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Starting a Zoom meeting through Canvas

Starting a Zoom meeting through Canvas

Please note: The Canvas integration will only function correctly if you are using the main Pitt Zoom account. If you are using a different Zoom account, you can schedule your meetings outside of the LMS and invite your students by sending them the link to the session in an announcement or email.

*Note: Are you experiencing permission errors when trying to log in to Zoom or videos/meetings not having up-to date information? Try these troubleshooting tips on our Browser Support page.

Zoom web-conferencing can be used to set up synchronous online class meetings with your students directly through Canvas. We are finding that for many users, this process goes more smoothly if they pay a visit to the University of Pittsburgh’s Zoom Videoconferencing landing page first, and sign in there at least once before embarking on using the integration as outlined below.


  • Adding a link to Zoom in your course menu
  • Creating a Zoom meeting
  • Hosting Your Meeting
  • Accessing meeting recordings
  • Configuring your Zoom account
  • Sharing your handwriting in real time during a Zoom meeting

Adding a link to Zoom in your course menu

  1. To get started, add Zoom to your course menu by going to your course Settings and clicking the Navigation tab.
  2. Drag the Zoom menu item from the bottom of the list and drop it into the active course menu.
    Adding Zoom to your course menu in Canvas
  3. Click Save.

Creating a  Zoom meeting

  1. Click the course menu link you made in the steps above.
  2. Authorize Zoom to get access to your account.
  3. When the Zoom interface opens, you will see only meetings you have scheduled for this course. If you haven’t scheduled any meetings yet for this course, no meetings will be displayed, even if you have scheduled meetings for other courses.
  4. To schedule a new meeting, click the Schedule a New Meeting button at the top right.
  5. You will then be prompted to enter a number of meeting details:
    • Topic: This is the “title” of your meeting. You should give it a name that your students will understand.
    • Description: This is optional but you may give some more information about what this meeting will cover, who is expected to attend and what resources they may need to have on hand to participate.
    • When: This is when your meeting is expected to start.  As the meeting organizer, you may start a meeting prior to the date and time displayed here, but this field lets your students know when they will be expected to join.
    • Duration: Give an approximate duration for your meeting. Again, as the organizer you can keep it open for a longer or shorter period than specified here, but this lets your students know how much time to budget for this meeting.
    • Time Zone: Please use your current time zone. Participants in other time zones will have the display times automatically adjusted for their own time zones.
    • Recurring meeting: Check this box to enable a further set of options that will let you schedule several meeting recurrences at set intervals all at once.
    • Registration: It is not recommended that you check this box.
    • Video: Recommended setting is Off. These settings determine whether video will be turned on for both the host and joining participants immediately upon entry into the meeting. All participants can opt to turn their cameras on if and when it is desired once the meeting begins.
    • Audio: Recommended setting is Both. This setting allows participants to choose whether they hear the meeting audio through their computer or a dial-in phone line. Participants without a sound card installed in their computer, or without headphones to use with their computer should opt to use phone audio.
    • Meeting Options:
      • You can choose to set a password for your meeting (perhaps to control entry when conducing virtual office hours or group project meetings)
      • You can choose whether or not you want to let participants join before the host. Note: If you permit participants to join before the host (you), and you have the meeting set to start recording automatically (see below), then you may find that students join your session early or just out of curiosity well before the scheduled meeting time, and thus trigger the start of a recording.
      • Mute participants upon entry is recommended. Participants can unmute if and when they need to.
      • All Zoom users are granted a Personal Meeting ID which is a permanent personal meeting room. You can choose to use this room for your class meetings. Leaving this box unchecked means that each class meeting will get its own meeting room with its own meeting ID.
      • Enabling the waiting room allows you (the host) to let participants in to the meeting at your discretion. This can be used to conduct virtual office hours so that students are held outside the meeting until you choose who to let in.
      • Record meeting automatically is used to start the recording of the meeting immediately upon meeting start rather than relying on the host or co-host to start the recording. Checking this box allows you to choose whether to record the meeting to the cloud or to your own computer. Recommend setting is In the cloud.
    • Alternative  hosts: You can choose certain other users to be your co-hosts and they will have the ability to take on some management tasks in the Zoom meeting. See Zoom’s Host and co-host controls in a meeting page regarding what a co-host can and cannot do in a meeting.
  6. Click Save to save this scheduled meeting.
  7. You can go back and edit any of the settings by clicking Edit this meeting.
  8. Your students will not need to be invited to this meeting in order to join. If you have shown the course menu link you created to students, then they will simply click on that and be able to access the scheduled meeting(s). If you want to copy the invitation to give to those outside of your class, you can send them the Join URL or click the Copy the invitation link to get a full text invitation to paste into an email.
  9. If you are not going to Start this Meeting right away, you can now close this window or return to the rest of your Canvas course by clicking on any of your other course navigation menu items.

Your students will access this meeting by clicking the course menu link you created and choosing the correct meeting (this is why it’s important to be explicit about meeting topic and description).

You may start this meeting either by going to and logging in (you will see all of your scheduled meetings, not just those from a single course) or going through the same link you created above in your Canvas course. Click on the name of the meeting to review the settings you chose when you first created it, and then click Start this Meeting.

Hosting Your Meeting

To start hosting your meeting, click on the name of the meeting you want to start and then click the Start this Meeting button.

Once you have entered your meeting room, you will find the following controls along the bottom of your screen:

Controls for Zoom meetings native to the Zoom user interface.

Please see this informative page and short video for details about these Host controls. Note that Hosts, Co-hosts and Participants all have slightly different controls at their disposal.

Of special note to instructors hosting a Zoom classes and meetings are the following features:

Accessing meeting recordings

If you recorded your meeting, you can access the recording directly from the Canvas Zoom interface. If you used the recommendation to record your meeting In the Cloud, then click the Cloud Recordings.

Configuring your Zoom account

While it is easy to start and enter meetings from inside Canvas, more advanced personal account settings and options are only available by accessing Zoom via the University of Pittsburgh’s Zoom Videoconferencing landing page. Please see our article about accessing Zoom outside of a  learning management system for more information.

Sharing your handwriting in real time during a Zoom meeting

You, like many of your colleagues, may want to write or draw by hand for your students to see while you narrate. Our Tablet Capture Advisor Tool will suggest the best ways we know of to do this with what you have on hand already. Or, if you prefer, feel free to browse all of the different solutions we have to advise for tablet capture using different combinations of technology.

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