Interacting in Chat

The Chat tool on Canvas allows you to communicate with one or more of your students in real time online by instant messaging, video chatting, or whiteboard collaboration. You can use this tool to hold virtual office hours or review sessions, or just to communicate more effectively with your students.

  • Log into Canvas.
  • Select a course from the dropdown menu.
  • Select Chat from the left-hand sidebar.


You will now be logged in to your course’s or group’s public chatroom, in which you can do the following:

  • Enter text in the field to join the discussion.
  • Use audio or video to communicate with others in the chatroom.
    • Click the Start Broadcasting button.
    • Select Allow to give Canvas access to your computer’s webcam and internal microphone and click the Close button.
    • Select whether you want to broadcast video or audio and click the Continue button.
    • Select the Built-In Microphone microphone option. If you are broadcasting video and select the Camera Only option, you will broadcast video but no accompanying audio.
    • Select Open Microphone microphone option to broadcast live audio. If you select the Push-to-Talk option, you will need to click and hold a button labeled Talk when you wish to broadcast your audio.
    • When you are broadcasting, select the webcam icon to switch between broadcasting video and broadcasting audio. Select the microphone icon to change your microphone options.
    • When you are finished broadcasting, click the Stop Broadcasting button.
  • Watch videos as a group.
    • Select the Tube icon.
    • Search for a video in the YouTube popup window.
    • Select a video from the search results.
    • Click the Play button to view the video with everyone in the chatroom.
    • Click the Interact button that appears when you hover your cursor over the center of the video while it is playing and use the menu to adjust the volume, or to hide, close, or pause the video.
  • Listen to music as a group.
    • Select the cloud icon.
    • Search for a song in the SoundCloud popup window.
    • Select a song from the search results.
    • Click the Play button to listen to the song with everyone in the chatroom.
    • Click the Interact button that appears when you hover your cursor over the center of the music player and use the menu to adjust the volume, or to hide, close, or pause the video.
  • Visually demonstrate concepts or collaborate with others in the chat room on a group whiteboard.
    • Select the whiteboard icon. A synchronous drawing application will open in another window.
  • Create a private chat session.
    • Click the speech bubble icon to view private conversations.
    • Choose specific members of the of the chatroom with whom to chat from the list on the right side of the screen.

Note: Before you can begin a private conversation, you must create an account with TinyChat, the company that hosts Chat in Canvas.