colleges, and other units

What are useful articles and resources from other institutions?


Are LSA classrooms open while in-person classes are being held?

Yes. If you are scheduling lecture capture in a classroom during your “regular” class time, the room will be open. Similarly, you can use your “regular” class time for any synchronous activities — BlueJeans or Canvas Conferences.

If the classroom is free on the calendar — see the Room Schedule in the Classroom Database — you are welcome to use it. If you want to hold your own classes in an open time slot, please have your department make that request through the Registrar’s Office.

Please don’t take a time slot when another class is scheduled in that room — especially if you want to use lecture capture.

We are looking into easy ways to make more classrooms available to people, but don’t have anything identified yet. Please bear with us as we work through these things.

What is Technology Services doing to keep the classroom podiums clean?

UPDATE: LSA Facilities and Technology Services are coordinating with Building Services to have Building Services use their heavy duty disinfectant on the keyboards and podium top and keyboard trays! They have instructions from Technology Services on how to clean keyboards without frying them. We will keep a stock of keyboards (and talk with IT about ordering more), in case any get damaged with the cleaning.

Building Services is coordinating with Environmental Health and Safety on their plans, if there were to be any confirmed cases and how they would do deep cleaning in buildings.

Under normal circumstances, Tech Services Classroom Teams clean the podiums and keyboards in classrooms twice each semester: once at the beginning of the semester, once in the middle of the semester. We use Healthcare grade Hydrogen Peroxide wipes that kill the toughest flu viruses and also kills the human corona virus.

Given the news around Covid-19 coronavirus, it is not surprising that people are nervous, worried, and more aware of cleanliness around them. The good news is, there is currently no evidence of Covid-19 on campus or in the State of Michigan. We will continue to watch for information from Dr. Robert Ernst, Executive Director of University Health Service and Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness in Student Life on the status and impact on the campus, if there are any changes.

If there are concerns about general classroom cleanliness and computer cleanliness, please don’t hesitate to report issues to Technology Services at 734.615.0100 (Prompt 1) or email

Is anyone sanitizing door knobs and other surfaces in the classrooms?

Building Services is switching from regular cleaner to a disinfectant. They will spray door handles, light switches, restrooms, water fountain handles, etc.

The disinfectant cleaner can over time build up and feel sticky. If people complain about the stickiness, it isn’t because it is dirty, but because the cleaner is building up. If faculty let Technology Services or LSA Facilities know, we will report those rooms to Building Services; they will then clean with old spray cleaner and then follow with more disinfectant.


Students aren’t able to come to class

Q: I’m a faculty member with students who aren’t able to come to class. Where do I start?

A: The LSA Technology Services Teaching Remotely Site has a information available on where to start, how to use technology to teach remotely, and best practices for teaching.

Two good places to start are:

If you aren’t sure how to get started with all of the information, email to and we’ll connect you to the staff with the best answers.

Faculty not able to come to campus

Q: I’m a faculty member who needs to self-quarantine. Where do I start?

A: Talk with your department about your status and work with them on the most appropriate solution.

The LSA Technology Services Teaching Remotely Site has a information available on where to start, how to use technology to teach remotely, and best practices for teaching.

Two good places to start are:

If you have additional questions or concerns about teaching off-site, email to and we’ll connect you with someone who can help guide you.

NINI Grant funding deadline

We're going to make the NINI Grant a rolling deadline up to the middle of May. If people need to get funds earlier to start work earlier, then we will get to those sooner.

Anyone who isn't in a hurry will be able to wait until the middle of May.

We haven't been able to update the website yet, though. So feel free to share this news with anyone you know thinking about NINI grant funding! :^)

Laptops for instructors and faculty

Q: I’d like to work and teach remotely and do not have a laptop, what can I do to acquire a laptop?

A: Luckily most LSA tenure track faculty have laptops or computers available in their homes, if they have to teach off site. Some lecturers and GISs will have challenges teaching remotely, if they do not have departmentally provided laptop. Here are some options for those teaching staff:

  • Consider using the Videocasting Studio in the MLB Media Center or using video conferencing in the Collaboration Rooms in the MLB Media Center (2nd Floor MLB) to teach remotely to students off campus.
  • For Faculty: Departments may want to consider alternatives on who will teach courses remotely, if someone without a laptop is self-quarantined or unable to teach from campus. Is there a faculty coordinator who can teach all sections, rather than relying on lecturers without laptops?
  • For Staff: Verify with your department that remote work is appropriate and then discuss with them what your options are.
  • LSA Technology Services does have a small number of laptops available for checkout to faculty and instructors. Call 734.615.0100 )(Prompt 2)
  • Departments may want to consider reallocating departmental computing funds to purchase laptops instead of desktop computers for instructors without laptops. They should work through the processes they use for other computer requests throughout the year.


Q: I haven’t used Canvas yet for my small seminar, what do I need to do to start using Canvas?

A: Please reach out to the Learning and Teaching Consultants in LSA Technology Services at; either one of the consultants will connect with you or a BlueCorps assistant will be able to meet with you and help you get set up.

There are also online training session being offered by various units on campus. SEE the Teaching and Technology Collaborative listing at


Q: I use iClicker in my classes. How do I do iClicker questions if I have students participating remotely live (e.g., through videoconferencing or streaming)?

A: If you are using iClicker Cloud, students will be able to respond to questions as usual, though there will be a with a delay for video transmission. Be sure you leave your poll open an extra minute.

If you are using iClicker Classic, you will need to choose a replacement tool: iClicker Cloud, or the polling tool native to your video conferencing platform. Please reach out to the Learning and Teaching Consultants in LSA Technology Services at if you would like help deciding.

SPSS and alternatives to SPSS — R and R Commander

Q: SPSS is not allowed on personal computers and SPSS is way too expensive for students to purchase on their own. What are some ways to use SPSS or alternatives for students to use?

A: SPSS is available to students as IBM SPSS through Virtual Sites. There are almost 100 different pieces of software to students through Virtual Sites. Faculty should review the software to ensure it has the features needed for assignments.

Because of the challenges many faculty are facing with student access to SPSS, some have changed over to R. R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS.

If you are interested in R and R Commander as an alternative to SPSS, review these excellent videos on a variety of topics graciously shared by Brenda Gunderson and her colleagues in the Statistics Department. The videos are specific to Stats 250, but you will not only see the capability of R, but also have insight into how to introduce students to new concepts and assignments.

To download R to a personal Mac or a PC, follow these directions at the Technology Services website, under “Requesting Service.”

R is frequently updated and the download information regularly has to be tweaked. If you have any trouble at all, please let us know at 734.615.0100 or email

Sharing for large files for course projects and uploading for grading/collaboration

Q: We are trying to collaborate on video production with students as part of a Film and Television course. This involved large amounts of data needing to be transferred to, from, and between students. What ways can this be done?

A: There are a couple of solutions. One specific to large data and another involving ways for remote students to get connected to move large data around if they don't have good enough connection options at home for such large files.

Moving data around

U-M users can share files with each other using a service called 'Filetransfer' that can accept up to 9TB of files and keep them for up to two weeks. This should allow your students to share files with you and each other. Please note that any large file transfers over networked resources can take a LONG time. With Filetransfer they can see the files they have uploaded with a simple click of a "My Files" button and then send them to others if they wish.


Globus is another good option for doing this but the setup is a bit more involved. Technology Services staff would need to assist you with that. Please call 734.615.0100 (Prompt 2) for assistance.

Moving large files

Moving large files often requires a better internet connection than some have in their homes. What might work fine for basic interactions may not work well for Video Projects or other large data sets. This is essentially getting onto the freeway where you have a clearer path for that data to travel.

People still need the initial connection to the internet, this just gets them in the fast lane.

For getting connected when not in Ann Arbor, anyone with a uniqname and password can access eduRoam networks, worldwide. If students return home and do not have good internet access, they could visit any eduRoam site and login with their U-M credentials (uniqname@umich,edu and password). They don't need to go into the facility, just nearby. In Europe and other places around the world, there are public open spaces near universities that have strong eduRoam signals. They can be located using the eduRoam web site.

Please call 734.615.0100 (Prompt 2) for assistance.

Teaching and learning remotely

Nice resources on teaching strategies and suggestions from Academic Innovation on remote teaching

Help your students prepare and adjust their study habits

Teaching remotely with recorded videos

Lecture Capture and alternatives to Lecture Capture

Q: I don’t see my classroom on the list of rooms with Lecture Capture. How can I request it to be added? My classroom doesn’t have lecture capture yet? What can I do?

A: LSA Technology Services is adding lecture capture to larger classrooms as quickly as we are able. If you are in a large classroom (>50) and are interested in lecture capture, please send an email to with the building, room number, and your course and section number (e.g. ECON 100 001). We can’t promise we’ll get it into your room, but any rooms that have been brought to our attention will be prioritized to the best of our ability.

For smaller rooms, or for larger rooms while you wait for lecture capture to be installed, there are options using Kaltura Capture in the classroom. It is a rather bare bones solution, but it is a way to get a recording of the lecture and then share it with your students. Email and our Learning Technology Consultants will walk you through the basics and connect you with a technician if assistance is needed.

Q: I teach in a room that doesn’t have lecture capture. Am I out of luck or do I have options?

A: One option you still have is to stream or teach the course live with your students via BlueJeans from the podium computer, from your laptop, or from a computer in your home, if that is where you will be. If using the podium computer, you will need to secure a microphone, and perhaps a camera, as well, in order to be seen and heard.

Another option is to use Kaltura to record your class from your own laptop and then upload it to Canvas. See below.

Q: Is the link sent for the lecture capture recording the one to send to students?

A: No. Faculty will need to enable lecture recordings in the Canvas Settings menu by going to the Navigation tab, clicking on Lecture Recordings, then selecting enable. For assistance email or call 734.615.0100 (Prompt 1).

Q: When my students try to view the Lecture Recordings, they get an error. Are my recordings lost?

A: These errors only apply to the ability to view the lecture recordings. This is not affecting any recordings stored within the system or any that are currently being made. If 24 hours have passed and you or your students are still unable to access the desired lecture recordings, please send a message to with the full course, catalog, and section number (e.g., ECON 100 001) of the class site experiencing this issue.

Kaltura Capture — Great resource from ITS

ITS has a nice, easy to follow page on how to create a lecture recording with Kaltura Capture for delivery in Canvas. They have step by step instructions and screen shots of what you see on your computer.

Recording Kaltura lectures from home

Recording a lecture, demonstration, message, lesson via Kaltura Capture:

  1. Log in to Canvas (
  2. Go to Account in the sidebar and select My Media. Click on “Add New” at the top right.
  3. Select “Kaltura Capture” (download app when prompted, the first time you do this).
  4. When app toolbar appears, drag it somewhere handy (bottom right), cue up your presentation, and hit the red “Record” button.
  5. Hit the gray “Stop” button when you’re done.
  6. Add a title and hit Save and Upload.
  7. For more information, direct instructors to the tutorials' Direct URL,

Media and video clips in classes with teaching remotely

Q: I use videos and media in my classes. I just learned those films and videos aren’t included in the lecture capture or streaming. What options do I have to get the film content to the students?

A1: U-M Library Video Subscriptions, Streaming and Clips.

UPDATE: Please see their Google Doc for more information about U-M Library Video Subscriptions, Streaming, and Clips.

The U-M Libraries maintain subscriptions to several streaming services including Swank. Check with the Libraries first, to see if the material you use is available through them.

Contact Jeffrey Pearson <> (or Laura Brubacher <> if they are teaching a language class) about films from any of the U-M Library Services. Faculty can also make a request through the Swank website that is forwarded to the U-M Library by the Swank folks. Contacting Jeff Pearson directly is the quickest way. They usually can get access to Swank films in one day.

If you teach a media-rich course and use many clips, you may find it best to digitize those clips and include them in an activity within Canvas. Please connect with one of the Technology Services Learning and Teaching Consultants ( or the U-M Copyright Office (at U-M Library) to talk about clips and copyright/fair use of those clips.

If you think you may need to teach a class entirely remotely, please reach out to the Technology Services Learning and Teaching Consultants ( They can walk you through the decisions of what is best taught synchronously and what is best taught asynchronously, and what can be included in Canvas.

A2: Digitize Video Clips at Home. In order to digitize clips you'll need a computer that can play a DVD. There are many options available, we found this LG from Amazon for $25 to be very dependable.

You will need a video capture software program. In Adobe Cloud Adobe Premiere Pro can capture video and audio. Adobe cloud can be found here , scroll to center of page, click "Get Access to Adobe Creative Cloud," and U-M credentials are required.

Once downloaded:

  1. Open Premiere Pro.
  2. Click New Project.
  3. At this window, name your project, check capture format (down arrow for options) HDV, DV or device being used for capture (external DVD player), click OK.
  4. You should see the video and if it's playing you'll hear the audio or at least see the audio meters, lower right corner, moving up and down.
  5. Press the red record button.
  6. When you reach the end of the desired clip press stop.

The video will be saved to your desktop.

You can now upload the video clip to Dropbox at U-M, Google Drive, or Canvas to share with others or to playback in class.

Teaching remotely with video conferencing and other live (synchronous) tools

Video conferencing and connecting with BlueJeans and Canvas Conferences

Q: I’m having trouble figuring out BlueJeans and want to use it for my seminar. Where can I get some instructions that were written for teaching?

A: Read this Google Doc with information about using Umich BlueJeans for your classes.

Contact the Videoconferencing Group at or 734.647.1534 about preparing yourself, your GSIs, and your students ready to teach in this way.

Contact the Learning and Teaching Technology Consultants at to discuss what will work best for your course.

Q: I don’t have enough bandwidth at my location to do videoconferencing. My wireless is really bad in my apartment. What options do I have to still participate in classes/meetings/discussions?

A: For BlueJeans Make sure you are logging in at to create your BlueJeans account and BlueJeans meetings!

In Canvas Conferences you can reduce bandwidth need by using an audio-only phone call. Instructors should enter the conference beforehand to get the code for the room and share that with students. Dial — in the US, 1.863.208.0022; in Canada, 1.613.317.3321; in both cases, long distance charges may apply — and enter the numeric pass code of the conference.

The meeting ID is available only once the meeting has been started. When joining over a data network, you may choose to send lower-quality video from your end when joining, which will save some bandwidth.

BlueJeans also provides phone numbers for audio-only dial-in connections from 68 countries. Numbers are available at It is also possible to join with your computer while using the phone network for the audio, or switch over to phone audio during the meeting. On unstable data networks, phone audio is generally a better way to go.

When connected via the BlueJeans mobile apps, you may swipe up to reduce the bandwidth of the connection. This disables your camera and reduces data need.

Additionally, all BlueJeans apps use a communications protocol that automatically reduces the quality of the video as bandwidth degrades, even turning it off, if needed, in order to maintain good audio. Overall, BlueJeans demands far less bandwidth than products such as Skype and is an excellent choice for low-bandwidth locations. Locations that otherwise struggle to do videoconferencing often do fine with BlueJeans.

If your class is available only via videoconference or stream, speak to your instructor as soon as possible about alternatives. Sharing slides or other content ahead of time through Canvas will reduce data needs during a live class. Pre-shared slides also make audio-only connections over a telephone far more useful. It may also be possible for the instructor or GSIs to write up summaries or record lectures for later download. Some discussions might be moved online to a written format inside of Canvas, as an alternative to live discussion over a videoconference connection.

In-class discussion, discussion sections, and seminars that are discussion-based courses

Q: Class participation is a major part of the grade for this course. What do I need to consider, if some or all of my students aren’t able to come to campus?

A: Discussions can still be held, either synchronously through BlueJeans videoconferencing or Canvas Chat, or asynchronously through Canvas Discussions. Contact the Learning and Teaching Technology Consultants at to discuss what will work best for your course.

Virtual office hours

Q: How do I hold Virtual Office Hours??

A: [We have great information on Virtual Office Hours in Google Docs.

BlueJeans Information

Q: vs — Does it make a difference?

A: Yes. gives U-M faculty, students, and staff lots of flexibility and options. The features available to the general public from the are much more limited.

Everyone must login to BlueJeans through the U-M portal to use the service. Do not create a trial account at the main BlueJeans website with your email account.

Log in at

Q: Oh No! I accidentally set up an account at and NOT a Umich BlueJeans Account at Now it is telling me I am limited to 25 participants!! And even though I tried emailing, I can’t get through to anyone in LSA to help. What do I do?!?!

A: If you can’t connect with, you can contact BlueJeans Network (BJN) support at Use the Live Chat at lower right and ask them to convert the account you made to a University of Michigan account.

Q: Oh No! I accidentally set up an account at with my GMAIL or Yahoo account and NOT my UMich Account at Now it is telling me I am limited to 25 participants!!

A: If you used a different email account, then you won’t have a conflict but the account is very limited. Please login to with your UMICH identity to take advantage of the University’s premium license.

Q: What are the limits of people in BlueJeans?

A: You can have 150 locations in BlueJeans Meetings (that’s the product name).

BlueJeans focusses on 150 locations because you could potentially have multiple people at each location.

For BlueJeans Events, it’s a 150-location meeting participants plus up to 15000 on the stream as Attendees. BlueJeans Events one-way live streaming requires special set up. Contact the LSA Videoconferencing Group at for assistance and to request start up.

Using BlueJeans for classes

Q: How do I hold Virtual Classes with U-M BlueJeans

A: BlueJeans, with Dolby Voice audio for clarity, is a great choice where you want to teach live and interactively with your students. It will connect with most computers, mobile devices, and even telephones with phone numbers for audio-only connections in 68 countries around the world.

Smaller classes which have lots of discussion are great with BlueJeans Meetings.

Other classes, such as large lectures or classes using group discussions, also work great, but may benefit from assistance while setting them up. BlueJeans Events can be used to teach large (150+-student) lectures live and interactively. Here is detailed information on holding virtual classes with BlueJeans. Contact the LSA Videoconferencing Group at for assistance and advice.

How do I use BlueJeans? Where do I go for training?

ITS (central IT) has arranged for a variety of training sessions on BlueJeans Meetings and Events over the next couple of weeks. At least some of them will be offered directly from BlueJeans and recordings will be posted if you cannot make the scheduled times. More information is on their training site.

BlueJeans for small group discussions — Breakout rooms for discussions

Q: My class relies significantly on small group discussions. Can we do this with BlueJeans or do I have to find another tool? Will this be hard to do?

A: Both BlueJeans and Canvas Conferences support “breakout rooms,” which are small-group videoconference sessions within the all-class session. Breakout Rooms in BlueJeans are very easy to launch, with random assignment being the easiest way to go, but you can also assign students to specific rooms easily using drag and drop. If you wish to hold these discussions asynchronously, you can also make Group Discussions in Canvas. Learn more about BlueJeans Breakout rooms.

“Raising hand” in BlueJeans Events and BlueJeans Meetings/BlueJeans Classes

Q: Can someone please let me know how we can enable "Raise Hand" in BlueJeans?

A; The term "Raise hand" is in BlueJeans Events only. It is a feature for "Attendees" who are on the 15-second delay stream and is used to indicate that they wish to be "promoted" to an active 'Participant' who can be seen and heard by all. It is not what people may have seen in Adobe Connect, where that term is used for asking to be called on to text/video chat.

In a regular BlueJeans Meeting (the BlueJeans we all use for classes and meetings with the link), this function (i.e., “I'd like attention” or “I have a question”) can be served by the Chat window. I saw a History class on Wednesday where the prof ran it with 60+ students in BlueJeans Meetings, used Breakout Rooms for discussion, and used the Chat window for “I want next,” basically. It worked great!

Using the chat room to handle questions and comments was included in the Using BlueJeans for Teaching document from the beginning. See the detailed information on holding virtual classes with BlueJeans. Contact the LSA Videoconferencing Group at for assistance and advice.

Troubleshooting and avoiding problems in BlueJeans

“Mute Your Mics!” The biggest problem with BlueJeans is when people don’t mute their microphones and you get feedback through multiple systems. That’s WHY you get the Echo that is so confusing and annoying. If everyone mutes their microphones and then pushes on to talk and pushes off when done, then you can have very successful classes and discussions with lots of people participating. If you have to, have everyone pretend they are in a large room with Push-to-Talk Microphones in front of them. You will have a much more successful class.

Q: What happens if someone gets the warning screen in BlueJeans with the message "to join the room, dial the IP for the room, enter pairing code"? Is it trying to connect to a wireless display?

A: It is likely that someone clicked the "join using room system" link. The best solution is to exit and then start over and then not clicking on room system option.

Teaching scenarios — Practical examples with BlueJeans, Lecture Capture, and classroom equipment

Teaching Scenario 1: I Want to Post Lecture Capture from My Regular Classroom AND Still Have a Live Component that Students Can Tune-In To

See this document with a Teaching Scenario that lets you use Lecture Capture to record your lecture in the classroom and take advantage of the equipment at each classroom podium,

Not in a classroom with Lecture Capture? Consider similar approaches using classroom equipment with BlueJeans and using BlueJeans for recording the session!!

Google Doc teaching tips

If you click on the round circles at the top of the google doc (participants faces), you will be transported to where that person has their cursor. If you get into the habit of placing your cursor at the section you are referring to, and highlighting the text/image, then students will click on your face (!) and arrive at the section you are discussing. Students can do the same if they have a question about a particular section.
If you are going to ask students to type extended comments in the doc, then you can section out the document by inserting a horizontal line every few line breaks so students can find an empty section and not keep overwriting each other as they search out a place to start. You would not need to do this for a brainstorm.


Canvas Conferences

Q: Is it true that you can do videoconferencing from within Canvas? And not use BlueJeans!?

A: Yes! You can hold your class virtually, in real-time, you can use Canvas Conferencing videoconferencing technology provided in Canvas using an open-source product called BigBlueButton. Individuals can connect with computers, mobile devices, and dial-in phones from the US or Canada only. Virtual Canvas Conference meetings can be recorded and the recordings are available within Canvas for 14 days. (Unfortunately, they cannot be downloaded for later use.)

You can create a videoconference from within your Canvas course website, inviting your entire class roster or selecting specific people from the course roster. You can invite external guests as Observers. The Canvas Conference tool provides typical features of videoconferencing tools such as screen sharing, a chat tool and recording, in addition to very useful features such as:

  • Polling (if you use polling extensively in your teaching, consider using Canvas Conferences so you do not have to create a separate means of polling students)
  • Shared Notes area
  • Multi-user whiteboard
  • Slide annotation

We created a document on teaching with Canvas Conferences that should answer many questions about Canvas Conferences. It has a list of resources at the bottom for instructors and a link for students. There will also be workshops offered — see the workshop page for details.

You can also review a quick How-To from the Canvas community.

The Conferences Index Page allows you to view all the conferences within a course.

Q: Is it possible, in Canvas, to set up the slide show / conference so it's ready to go before I invite students?

A: Generally an instructor would join the meeting and share your screen or upload your slides then. I guess that you, yourself could join the conference early and display the presentation before students arrive.

Q: Is there a way so the invitation only gets sent out to students before class begins?

A: Unfortunately not, they will need to remember to come to class on time! They will get a prompt/invitation to participate as soon as you open the Conference, however.

Q: Can I invite people to join the Canvas Conference who aren't already part of the class itself (without adding them to Canvas)?

A: No, you must add outside people to your Canvas course as Observer. This is quite simple, though! Link with instructions in the doc above.

Q: If I want students to meet "outside" discussion time, can I set up those individual meetings on Canvas to take place without me as a participant or person who is present?

A: Yes, you can, but you will be the only person that can start the meeting so create the conferences and click the Start button. Alternatively, you can put students in Groups, and they can start and conclude their own Conferences from within their Canvas group workspace.

Alternative to blackboards and whiteboards for office hours, one-on-one tutorials, and classes

Live problem solving in a classroom with a Wacom monitor — Using the interactive monitors at the podiums

Technology Services created a short How-To Video to demonstrate a simple way to set up streamed screen sharing on a classroom podium Wacom monitor. This method combines Wacom Interactive Monitor in any LSA Classroom combined with a mobile phone for face-to-face interaction with sound for conversation. This example uses Google Hangouts/ Google Meets but you can do the same with BlueJeans Meetings or Events.

Screen Sharing Video Call with Classroom Podium PC + Mobile device.mp4.

You could also use this method for Review Sessions and Q and A Sessions.

Translating the chalkboard into an online format

Q: Another frequent question from faculty is how best to show blackboard work (e.g., deriving and solving equations) — any suggestions?

A: Yes:

  1. Using the document camera is the best way to address board work and using screen share if you are fully online or even if you are doing in person teaching with some students at a distance. Screen sharing will allow you to show what you would normally put on the board. It does require you to switch back and forth between slides and board and camera on you, if you’re doing live videoconferencing or screencast. Lecture Capture from a classroom will capture anything that is being projected. (In classrooms with multiple projectors, it will capture the primary projector. Call 734.615.0100 (Prompt 1) if you have specific questions from a specific classroom.)
  2. If you do not have access to a document camera, but still want to show equations and how to solve them live in a video or videoconference, you can pre-place the equations and steps in a Powerpoint or Google slide and reveal it step by step with slide animation.
  3. Lecture Capture can be a valuable resource without needing to learn an entirely new program.

To get an idea of what these options may look like in comparison to a camera aimed at a blackboard, the Lecture Capture team has created a few videos to show what that looks like in practice. Revised videos will be available early next week, but for now these should give you an idea.

Student blackboard work and problem solving

If you want students to have “whiteboard” space in the breakouts, Canvas Conferences provides some excellent possibilities, where “whiteboard” space is available as the default. Learn more about Canvas Conferences.

Large enrollment courses

Q: I want to continue teaching my large (70+-student) lecture class live. How can I do this?

A: BlueJeans Events for Streaming. BlueJeans Events is a second BlueJeans product that will allow you to present your lecture much as you normally would, while you and your GSIs interact with the student audience. Students are connected at the end of a stream with about a 15-second delay, but can communicate with you and your GSIs via chat, respond to polls you offer up (six answer options maximum for each poll), and enter questions that their peers can “up vote” to make them more prominent for you and your GSIs.

Your regular auditorium booth AV technical support person can assist in running the fully-remote live lecture using BlueJeans Events if your course is scheduled in a staffed lecture hall. Contact the Videoconferencing Group at or 734.647.1534 about getting yourself, your GSIs, and your students ready to teach in this way.

Class labs and lab sections

Q: What ideas do you have to teach Class Labs and Lab Demos remotely?

A: For labs, we've used BlueJeans to share lab content in a few different ways in the past.

Document cameras are great, as they give a nice view from above. Paired with a computer and the doc cam manufacturer's software, it puts the objects on the computer's screen. That screen can then be shared into BlueJeans to show the objects, text, process, etc. to distant viewers.

This also works with a microscope or any other lab equipment with an attached digital camera, which can feed into a computer, the screen of which can then be shared into the meeting.

Contact the Videoconferencing Group at or 734.647.1534 for assistance, planning, and coordination.


Q: I have my students do a lot of problem solving that requires showing their work and including diagrams. What options do I have for homework?

A: If your students have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, they can use the installed camera to take a picture of hand-written work for submission through a Canvas Assignment.


Students who don’t have laptops

Q: What happens to the small number of students who don’t have laptops, if we have to move to ‘learning remotely”?

A: Many students without their own computers have received a laptop over the past several years through LSA’s Laptop Loan Program. There still may be some students without access to a home computer. In those cases, LSA Technology Services has a small number of laptops available to students from the MLB Media Center or from the Mason Hall Loan Center. Loans to students from loan centers are typically short term, but some circumstances do sometimes allow for longer-term loans.

Student software

Q: My class requires software that I normally get from a Sites computing site. What do I do, if I can’t come to campus?

A: Much of the Sites software catalog is available by remotely connecting to a Sites computer. Refer to their site for details.

Student reporting illness

Students who miss class due to illness need to inform their instructors as soon as possible. The LSA Illness Reporting website facilitates initial communication between students and instructors and advisors.

When a student reports their illness through the site, their instructors and advisors are notified with the date the student began to miss classes. The notification does not constitute an excused absence. Students are expected, as soon as they are able, to contact each of their instructors regarding options for making up missed work and possibly providing documentation of their absence, if required by individual instructors.

Student not able to attend class in person

Q: I’m a student who isn't able to come to class. Where to I start?

A: Students who miss class due to illness should inform their instructors as soon as possible. The LSA Illness Reporting website facilitates initial communication between students and instructors and advisors.

If your professor or instructor is not yet using lecture capture to record lectures for your large lecture courses, please ask them to start. There are other options the instructor might consider, which instructors may find on the Teaching Remotely Site.

There are also a variety of resources and information for students, including how to connect to classes, create videoconferences for project groups, and other groups on BlueJeans, on this resources page: Student Resources page.

Help your students prepare and adjust their study habits

Academic Innovation has some information (PDF) to help students prepare for online learning and adjust their study habits.

Best practices for students learning online

Q: Are there any links or information for students on best practices for online learning?

A: Here are some suggestions from colleagues in Student Life:

Remote teaching to students in China

Q: Will students have any problems with BlueJeans, Kaltura, or Canvas if they return home to China? Can they participate fully from home?

Consider that each student's situation may be different. You may need to work on specific solutions for each student.

A: Technology Services staff did research with vendors and U-M Service owners and were able to get some information.

BlueJeans in China

BlueJeans may be an option if ITS is able to enable Premium Access for China.

According to the Premium support agent at BlueJeans, they are working with U-M to enable the following premium feature: This is available for mainland China only. According to staff at ITS, this is a private network. Here is other info he provided:

We often suggest getting phone cards for phone only communication in main-land China.

The Hong Kong number will work, if possible.

National +852.3008.2163

There are other concerns about VPN issues and seemingly random disconnections, when using videoconferencing tools inside the great firewall. Although we have supported some meetings there successfully.

Our own LSA Technology Services Videoconferencing staff have only had success with BlueJeans with people inside China when they used high-end video codec equipment. Those are very rare within China and tend to only be at other universities. It is unknown whether your U-M student will have access to another university's facilities. We don’t currently know if students would be able to use BlueJeans from a laptop or cell phone more successfully, if U-M enabled Premium Access.

We recommend departments reach out to the BlueJeans Videoconferencing Team at ITS with specific examples for them to evaluate. They can be reached at

Kaltura in China

The service owner for learning management in ITS, indicates it would still have to be tested:

As far as we know, Kaltura is not blocked. You can share this link with a student/instructor to test access: If the student reports access issues, ITS would be the place to inform them.

Canvas in China

We weren't able to get a clear answer from Canvas. ITS had the same problem:

All I could get from Canvas Support was this guide...which isn't really a guide:

There is also this on the Canvas Website:

Information from Florida State’s University public site:

Information from the CDC for Higher Education — including institutions that do not have COVID-19 identified in their community


Article ID: 1602
Tue 5/26/20 9:33 PM
Fri 9/24/21 4:48 PM