New Rich Content Editor coming to Canvas in January

New year, new look! Starting in January anytime you create or edit, an Assignment, Page, Discussion, Syllabus, etc. in Canvas you will have a new look and feel on the editing page. The new version still supports all the same features the previous version did:

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Discussions
  • Pages
  • Quizzes
  • Syllabus

New rich content editor:

Screenshot, new Canvas Rich Content Editor


  1. Rich Content Editor content area: still able to preview and add to page content.
  2. Formatting content menu bar: format page content
  3. Format text
  4. Insert links to media and documents
  5. External tools
  6. Format paragraphs
  7. Clear formatting
  8. Add tables
  9. Insert an equation

Previous rich content editor:

Screenshot, old Canvas Content Editor


  1. Rich Content Editor content area
  2. Insert HTML directly into Canvas using the HTML Editor link.
  3. Link to course content using the content selector

Zoom Offers More than Videoconferencing: How to Engage Students this Term

Zoom has afforded us all with the opportunity to see and speak with students, other faculty, friends, and family when we are otherwise unable to meet in person. The videoconferencing that Zoom allows is only a portion of the possibilities for engaging hyflex and synchronous teaching and learning. Ready to know more? The following strategies for using Zoom, enhancing student interaction, and increasing engagement can enhance your online presence this term.

Getting Started with Zoom

If you have never used Zoom before, you will need to set up an account and customize preferred settings. Step-by-step information is available from Zoom on how to set up your Zoom account.

Upon opening Zoom, you will begin at the home screen. The home screen includes icons for starting a new meeting as a host, joining a meeting that someone else will host, as well as settings that can be adjusted according to need.

Screenshot, Zoom login home

Video Conferencing Considerations

  • Lighting – lighting is best when it is consistent without too much brightness directly in front of you (it will cast shadows) or directly behind you (it will overshadow your appearance). “Creating and Delivering Online Presentations” includes suggestions for lighting and overall appearance as well as visual examples of effective versus ineffective or inappropriate practices.
  • Camera position – If you are going to use a particular space in the room, it is helpful to make that space the focus of the camera view. Think about whether you will use other areas of the room that are not in the immediate view of this position and consider how you could change the setup so that all useable areas are in sight at all times for students attending via Zoom.
  • Sound – quiet spaces are optimal as background noises make it difficult to hear the speaker. Additionally, participants should keep their microphones on “mute” until needing to speak to reduce background noises from their locations. Also consider that in a hybrid classroom environment, the actions of the in-person students, such as shifting through papers or eating, can be heard by and add distractors to those in the remote environment.
  • Background – Selecting “New Meeting” will open your camera view to show you what others can see of you and your space. It is recommended that you do this before starting a new session in order to check your lighting or unintentional items that could be in your background. You can also position your camera to optimize the viewing area of things such as a whiteboard or other screen that you may want remote participants to see. Additionally, from the home screen, you can select “settings” and choose a saved image or downloaded image to function as the background. Zoom has an official guide on how to change your background.

Engaging all Students, Flex and Synchronous Learning

Once your Zoom account is customized to your preferences and your environment is set there are several options beyond a video lecture to help keep everyone engaged; whether virtual, in-person, or both.

Setting Clear Expectations

Deciding how and when you would like for participants to interact in a virtual or hybrid course is just as important as when teaching solely in-person. Setting clear expectations from the start supports effective practices and will help to create a more interactive stress-free experience for all. Consider setting requirements for students to have their cameras on to facilitate better face-to-face interaction. Policies for students staying muted until it is their turn to speak and how they will signal that they need to speak, or if they should type their comments and questions first in the chat section. A dedicated section to Zoom and online expectations in your syllabus informs students when viewing materials in Canvas and reminds you to discuss these expectations in your first class meeting.

Assigning a Cohost

Teacher’s Assistants can be great assets to a blended learning environment too. TA’s can support management of lessons in many ways, including responding to chat and adding additional course resources as needs arrive throughout the session. Once signed into your Zoom account, select the “settings” icon. From “settings” under the “meetings” tab there is “co-host” option. If the status toggle present is gray, you should be able to click it to turn it blue and activate the co-host account setting. Having trouble choosing this option? There is a prerequisite for this function that your Zoom account must be an administrator account. If you are still having difficulty enabling this feature consider the Zoom help link or contact Biggio Tech for support.

Managing Participants

Screenshot, More dropdown

Managing participants allows use to set the expectation for video interaction as well as to facilitate a way for students to communicate feedback without interrupting your lesson or the speaker. For example, on the bottom toolbar of the meeting main screen, choose “participants”. There, you can communicate with any of the participants using the icons at the bottom of the window; yes, no, go slower, go faster, or an emoji when selecting “more”.

Also, under the “participants” icon, select “more” to manage interactions. This menu enables you to lock the meeting after you have started teaching, require that participants’ display names are their account names, or remove the option for participants to unmute themselves if needed for a presentation or space without disruption. Participants would still be able to communicate with the “chat” feature if enabled.


Screenshot, More dropdown

Chat can be enabled for participants to communicate with everyone in the meeting, or only select options such as the host, or no one at all if administering a quick check-in or quiz. The chat feature also allows ready sharing of files in the moment. The chat function is a great feature for questioning dialogue during lessons, such as real time questions from students in the classroom setting or virtual environment. Enabling a “Co-host” provides for an extra person to monitor conversations and questions without disrupting the lecture. The cohost can then interject when they feel appropriate to the lesson and responses can be both discussed as well as typed into the chat section thanks to their help.

Chats can also be saved, allowing for all participants to review the information at their convenience. Zoom provides guidance on saving chat dialogue.

Share Screen

Screen sharing is a great way to show participants your view or specific items that may need their attention. From the toolbar, the icon “share screen” will project onto participant computers anything that you want them to view. For example, you may choose to share your entire desktop allowing participants to see everything that you see and do on your computer, an interactive whiteboard similar to a classroom whiteboard only virtual, or specific files. The “basic”, “advanced” and “files” tabs at the top of the menu help you to choose what you would like to share.

The small carrot next to the words “share screen” will pull up an advanced menu allowing you to customize who may share their screen and how many participants may share at a time. This is a wonderful feature for collaborative presentations or allowing students to explain their thinking when sharing.

Screenshot, Share Screen dialog box



Polling can be set up ahead of time (recommended) and used for multiple course sessions. Selecting “polling” from the toolbar will open a small popup with any polls created under your Zoom account. Selecting “add a question” or “edit” will open a new tab in your internet browser allowing you to create polling questions. If you already know of some questions you would like to ask participants, you can set up polls unique to each anticipated class session. Or, create a quick poll during class—participants wouldn’t see you doing so unless you were sharing your screen.
Once the poll is created, close the tab, and go back to your Zoom session main menu. Select “polling” and choose whichever poll needed for the current session, then “launch poll”. You will be able to see how many participants chose each answer choice.

Screenshot, Zoom Polling

Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms are the virtual version of in-person small groups. A breakout room moves participants to another Zoom space to interact with one another and then will bring them back to your main meeting session after a designated amount of time.
Screenshot, Breakout Rooms settings

Suggestions for breakout room policies and facilitation:

  • Before assigning groups to a breakout room, provide a clear task for completion and post this task in the chat
  • Avoid assigning more than one expectation for group completion per breakout session. Shorter more frequent discussions are better than a long list of work and an unspecified amount of time
  • Choose roles for students before the breakout session so that once in the group it is clear who should be completing what task. Some common roles include: a timekeeper who keeps collaboration on-task by being mindful of limits; a recordkeeper who records thinking by members of the group and helps to refer back to previous thoughts; a spokesperson who will synthesize and share out the outcome(s) of the task to whole group upon return to the main session


Be sure to select closed captioning, transcription, and record Zoom sessions so that all students can view the materials at their own pace and need level.

Automatic Zoom to Panopto

Recording Zoom sessions has many advantages for faculty and students. Students attending classes remotely in other countries, for example, can view a full class session at a later time and date as though they had attended live. Unforeseen circumstances preventing class participation do not then also prohibit students from obtaining the lesson materials and faculty unable to host a live session can post a pre-recorded lesson instead. Fully recorded class sessions are also great tools for meeting the unique ability needs of every student and for additionally study resources. For more information about how to automatically transfer Zoom recordings to Panopto, we provide a help guide.

Additional Considerations

  • Set a warm and welcoming tone –avoid language that is harsh or negative: ex: use “we” statements instead of “you” statements. State your expectations clearly but avoid threats. For example, “Late work will not be tolerated under any circumstances” might be better stated as, “Each assignment builds on the next so late work will not be accepted.”
  • Be present and engaging –always include “Feel free to contact me with any questions” along with a link to your preferred method of communication (i.e. email, phone number, or Zoom scheduler) in every announcement and email you send.
  • Establish consistency. Students drop online courses because of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Keep this potential frustration and anxiety in mind every step of the way as you build and facilitate your course.
  • Start with an ice breaker or student introduction forum. Encourage students to upload a picture or avatar. You do the same–set the example and model what you want them to do. Ask students list their concerns and any helpful hints they have about success in previous online courses. Provide personal responses to each student’s post.
  • Redundancy is GOOD –provide important information in more than one place.

Want to Know More?

While blended and online instruction can be challenging there are many great resources available to make the experience smooth and successful for all participants. Select the following links for more tips on building greater engagement in your courses this semester.

Tips & Tricks: Teachers Educating on Zoom

Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption

How to Overcome Classroom Zoom Fatigue

25 Ways to Make Your Zoom Meetings Awesome!

Ten easy tips for better Zoom meetings

This site is here to help you most effectively use Zoom as we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Tips and Tricks for a Great Zoom Class or Meeting

Video Conferencing with Zoom: Online Course Tips & Ideas

Zoom Updates for September

Zoom has updated their client with some useful features available now to faculty and students. Highlights include new and improved accessibility options, an assigned virtual seating chart, and more! Check out the links below for more information:

4 New Zoom Features Educators Can Use to Enhance Virtual Teaching & Learning

Zoom’s new update also includes new filter options and lighting.

In order to take advantage of the new “Let participants choose room” breakout room feature, follow the steps below:

  1. Select your picture in the top right in the Zoom client, then choose “Check for Updates” from the drop down.
    Step 1 - Update Zoom
  2. Launch a meeting and select “Breakout Rooms” – you can now select to allow any participant on the 5.3 or later client to select their own room.
    Step 2 - Assigning Breakout Rooms

2020 Canvas Livestream Collections Available Now

Canvas has posted a collection of informational videos to help you with the unique challenges facing us this semester. Topics range from getting started, contingency planning, tips, tricks and more. Please visit the link below to check it out!

Canvas 2020 Livestream Collections

Alternatively, you can jump to a specific section below:

Getting Started
Contingency Planning
Canvas Features
Course Design
Canvas Tips & Tricks
Communication & Connection
Motivation, Engagement, & Belonging
Conferencing & Video
Student Experience
Parents & Observers
Canvas Partners
Leadership Series
Professional Development

Securing Your Remote Teaching

Higher education and K-12 have moved to remote instruction. This means new threats from bad actors hoping to take advantage of these possibly new and unfamiliar technologies. To help protect you and your students, we’ve compiled a few general suggestions you can implement now in your remote course. We’ve also included information on the new increased security in Zoom, which now enabled host-only sharing and waiting rooms by default.

Secure Your Zoom Calls

Zoom has recently tightened security by enabling three new features: the Security panel for meeting hosts and Waiting Room and Cloud Recording Passwords for participants.

Now by default in a meeting, only the Host is able to share their screen. You may change this setting at any time in the meeting by clicking "Security" and then clicking "Enable Waiting Room" to remove the check mark. Once the check is removed, the waiting room is no longer active.

If you prefer to return to the previous default setting, you can change this from your Zoom account directly on the Zoom Settings Page adjust your participant screen share.


Cloud Recording Password Restriction

Cloud Recordings can now optionally be protected by a randomly-generated password. By default this is disabled, but you may turn on this setting in your Zoom account to add a password to each Zoom recording.

From the Auburn Zoom website choose "Settings" (1) to be taken to the settings page. From the top of the page, click the Recording (2) tab and scroll down on the page until you see the "Require password to access shared cloud recordings" (3) option. Click the button to the right of this option to turn the slider from gray (off) to blue (on), this will ensure your future recordings will be password protected.


Waiting Rooms and User Authentication

Meetings created in Zoom will have "waiting room" enabled by default. You can change this setting, highlighted in orange, while scheduling your meeting. You also have the option, highlighted in blue, to allow only authenticated users to join. This will require participants to login using their Auburn credentials, and will prevent any non-Auburn participants from joining. You may change this option in the drop-down menu from "Auburn University" to "Sign in to Zoom" if you would like to allow non-Auburn participants.

During your meeting, to admit participants, choose "Manage Participants"

You can admit individuals, deny admission, or admit all. Verify the individuals and choose "admit" to allow them to join your meeting.


Restricting Screen Sharing

By default, Zoom will now restrict meetings to only allow the host to share their screen. If you would like students to present materials, you can adjust this setting during the meeting.

Click "Security" to open the menu, then click "Share Screen", a check mark will appear, and participants will now be able to share their screens.

Muting and Removing Participants

To avoid disruptions during parts of your Zoom call, you can optionally Mute All Participants and prevent them from unmuting their microphones. This will prevent accidental disruptions until the participants are unmuted.

If an individual is being disruptive, has accidentally left a microphone open, or is otherwise creating issues with the call, you can optionally mute that person. Muting will silence their microphone - or take it a step further for disruptive students by using "move to waiting room" or "remove" to drop them from the call entirely. More information is available at the Manage Participants Guide

Locking the Meeting

Once a Zoom meeting has launched, and your students have joined, you can prevent disruptions to the meeting by locking the session. Please note this will prevent any new participants from joining, even if they have the meeting password.

To lock the meeting, click "Security", then click "Lock the Meeting" - a check mark will appear indicating the meeting is now locked.

Protect Your Computer

We have always needed to ensure that our computers are secured, but now this has become even more important. Key ways to secure your computers and the information we need to protect (e.g., student records) include multi-factor authentication using DUO, updating our computers and software applications to protect against hackers, and remaining alert of suspicious emails and other digital communications.

Double Check Duo

You will want to make sure you have your Duo authentication enabled and set to your current phone number or mobile device. You can find out more about updating your Duo settings at  

Make Sure You Have Anti-Virus Software

Make sure your computer is running an up-to-date anti-virus software. For your work computer, you will want to contact your department IT provider, they will ensure that your machine has all required university security software. For home computers, a to verify your anti-virus software.  

Update Your Web Browser

Update your web browser to the latest version. Updating your browser ensures you are protected against new exploits and security vulnerabilities. We recommend using Firefox or Chrome for best compatibility and security.

Check for System Updates

Beware of Phishing and Cybersecurity Threats

Review the Phishing Awareness guidelines from OIT. Be on the lookout for emails from non-Auburn addresses, suspicious requests, and fake password reset emails. More helpful tips on protecting your computer online are available at the the OIT Cybersecurity Page.

Integrate Panopto with Canvas


If you are using Panopto with Canvas, we recommend enabling the Panopto integration and using the class folder to upload your videos. By integrating Panopto with Canvas and putting your videos into a course folder, you will put your video content behind the Canvas login. If you would like your students to turn in work using Panopto, you can create a Class Folder for student uploads.

Use Remote Proctoring for Exams

Proctoring Exams

With courses moving to remote instruction, how can we offer our exams remotely while still ensuring a fair and secure testing environment? An option is to make use of remote proctoring. During the remote instruction period, the cost of two platforms, HonorLock and ProctorU, is being covered by the university. Any instructor can utilize HonorLock and ProctorU proctoring to ensure exam security.


Connect to the VPN

If you will need to connect remotely to your on-campus computer, or access certain applications in Banner, you may need to securely connect to the Auburn network using the VPN.

Help for getting started and installing the Cisco VPN client is available at the OIT VPN help page. Your department IT, as well as the IT Service Desk, are available if you need any assistance.

Canvas’s New Gradebook

This January, the current gradebook will be automatically converted to the New Gradebook

Canvas is depreciating the old gradebook on January 18th and it will automatically be switched to the New Gradebook. Grades will not be changed/removed during the transition. Please note: This does not affect the student’s view of their gradebook.

A teacher's view of the New Gradebook is fully adjustable.

What can the New Gradebook do?


Can I switch early?

Yes! We recommend switching as soon as you’re comfortable to ensure no disruption for your teaching process. You can enable the New Gradebook through the New Features option within your course.

The New Gradebook is available now under “Settings” – “Feature Options”.

Enable the New Gradebook under Feature Options in Settings.


If you have any questions, please let us know!

Faculty Showcase: Simplifying VR in the Classroom

Assistant Professor Jeff Kim, Building Science

Using VR in the classroom does not need to be complicated or expensive. In fact, you can start a simple setup for as little as $5 per student and there’s lots of VR content free on the Internet to get you going. In this showcase, I’ll demonstrate various complexities of VR that can be setup for most classrooms.


Additional videos can be viewed at the Faculty Showcase Showdown page.

New Lockdown Browser Integration

The Lockdown Browser’s integration with Canvas has been updated to provide more functionality and security.

New Features

  • LockDown Browser iPad app: A free app that lets students use LockDown Browser on an iPad
  • “Early exit”: This feature permits students to exit a quiz early for emergency situations; a student submits a reason for the early exit, which is then reported to the instructor
  • Respondus Monitor: This is a companion application for LockDown Browser that uses a student’s webcam to record the assessment session. Note: This feature is currently being funded by Biggio Center.

More Support


Enabling the Lockdown Browser

The previous method of checking the Lockdown Browser is no longer available.

In the new integration, Lockdown Browser is no longer enabled in Quiz Settings.

To enable the Lockdown Browser, (1) click “Settings” within your course then the (2) navigation tab at the top. Find (3) Lockdown Browser listed in the disabled menu and turn on the tool by clicking the three dots then “+ Enable.” (4) Save when finished.

Integrating the Lockdown Browser from the Settings - Navigation tab

Configuring the Lockdown Browser

Once you’ve enable the Lockdown Browser, (1) click it once in the navigation and (2) authorize using your Auburn/Canvas credentials.

Signing in to Lockdown Browser using your Auburn Canvas credentials

The Lockdown Browser comes with tips and tricks for both teachers and students.

Lockdown browser provides tips and tricks

To enable the Lockdown Browser for an exam, click the dropdown arrow next to the quiz and click “Settings.”

Choose the Quiz dropdown arrow and choose settings

Then click the options for your quiz and click “Require the Respondus Lockdown Browser for this exam.” The access code is optional.

adjusting the Quiz settings in Lockdown Browser

Zoom Update for Spring 2019

Big changes have arrived to Zoom over the holiday break. We’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the key changes for users at Auburn.

Canvas Integration Update

The Canvas integration has been updated more tightly connecting the two systems. Now once integrated, Zoom will appear in your navigation bar for both you and your students. Create, edit, and schedule your Zoom meetings as you would from directly in Canvas. If you prefer the previous method of adding the Zoom link to a module, that can still be done! We have help online to get you started, but always feel free to call us with any questions.

Note: The previous integration is no longer available.


screenshot, setting a name and time for a meeting


More Help!


Zoom Application Refresh

This month, Zoom is updating their client as well. From the Zoom update announcement:

New and exciting updates are coming to Zoom next month! These enhancements will provide your organization with smarter, more productive, and happier ways to work.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Refreshed user interface design. Zoom’s new desktop application is streamlined into one window with a modern, clean look and feel.
  • Keep the conversation going in between meetings. Use the Chat Tab to chat 1:1 or create a public or private channel for your team to collaborate and share files.
  • Stay organized. The Meetings tab now integrates with your calendar to display all your upcoming meetings and links to past recordings.
  • Stay connected. Use the Directory Tab to sort and group anyone in your Zoom Account (formerly listed as “Contacts”).
New Zoom Interface