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How to attend classes online using Zoom in Canvas

Category: Academics

Zoom is a video conferencing and recording tool that can be integrated with Canvas. Stanford UIT offers free Zoom accounts to all Stanford faculty, staff, and students. If your instructor is using Zoom, here’s what you need to do. NOTE: A fuller version of Zoom help for students is now available here.

Get a Stanford Zoom account and download software

Before you can use Zoom, you must install the Zoom software for your device and log in for the first time from your Mac, PC, mobile, or tablet device.  Make sure you update to Zoom 5.0 before May 30, 2020, or you won’t be able to join meetings. UIT is tracking Zoom security releases.

Do not set up an account using your Stanford SUNet ID email at directly, please follow instructions above.

If you are having difficulty logging in or getting set up, call 5-Help (650) 725-4357 (option 5) or visit for assistance with Zoom.

Optimize your settings

If you are using the desktop app, there is a settings icon in the top right. Settings give you control of how your Zoom interface presents itself to you. It also affects how you present yourself in Zoom, for your privacy. For instance, turning on Virtual Background covers your real background with an image of your choice if you don’t want people to see where you are or who you are with, though people next to you or closer than a couple feet behind you will appear. Under Video, and Audio you can opt to turn off your video or mute yourself when joining a meeting. You can also test your audio setup there if you have an external headset mic (headsets are recommended to reduce background noise if you are in a noisy place).

Test your setup beforehand

Try the Test Meeting to make sure your software and audio is set up.

Find the Zoom meeting link for your class

In Canvas, your instructor should share meeting information.

  • In a tool called “Zoom”
  • In Canvas Calendar, as an event
  • In a Canvas event notification (in your email if notifications are on)

If it is not there, it could be on a page, such as the Home page, or they decided not to host synchronous meetings.

Avoid bandwidth issues in your home

Stanford UIT has common fixes for bandwidth issues at home that includes things you could do differently in Zoom.

Join a Zoom session

Click the Zoom meeting link several minutes before your meeting, as you may be prompted to download Zoom to your PC, Mac, tablet or phone. Follow the instructions to join computer audio (if your phone connection is more reliable than the internet, select Call Me on desktop or Call My Phone on mobile to avoid entering a passcode if one is required*). Mute yourself if that isn’t default. Unmute when you want to talk. On phone, *6  to toggle mute/unmute.

You may find it helpful to change your view or pin a particular speaker.

How can I get help?

Call 5-Help (650) 725-4357 (option 5) or visit UIT has answers to common Zoom feature questions. While you wait, call the Zoom phone number* and enter your meeting number to hear meeting audio, but you may need a password from your instructor. Most of your sessions should be recorded as well.

Find recordings of a Zoom meeting in Canvas

If the meeting was scheduled via Canvas and recorded, the Zoom recording will be in the Canvas course in the Zoom tool > Cloud Recordings tab a few hours after the meeting ends.

*students in China must use internet audio as phone access is not available.