Here at USU, Canvas and Wimba are integrated together for live online classroom based sessions. The tool that allows you to access Wimba live classrooms is the Conferences tool. This post will give an overview of how to create and manage your online classroom (Conference). We will also discuss some common issues that you may encounter and how to avoid them.
Creating a Conference
The Start a new Conference settings will appear and you can make changes to the following options.
Name: Allows you to give your conference a unique name. We suggest changing this to something other than the default Course Conference so it can be easier to find for administrative purposes.
Options: The long-running conference prevents the conference from closing after the duration of the conference has ended. Once a conference has ended it is preserved in the state that it was at the time it was ended. This means that any new course members will be unable to view the archives and you will no longer be able to use the conference for any new sessions. It is best to enable this for frequently used conferences, such as weekly lecture conferences, as the conference will not automatically close and become unusable and the archives will be available to all course members.
Duration: If the conference is only going to be used once and you know the approximate time limit you can specify it in the minutes textbox.
Description: Let participants know what the conference is used for. You can include information such as the phone number and classroom PIN number they can call if they are having audio difficulties.
Members: By default Invite all Course Members is enabled. If you wish to do a special conference with only certain students, uncheck this option and you will be able to select individual students. Keep in mind if you end the conference only those you have invited to the conference will have access to the archives.
When you have finished changing the settings for your conference click the Create Conference button to finish.
Joining a Conference
By default a conference will not be available to students until you click the Start it now button. When you click the Start it now button an invitation will be sent to selected course members with a link to the conference.
After clicking the Start it now button your conference will start and you will be taken to your conference.
The next time you view the conferences page you will see two new buttons, Join it now and End it now where the Start it now button used to be.
Join it now: This will start your conference, students will be unable to enter the live classroom until the instructor enters.
End it now: This performs the same behavior as what happens when a conference passes it’s duration time limit. The conference becomes unavailable except for the archives, to both teachers and students. It is preserved in its current state, new or uninvited course members will be unable to view the archives if any exist. Once you end a conference it cannot be re-enabled.
Editing a Conference
From the Conferences tool click on the title of the conference you would like to make changes to.
The Conference Details will be displayed. The conference details page contains information about the conference, links to archives, and the currently invited course members. To edit the conference click the Edit Conference Button on the right-hand side.
If you would like to change advanced settings pertaining to the Wimba live-classroom click on the Manage Advanced Settings… link.
Once you have made any modifications click the Update Conference button to save your changes.
From the Conferences page click on the conference you would like to view archives for.
- If you are going to host frequent conferences such as weekly lectures and hold office hours, you can create just one conference and use the conference description to let students know the times of each. Make sure that the long-running conference option is checked, and do not end it when you are finished with your session. This will ensure that students are not confused as to which conference room to go to.
- Don’t create and end separate conferences for each time you need to hold one, especially for lectures. This can cause problems in the future if new students enroll in your class and need access to archives.
- If you would like to repurpose an existing conference you can use the announcement tool to inform students of the change and re-post the link to that conference.
- If students are having difficulty entering the conference from links sent through notifications to their email, have them enter from the link in the conferences tool.
- If you have given a conference a time duration you may want to add 10-15 minutes and start early so you and your students can deal with technical issues that may arise.