Are you finding it hard to make time to hold in-person office hours? Do you teach an online course with students who cannot meet with you in person? Blue Jeans, a videoconferencing system fully integrated with Canvas, allows you to meet with any student at any time regardless of location.
How to Start a Conference
To start a videoconference, simply open your course in Canvas and locate the Blue Jeans button in the left navigation. Click the Schedule button in the upper left corner of the page. You will then be prompted to fill out basic meeting information (as shown in the image below), such as start and end times, a meeting description, and the list of meeting invitees. You can invite anyone in the course via the search bar, or you can enter an email address for a person who is not enrolled in the course as either a student, professor or teaching assistant. After entering this information, click the Save button at the bottom of the window. Then click the Join button to enter the conference!
Why Use Blue Jeans and Videoconferencing?
Videoconferencing offers more flexibility for both students and instructors with regard to meeting times and locations. A key strength of Blue Jeans is its total integration into Canvas. Rather than trading usernames and dealing with failing connections, instructors can easily select students by name via a search bar within Canvas. All conference participants are automatically guided through audio and video preference menus to ensure that everyone can easily participate and hear the conversation. Blue Jeans also has a recording option that can send instructors a recording of the entire conference session. This recording can then be sent to students who wish to revisit the session. The Share Screen option allows an instructor to explain a problem, share an image, stream a video, or present anything that can be pulled up on one’s screen for conference participants to view.
Blue Jeans Takes Off at Kellogg
Kellogg Professor Gad Allon began using Blue Jeans to host office hours this past fall. Eliminating the travel time traditionally required to get assistance, Allon hosted office hours through Blue Jeans and made it clear to his students that he would be in a specific Blue Jeans conference on a given time and day every week. Kellogg Professor Jan Van Mieghem used Blue Jeans to simultaneously conference with students located in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and the United States. This is a true testament to the power of the Blue Jeans integration for all Northwestern students as well as Blue Jeans’ strength as a digital service for global use.