Getting Started with Zoom & BigBlueButton


Do you ever have guest lecturers who can’t make it to campus, or want to conduct online interviews or “virtual office hours”?

Do you need to record a lecture or short video that you can share with students later on? Is inclement weather preventing you (or your students) from coming to campus?

Or maybe you’d like to let students work together in a virtual space that doesn’t require them being in the same room?

Well, luckily, there are two FREE tools available to you to let you do all that and more.


Zoom and BigBlueButton



What is Zoom?


Zoom is a FREE video conferencing tool that allows you to host and record virtual meetings, conferences, office hours, and more.


Zoom Deeper Dive

  1. Create a Zoom Meeting
  2. Invite People to Your Zoom Meeting
  3. Record Your Zoom Meeting
  4. Share Your Zoom Recording


Additional Resources

Zoom Tutorials

Get Started with Zoom (from the U. of Iowa)






What is BigBlueButton?

BigBlueButton is a video conferencing and webinar tool designed for instructors which is built right in to Canvas, so it’s easy for you and your students to use.


BigBlueButton Deeper Dive

  1. Create a New Conference with BigBlueButton
  2. Invite Students to Join Your Conference
  3. Record Your Conference
  4. Share Your Conference Recording

Additional Resources

Getting Started with BigBlueButton (from Colorado State University)

If you’re a SoN tutor, click here to learn about Virtual Tutoring with Canvas Conferences and Big Blue Button.



How do I get started?


Getting Started with Zoom

As of January 2018, neither the School of Nursing nor the University of Texas at Austin have an official account with Zoom. However, you can create your own personal account for free and take advantage of most of the features that Zoom has to offer.

To begin:

  1. Visit the Zoom website at
  2. Click the Sign Up, It’s Free button in the upper, right-hand corner.
  3. Enter your work email address and click Sign Up. Or, if you already have a Google or Facebook account, you can sign up using either of those options.
  4. Click Sign Up once more. They will send a signup email to the email account you entered (or the one associated with your Google/Facebook account).
  5. You will receive an email from Zoom within a few moments. Once you do, click the confirmation link (Activate Account button) in that email.
  6. This returns you to where you will enter your First and Last Name and Password. Then, click Continue.

Now that you have your account set up, you can schedule future meetings or start one right away by clicking one of the options in the upper right-hand corner.

You can also schedule meetings directly from Chrome, Firefox, or Outlook by downloading one of these options:


Getting Started with BigBlueButton

You may have never noticed before, but BigBlueButton is already a part of every Canvas course you teach. It’s easy to get started from your course’s Conferences section.

To begin:

  1. Log in to Canvas.
  2. From your Dashboard page, select one of your Canvas courses.
  3. From the left-hand navigation menu, select Conferences.
  4. To create a new conference (webinar, meeting, etc.) click +Conference and follow the on-screen prompts.


Using the Conference scheduling options you see on screen, you can now schedule your BigBlueButton conference to start right away or for any future date. You can also set the time limit, whether or not you’d like to record it, and more.


Audio and video considerations:   

If you have a laptop, the built in camera and microphone should be sufficient for web conferencing and good quality audio and video. But if not, or if your computer doesn’t have one or both, you can get a good quality lapel mic from amazon for $20 and a good quality webcam (which also has a built in mic) also from amazon for $20.

Also note that when conducting a web conference like this on a laptop, you will need to use headphones. This will be necessary to prevent feedback between the microphone and speakers.


Click here to download this primer as a Word document.


If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me at your convenience.



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