Using Canvas During College Closures

Instead of losing valuable class time to unexpected campus closings during emergencies or inclement weather, consider developing a plan for connecting with your students online via Canvas. First, communicate with your students. Then consider your options for synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (time-shifted) instruction and interaction. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.


1. Communicate with Your Students 

The fastest way to communicate with your entire class from within Canvas is to post an Announcement. There will then be a record on the Announcements page of your message. Suggest to students that they check their notifications settings to allow for copies of Announcements to be forwarded to their email address. (Students receive email Announcement notifications by default; this suggestion would alert students, who may have opted out, to opt back into this notification.)

For future terms, plan ahead and include a statement on your syllabus so students know to head to Canvas if JCCC cancels classes. Here’s a sample syllabus text:

Weather Cancellations & Campus Closings: In the event that class is cancelled due to inclement weather, please log in to Canvas prior to our class time to see if an alternate, online activity or online class meeting has been posted. As long as electricity is available, an attempt will be made to make up for lost class time using online tools. 


2. Synchronous Tools in Canvas 

Zoom with Your Class

Though not formally integrated with Canvas, it’s easy to include Zoom sessions in your Canvas course. Zoom links can be added to any Canvas page with the Rich Content Editor or creating an External Link in Canvas Modules.

Additionally, Zoom sessions can be recorded and saved on your computer and then uploaded using Yuja in order to provide access to students who could not attend live.

Canvas Conferences

The Canvas Conferences tool can help make up classes through online presentations and web conferencing. Canvas Conferences makes it easy to conduct real-time lectures for all of the students in your course. You can broadcast real-time audio, video, demo applications on your desktop, share presentation slides, or demo any online resources.

When participating in a web conference headsets/headphones are recommended.  Headsets will reduce feedback and improve audio quality. Please note that recordings are automatically deleted 14 days after the conference ends. See our Conferences Overview and Conference Guides for more information.

Real-time Chat

For a simple, text-based chat with students, consider taking advantage of Canvas’s Chat feature. With Chat you can answer student questions in real time and facilitate a discussion. Canvas also keeps a record of chat history so that you can refer to it later.

YuJa Video Conference

Yuja has video conferencing capability built right into the tool in Canvas that saves automatically to your Yuja account. While we recommend using Zoom when possible, Yuja is also a viable option for online synchronous conferencing. You can find instructions on using the tool on Yuja’s website and more links about Yuja on ours.


3. Asynchronous Tools in Canvas 

From posting readings to submitting homework, the bulk of Canvas features support asynchronous course activity. Here are some to consider using if you can’t meet with your class face-to-face:

Creating Discussion boardsassignments, and quizzes may also help make up for lost class time.

Yuja Media Management System

Consider using the Yuja Media Management System to quickly create and share videos with your class or create video assignments for your students.

Additional Resources