Virtual classes Working with Zoom Discussions & Assignments in Canvas Zoom Trainings & FAQs

Instruction at SIPA is in the classroom during the academic year. In the event of unforeseen circumstances and disruption to campus activities, instructors can continue to hold classes and communicate with students using instructional technologies available through CourseWorks (Canvas).

Host Class Virtually VIA Canvas/Zoom

Hold synchronous, live sessions, that can also be recorded for later viewing

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that allows users (e.g. instructors) to speak with others (e.g. students) in different locations by streaming audio and video. The tool is accessible from a computer, a smartphone or a tablet. SIPA Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) and Office of Information Technology (SIPAIT) will work with instructors to setup and configure Zoom meetings for each course, train and support faculty and teaching assistants. Look for emails from Dean McIntyre for details.

There are two types of Zoom accounts:

  • Zoom Basic: free to all Columbia faculty, staff and students; it will time-out after 40 minutes if there are more than three participants in a meeting. You may create a Zoom basic account at by selecting the Sign In button.
  • Zoom Pro:  accommodates up to 300 people and has no time limit. All faculty will have a Zoom Pro account to manage their meetings and recitations.

    If a faculty member needs to get a Pro account, plesae follow the process described below:
    - Activate your basic account at at by selecting the Sign In button.
    - Send an email with you UNI email to [email protected] to request upgrade.
    - SIPAIT will work with OAA to get the upgrade and advise.

Zoom Recordings and Privacy:

  • Zoom Pro will be set to  automatically record the entire online class, unless faculty member requests to opt out (via email to [email protected].)  Only faculty members and students registered for the specific class will have access to the class recordings. Students will be required to acknowledge via CourseWorks (Canvas) that class recordings are only for use by class participants, not for other purposes. Recording cannot be downloaded by students. Recordings will be deleted on the last day of classes, unless the faculty member requests earlier date  via email to [email protected].
  • OAA will set-up initial Zoom Pro meetings for all courses and recitations. Information will be posted in Courseworks (Canvas).
  • All meetings will be set to auto record to the Zoom Cloud. Since Zoom recordings can be stored only for 30 days, CUIT has automated the process of moving Zoom recordings to Panopto and linking them to each course. They will then be automatically removed from the Zoom Cloud.
  • Class recordings will be available to view in Courseworks (Canvas) under "Panopto recordings" tab.

Zoom Support


Google Meet is available to students under Lionmail for group meetings.

Alternate option is for to use Canvas native Conferences (BBB) tool is available in all course sites.

  • Instructors can assign students to groups. 
  • Students can use Conferences with each other, post on in the Discussions, share documents and use chat.
  • The Conferences tool allows Teachers and TA’s to start a web conference using Big Blue Button (BBB). 
  • Students can also use Conferences in any group sites that have been put in by Instructors.
  • CUIT posted a guide for teachers up on the Canvas Tips and Tricks page (requires authentication).
  • Canvas has documentation for here