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Teaching Guide: Zoom app in Canvas

Zoom video conferencing inside your Canvas course functions as a virtual classroom — for live, interactive class sessions, pre-recorded or live lectures, office hours, and small group work. The Zoom app in Canvas makes it easy to schedule and start your online class sessions from within your Canvas course. Students can access links to class sessions and any recordings you have made when they go to the Zoom app in Canvas.

Note: Only users of standard Zoom (not HIPAA) can use the Zoom app in Canvas. Users of UW HIPAA Zoom accounts will receive an error message if they try to open the Zoom app in Canvas.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning
When thinking about moving your class online, one choice to consider is which activities or assignments require you and your class to meet together (synchronous learning), and how much can students do on their own at different times (asynchonous learning). The following guide emphasizes synchronous learning.

You can do a lot with Zoom, but you don’t have to do it all at once. If you’re new to Zoom, you might want to focus on just learning how to schedule and start meetings for now. Leave more advanced features (recording class sessions, administering a poll, setting up breakout rooms for small group work, etc.) for later, when you’ve become more comfortable using Zoom.

In addition to this guide, Learning Technologies offers online Zoom trainings appropriate for instructors and students.

Open Zoom app in Canvas

When you log into your Canvas course, look for Zoom in the Course navigation. Click Zoom to open the app.

In your Canvas course, Zoom may appear at the bottom of the course navigation. If you want Zoom to appear higher up the list, go to the course Settings, then click Navigation. You can drag and drop the Zoom item wherever you want it in the list.

Overview: Layout of Zoom app in Canvas

In the Canvas course navigation, click Zoom to open the Zoom app in Canvas. On the right you’ll see the blue Schedule a New Meeting button. Below that button you’ll see tabs for Upcoming Meetings, Previous Meetings, Personal Meeting Room and Cloud Recordings. The image below shows a list of upcoming meetings, with start time, topic, meeting ID and buttons for starting or deleting meetings.

layout of Zoom app in Canvas interface: Schedule a New Meeting button, tabs for Scheduled Meetings, Previous Meetings, Personal Meeting Room, Cloud Recordings

Hold Classes in Zoom

To hold classes in Zoom, the first thing you will do is schedule a Zoom meeting. When you schedule meetings in the Zoom app in Canvas, those meetings will appear to both you and your students on the Upcoming Meetings tab. The meetings are also added automatically to the Canvas course calendar. Consider giving students a few reminders to visit the Canvas course calendar to find the link to the Zoom class session.

We recommend scheduling your online class sessions on the same day(s) and time(s) as your in-person course. You can schedule a quarter’s worth of class sessions at once by setting up your meeting as recurring.

Schedule a class session

In the Zoom app in Canvas, click Schedule a New Meeting. If this is your first time using Zoom, you will be prompted to download Zoom software, which should take just a couple of minutes.

IMPORTANT: Your students will see only the sessions that you schedule using the Zoom app for Canvas. If you schedule sessions using the Zoom web portal ( or desktop app, they will not see the sessions in their list of Upcoming Meetings or receive an email notification.

Schedule a New Meeting button highlighted in the Zoom app in Canvas interface

The Schedule a Meeting screen will appear.

  • Enter a meeting topic and description. By default, the meeting topic is the title of your course.
  • Enter date and time and duration. By default, your local time zone is selected.
    • To schedule all your class sessions for the quarter, select the Recurring meeting checkbox. This feature is also useful for setting up online office hours.

Schedule meeting screen with Recurring meeting checkbox highlighted and selected

Continue configuring your meeting settings:

Registration: Enabling registration requires participants to register with their e-mail, name, other questions, and custom questions. If you are using Zoom for teaching classes and office hours, do not select this option.


  • Host: Choose if you would like the host video on or off when initially joining the meeting. Either way, the host (you or another teacher in your course) will have the option to start or stop their video after joining the call.
  • Participant: Choose if you would like the participants’ videos on or off when they initially join the meeting. You may want to choose “off” to give students time to prepare to be on camera. Either way, the participants will have the option to start or stop their video after joining the call.

Audio: Choose whether to allow users to call in via Telephone only, Computer Audio only, or Both. We recommend selecting Both to give students options.

Meeting Options

Require meeting password: If you are using Zoom to teach classes or hold office hours, you are unlikely to need a password and can leave this option unchecked.

Enable join before host: By selecting this option, you allow participants to join the meeting without you or before you join. Select this option if you want to give students an opportunity to chat or compare notes before the session begins.

Mute participants on entry: By selecting this option, participants joining the meeting before the host will be muted when they first join. Participants can unmute themselves after joining the meeting. We recommend selecting this option to reduce the background noise as people join the session.

Enable Waiting Room: The Zoom Waiting Room feature allows you to control when a participant joins the meeting. You can admit attendees one by one or hold all attendees in the Waiting Room and admit them all at once.

Record the meeting automatically: Select this option if you want the meeting to be automatically recorded. We recommend recording to the cloud (instead of your local computer) if you want the recording to be freely available to students. Cloud recordings are available in the Zoom app in Canvas from the Cloud Recordings tab, meaning you don’t have to upload or link to them manually. See Record class session in this guide for more information about recording class sessions.

Alternative hosts: This field is automatically populated when Teaching Assistants and co-instructors listed in your Canvas course go to the Zoom Canvas page. Alternative hosts can start the meeting in your place, manage activity in Chat, and lower Raised Hands after questions have been answered. In the Zoom app in Canvas, this field is grayed out; you do not need to manually add co-instructors or Teaching Assistants. Instead, the UW NetIDs of your co-instructors or Teaching Assistants will appear in this field once they open their Zoom app in Canvas.

When you have finished setting the meeting options, at the bottom of the screen, click Save.

The meeting will appear on your Canvas calendar. To confirm, in the Global Navigation at the left, click Calendar. This opens the Canvas Calendar, where you should see the meeting you just scheduled.

Canvas Calendar, with scheduled class sessions showing

If you do not see the meeting you scheduled, check the list of calendars in the right sidebar and make sure that the relevant calendar is selected.

Students will also see the class sessions on their Canvas calendar. When you click the event, a link appears that you can click to open Zoom and join the class session.

When user clicks calendar event, link appears. This image shows meeting link highlighted in calendar event.

You and your students can also access the meeting link via the Upcoming Meetings tab in the Zoom app in Canvas.

Upcoming Meetings tab highlighted

Edit meeting settings in the Zoom web portal

Scheduling a meeting in the Zoom app in Canvas is designed for convenience. You can configure additional meeting settings and access a few things that aren’t available in the Zoom app in Canvas when you sign into the Zoom web portal at When scheduling a meeting in the web portal you can:

  • Pre-assign students to breakout rooms. Rather than manually assigning students at the time of the meeting, you can upload a file to Zoom and students will be assigned to breakout rooms for you.
  • Assign alternative hosts. In the web portal, this field is available. You can assign people in addition to your teaching assistants (for example, a guest from outside the UW).
  • Only authenticated users can join. If you plan to share the link to the meeting broadly and you want to limit access to authenticated users, select this checkbox.

Start a class session

To start a class session, go to your Canvas course. In the course navigation, click Zoom. Select the Upcoming Meetings tab. Find your meeting and click Start. Your Zoom meeting will open.

Upcoming Meetings tab with Start button highlighted

Alternatively, you can open Canvas and go to the Canvas calendar. Click the relevant event and then click the link that appears. Your Zoom meeting will open.

Next, check to make sure that your microphone and camera are on.

To share your computer screen, on the bottom of the Zoom screen, find the green Share button on the bottom of the Zoom screen, then click it. A window will open showing several options for sharing. By default, your desktop will be selected. Choose what you want to share. At the bottom of the window, click Share.

Zoom toolbar

Interact with students in Zoom

As you plan to hold class sessions in Zoom, you’ll want to think about how you want students to interact with you and one another. For example, if you plan to host interactive sessions in Zoom, you can direct students to post written questions in Chat, to “raise their hand” so that they can be unmuted to ask a question over audio, or both.

If you have a teaching assistant, you can assign that person to be an alternative meeting host. Alternative hosts can start the meeting and monitor and respond to questions in Chat or respond to raised hands in the Participants window, so you can stay focused on presenting material.

Note: You can turn off Chat and/or the ability for participants to react or raise hands in the Zoom meeting settings in the web portal at

Participants window. To open the Participants window, click Manage Participants in the Zoom toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Below the names of participants, you’ll see a row of icons that students can use to respond non-verbally to simple questions from the meeting host: yes, no, go slower, go faster and more.

Instructor/host view.

Instructor view of Participants window with reaction options and more

Note that in the Participants window you can Mute or Unmute all students. You can also turn off the ability for students to unmute themselves, which is handy in a very large class.

Student view. Students have the same icons visible to you, plus the raise hand icon.

Participant View of Raise Hand

If you like, you can have students use this icon to indicate when they have a question. You or your teaching assistant can unmute the student temporarily so they can ask the question over audio, then mute again when the question has been asked and answered.

Chat. Text-based chat gives students a chance to pose questions or share thoughts without competing for the chance to speak out loud. Zoom’s chat feature may work well for students to ask questions. If you are using chat in a larger class, you will want to have a Teaching Assistant or moderator to follow the chat to let you know about issues or to answer questions directly.

By default, participants can send private chats to individuals in the meeting. If you want to turn this off, go to Settings > In Meeting (Basic) > Private Chat and toggle off this setting.

Polls. If you have a large class, polling can help you check for understanding and encourage engagement. You have a couple of options for polling. PollEverywhere is the official poll software for the UW. If you want to keep everything located within Zoom, the Zoom polling feature allows you to create single choice or multiple choice polling questions for your class sessions. You can launch the poll during your class, gather responses, and share with the class in real time. You can also download a report of polling after the meeting. Polls can also be conducted anonymously.

The image on the left shows a poll as it is being created. The image on the right shows a poll as it is being administered live in class.

Poll interface in edit mode   Image of Zoom poll in progress during class session

Small group work

Even though class is online, you can still have students collaborate in small groups for discussion and project work with Zoom’s Breakout Rooms. You enable Breakout Rooms in Settings in the Zoom web portal at You can either assign students to breakout rooms manually as you start the meeting, or upload a CSV file with student UW NetIDs to assign people in advance.

This video shows you how to pre-assign people to breakout rooms by uploading a .CSV file.

Hold office hours

Zoom’s Waiting Room feature allows you to control when participants join the meeting. You can keep your regular office hours; students go to Zoom following a link that you provide, then wait until you allow them into the meeting. You can allow one or a few students at a time. You can also admit students, then return them to the waiting room. You enable the Waiting Room when scheduling a meeting, under Meeting Options.

To hold online office hours using Zoom, you will want to do two things:

  1. Schedule recurring meetings
  2. Turn on the Zoom Waiting Room

Record class sessions and store in the cloud

If you want to record your class sessions, when scheduling the meeting, under Meeting Options, select Record Meeting Automatically. You can pause or stop the recording from the Zoom meeting toolbar at any time during the class session. Students joining the session will receive an audio notification that the session is being recorded. If you want to prompt participants to consent to being recorded, you can configure a setting in the Recording settings in the web portal at

Student Privacy

Remember to protect student privacy when recording. We recommend not recording office hour sessions in order to protect student privacy. The UW Privacy Office advises that if a meeting would not be recorded when in-person then it should not be recorded when working remotely. The UW Privacy Office is consulting with the UW Division of the Attorney General’s Office to evaluate the legal and data ethic issues for recording meetings.

You can limit what will be recorded by choosing to record only the active speaker plus the shared screen. If students will be speaking, the camera will record them as active speakers. One workaround for this is to pause the recording while they are speaking.

To configure recording settings, go to the Zoom web portal at Sign into your account, go to Settings, click the Recording tab and then select the settings you want to configure.

Meeting settings > Recording > Record active speaker view

Zoom automatically creates captions for sessions recorded to the cloud. Recordings can be downloaded for up to one year after recording. After that, they are deleted.

You will receive an email when the recording becomes available. The time this takes may vary, depending on Zoom usage. To make recordings available to students, you need to publish the recordings on the Previous Meetings tab. When you publish a recording, it will appear to students in the Zoom app in Canvas on the Previous Meetings tab.

List of recordings on Cloud Recordings tab, with Share and Delete buttons highlighted

Change sharing permissions on recordings

By default, anyone who has a link to the recording can view it. If you want to change settings on sharing recordings, sign in to the Zoom web portal at In the left navigation, click Recordings. To the right of a recording, click Share. The Share this cloud recording dialog box appears.

Help students learn with Zoom

You can ensure an optimal classroom experience by taking time to set expectations and help students get comfortable meeting in Zoom.

Note: Students can see class sessions and office hours that you schedule in Canvas. At the current time, they cannot schedule meetings (e.g., study groups) with the Zoom app in Canvas. However, they can access Zoom outside of Canvas. If they want to schedule online study groups, they can log into the Zoom web portal at

  • If this will be the first time they have used Zoom, encourage students to go to the meeting URL in advance of the class start time. They will need a few minutes to download Zoom software before they can enter the Zoom meeting.
  • Make sure that students know how to attend class in Zoom; they will click the meeting URL that you share with them. Remind students to use the Canvas calendar or the Zoom app in Canvas to access the link to the meeting.
  • Encourage students to choose an appropriate space for joining your virtual classroom (a quiet place where they can focus and won’t be disturbed). However, please note that these conditions may not be available to all of your students.
  • Suggest that they coordinate with roommates to minimize noise and competition for internet bandwidth while they are attending class online.
  • Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the first class you hold in Zoom reviewing the interface for the benefit of people who are new to Zoom. Share your screen and demonstrate to students how to:
    • Toggle their microphone and camera on and off
    • Open the Chat and Participants windows
    • Raise their hands and/or use Reactions if you are using those features
    • Encourage students to mute themselves when they are not speaking.
  • If some students in your class are more experienced with Zoom, see if they are willing to answer questions from students who are new to Zoom.
  • If your class is a large one, suggest to students who do not have a camera that they identify themselves when speaking.


How can I teach my large course with my Zoom Pro account? It’s limited to 300 participants.

If you are teaching a course with more than 300 students, you can deliver your lectures using Panopto live streaming. Or record your lectures in advance,  and have students view them asynchronously. You can use Zoom to host sessions for 300 or less for synchronous activities, such as office hours, small-group discussions, or Q&A.

I set up my class meetings with Zoom before the app was available in Canvas. How can I make them visible in my course?

You can import meetings that you previously scheduled using your account at into your Canvas course. Note: Meetings can only be associated with a single course.

  1. Sign in to your Zoom account at, and copy the meeting ID from the meeting page.
  2. Log in to Canvas at
  3. Go to your course, and then click Zoom in the course navigation. 
  4. Click the three-dot menu to the right of the blue Schedule a New Meeting button.
  5. Select Import meeting.
  6. Enter or paste the meeting ID into the space provided, and click Import.

    Your scheduled meeting will appear in the Upcoming Meetings tab, and on the Canvas calendar, and your students will receive a notification.

Last reviewed March 20, 2020