Student issues with Blackboard/Canvas and Zoom

We have heard from many students who have expressed difficulty in accessing their courses in Blackboard or Canvas, and entering Zoom class meetings that exceed 100 participants. To mitigate these issues, VCU Technology Services has provided the following solutions.

Blackboard and Canvas
Many students were not able to access one or more of their courses on Blackboard or Canvas. In several cases, faculty were able to remedy the situation by making the course available (Blackboard) or publishing the course (Canvas).

Please take a moment and, using the instructions below, ensure that your courses are accessible to your students as soon as possible. If you need additional support, please call the IT Support Center at (804) 828-2227 or

  • Courses in Canvas: Instructors must publish a course before students can access it and its contents. Students cannot see unpublished courses and content. In addition, in order for manually added students to be notified of their course availability on Canvas, instructors must set both a start and end date for the course. Publishing a course will send invitations to any users who were manually added to your course. Users added via SIS import (i.e. automatically via Banner Integration) will not receive an invitation. Course invitations will not be sent until after the course start date. (The start date is commonly the term date, unless the term is being overridden by a specific course or section date in Course Settings.)

Additional students, when logging into a Zoom class meeting, have received messages that the course has reached capacity and to try again at another time. Last spring, VCU upgraded Zoom for all faculty to support large virtual classroom meetings with up to 300 participants and no time limits.  A non-VCU, free “Basic” account from Zoom is limited to 100 participants and 40 minutes. It is important that faculty use their VCU Zoom account for all classes to ensure student access.

  • VCU Zoom: If you are not using VCU Zoom, please log in at with your VCU eID and password to obtain a "Licensed" account with a 300 participant capacity and no time limits. If you have a free account that was created using your email address, any of your saved recordings, meeting links, etc. will be transferred to the new account. If you are using a basic Zoom account with a non-VCU email address, then your meeting links will need to be rebuilt. If you need additional support, please call the IT Support Center at (804) 828-2227 or

Thank you for your continued support of our students.

Gail Hackett, Ph.D.
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs