Frequently Asked Questions

Mon-Fri | 9:00-5:00 — Chapman Learning Commons Online Assistants are trained peers ready to help answer your questions about academic support and UBC learning technologies (such as Canvas, Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, and more).

These are emerging questions and answers related to COVID-19 impacts and commonly used learning technologies at UBC. Note that Canvas, Collaborate Ultra, Proctorio, and Zoom have all passed a UBC Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), which closely examines how personal information is handled by the technology and vendor.

COVID-19 Impact | Canvas | Collaborate Ultra | Microsoft OneDrive | Microsoft Teams | Proctorio | Zoom


COVID-19 Impact FAQ

Financial assistance

How can I find out if I qualify for financial assistance?
If you’re experiencing financial distress, you can schedule a confidential advising appointment with a UBC Vancouver Enrolment Services Advisor (1 877 272 1422). Together, you can review what resources are available based on your individual situation. You may be able to get help with:

  • Job loss
  • Living costs
  • Travel costs to get home
  • Food security
  • Barriers to accessing online classes and exams
  • Medical issues
  • Health services
  • Childcare

In addition, Enrolment Service Advisors can help you create a financial plan.

For UBC Okanagan students: Schedule a confidential appointment with a Student Services representative by email at sis.ubco@ubc.ca or by phone at 250 807 9100 (toll-free 1 866 596 0767).

You can also explore the questions and answers about government financial support for COVID-19 from UBC's Alma Mater Society (AMS).

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Canvas logo

Canvas FAQ

Get started with UBC’s Canvas student guide and read more below.

Is Canvas data stored in Canada?
Yes. Canvas is FIPPA compliant (it follows provincial privacy policy) and its data is stored securely in Canada by Amazon Web Services. More details are in the privacy policy linked from the footer when you first log in to Canvas. The UBC Canvas privacy FAQ provides further information about the policy.

Can I use Canvas on my phone?
You can do many Canvas course activities on your phone, like reading course content, watching live or recorded lectures, submitting assignments, participating in discussion boards, collaborating in groups, and viewing grades. For these activities, access Canvas through the browser on your phone or by downloading the Canvas Student app.

You should not use your phone for Canvas quizzes and exams. The small screen size does not accommodate the quiz layout very well, and Canvas exams proctored with the Proctorio tool will only work on desktop and laptop computers.

What browsers work with Canvas?
Canvas works with Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari. For which versions work, check the Canvas supported browser page. Canvas will not work with Internet Explorer.

If you are using a supported browser and still encountering issues, try logging out of Canvas, clearing your browser cookies, and logging back in. You can also disable any browser extensions or plugins to see if that's causing an issue.

If you still can't access Canvas, get UBC Canvas help.

I can't get to my course in Canvas. What can I do?
Make sure you are viewing all your courses, by clicking Courses in the Global Navigation (dark blue bar on the left) in Canvas, then clicking the “All Courses” link at the bottom of the list. Also be aware that Canvas courses may not appear until the first day of class.

If you can’t find your course on the All Courses page and classes have begun, check with your instructor that the course has been published. Unpublished courses will not be visible to you in Canvas.

If you still can't find your course or can't access Canvas at all, get UBC Canvas help.

How do I make sure I'm receiving notifications from Canvas?
Check your notification settings by clicking Account in the Global Navigation (dark blue bar on the left) in Canvas, then clicking Notifications. Set immediate or daily notifications for anything you don’t want to miss in your courses. It's generally a good idea to get immediate notifications for course announcements.

If notifications are set up but sending to the wrong email:

Click Account in the Global Navigation again, and then click Settings. On the settings page, use the list on the right to add a new email address or change which email is your default. You may get an email at the new address about the change; click the confirmation link it contains.

Optionally, also make sure you have the correct email address on file with the UBC Student Service Centre (SSC). The email Canvas initially used came from the SSC, so changing your SSC email ensures you won’t miss any other UBC communications.

Where can I find my grades in Canvas?
Depending on how your instructor has set up grading, you will either see grades immediately (e.g., after you take a quiz) or when the instructor manually releases the grades. To see the grades currently available to you, click ​Grades​ in the Course Navigation of your Canvas course.

Note that your Canvas grade may not reflect your official grade. Your official final grade will be posted in the UBC Student Service Centre.

How long will each course be available to me in Canvas?
If your instructor uses the default end date, the course will be available until 8 weeks after the last day of class for the term.

However, instructors may change the default to an earlier end date. It's best to get the materials you need from the course before the end of the term.

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Collaborate logo

Collaborate Ultra FAQ

Get started with UBC’s Collaborate Ultra student guide and read more below.

What is the difference between Collaborate Ultra and Zoom?
Not much. Collaborate Ultra and Zoom are video/audio web-conferencing and collaboration tools​ that let you, your peers, and your instructor meet in real time. Zoom is an alternative to Collaborate Ultra at UBC because some instructors need a tool that can be used outside of Canvas and/or can accommodate higher numbers of participants and the ability to see more video feeds at once.

Are Collaborate Ultra recordings and data stored in Canada?
Yes. Collaborate Ultra is FIPPA compliant (it follows provincial privacy policy) and any recordings done with it are stored in Canada by Amazon Web Services.

How can I best connect to live Collaborate Ultra sessions?
You can participate in Collaborate Ultra sessions from your desktop or laptop computer, or a mobile device.

  • From your Canvas course: Click Collaborate Ultra in the Course Navigation and join any active session from there.
  • From a link: If your instructor has provided a link directly to the session, you can click the link instead.

Note that, if you are not in Canada or the U.S., fees may apply when calling in on a phone, because the international number is a U.S. one (1 571 392 7651).

How can I access recorded Collaborate Ultra sessions?
If your instructor records a session, it should automatically upload to the Collaborate Ultra page of your Canvas course. From the Collaborate Ultra page, click the ​menu icon​ (3 horizontal lines) ​​on the left side of the “Sessions” black bar. Click ​Recordings,​ and then click the ​recording​ you want to play.

I can't get to the Collaborate Ultra page in my Canvas course. What can I do?
If you don't see the Collaborate Ultra page in your Canvas course navigation, contact your instructor. This needs to be enabled in the Canvas course in order for you to see it.

If the Collaborate Ultra page won’t load and you see a spinning purple wheel, you may need to ​enable cookies in your web browser.

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Microsoft OneDrive logo

Microsoft OneDrive FAQ

Get started with UBC’s Microsoft OneDrive student guide and read more below.

Can I use OneDrive on its own, without using Microsoft Teams?
Yes. You’ll need one UBC Microsoft account to access Microsoft products, but you can use them independent of each other. Learn how to get an account in UBC's Microsoft OneDrive student guide.

Are my files secure in OneDrive?
Yes. OneDrive meets UBC policy and BC requirements for security. All data in Microsoft OneDrive is encrypted, stored securely, and hosted in Canada. You can read more about OneDrive privacy and security from UBC IT.

Do I need to download an application to use OneDrive?

No. You can install the desktop or mobile application to use OneDrive, but you can also access it from your browser by signing in at portal.office.com and selecting OneDrive. However, you may find it more convenient to use the app than the web interface, which will regularly require you to log in.

If you install the OneDrive app, you will see a new OneDrive folder in your directory for managing your files. You can also use the web interface along with the application, as they work in tandem with each other.

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Microsoft Teams logo

Microsoft Teams FAQ

Get started with UBC’s Microsoft Teams student guide and read more below.

Is Teams replacing any existing tools?
No. Microsoft Teams will not be replacing any current tools, such as Zoom. It is available as an additional collaboration tool, to give you a platform for group work where you can meet, chat, and collaborate on documents in real time with your peers.

Do I need an account to use Teams?
It depends. To attend a Teams meeting or live event (e.g., a lecture), you can click the link to join as a guest and do not need to create an account. However, to use the chat and collaboration functions or host your own meetings, you’ll need a UBC Microsoft account. Learn how to get one in UBC's Microsoft Teams student guide.

Do I need to download an application to use Teams?
No. You can install the desktop or mobile application to run Teams as an app, but you can also access it from your browser by signing in at teams.microsoft.com with your UBC Microsoft account.

Can I use Teams outside of a course?

Yes. Once you create a UBC Microsoft account, you are free to use Teams on your own to meet, chat, and collaborate on documents.

You can also request to host or be invited to join a specific team on Microsoft Teams for a club, team, or other UBC student organization.

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Proctorio logo

Proctorio FAQ

Get started with UBC’s Proctorio student guide and read more below.

Understanding how Proctorio works

How does proctoring exams work with Proctorio?
  1. Instructors choose what Proctorio should record during your exam. This typically includes your webcam, microphone, screen, and any websites you visit (but never your bookmarks). Instructors may also restrict what you are allowed to do on your computer during the exam, like disabling printing, copying, or downloading or forcing the exam to take up the full screen. For closed-book exams, you will be prevented from accessing other websites.
  2. You take your exam with Proctorio. First, you will go through a series of system diagnostic tests to make sure everything is working properly for recording. If your instructor enables it, you may then need to hold up a photo identification and rotate your webcam 360 degrees to do a full room scan, before you start answering questions.
  3. During the exam, Proctorio records what instructors tell it to, but no one is watching this recording. You are the only one who can see what's being recorded. You can also hide the video display of yourself, so it doesn't distract you.
  4. After you finish the exam, Proctorio’s algorithms automatically look over your recordings. Instructors set what behaviours they want flagged as unusual activities. No matter the settings, something you've done will almost inevitably be flagged as "unusual". This is normal and no reason to worry (you won't even know it has happened).
  5. Instructors and/or teaching assistants review the recordings. This typically involves checking your room scan, photo identity, and scanning through your recordings. When Proctorio’s algorithms have flagged unusual activity, it will be indicated in red along the recording timeline, so the reviewer can see exactly what happened at that point.
  6. Instructors and/or teaching assistants determine whether any activity flagged by Proctorio's algorithms constitutes actual misconduct or requires following up with you. Proctorio's role is limited to suggesting areas of your recordings to review, and you are never penalized for any false flags. You will likely not need to explain anything and will simply receive your grade as you normally would.

Does Proctorio really track your eye or other body movements?
Yes and no. During an exam, Proctorio does not track anything. After an exam, Proctorio’s algorithms automatically look over your recordings. Instructors set what behaviours Proctorio’s algorithms should flag as unusual activities, which may include eye movement. No matter the settings, something you've done will almost inevitably be flagged as "unusual". This is normal and no reason to worry (you won't even know it has happened).

Remember that instructors and/or teaching assistants will review the recordings to determine whether any activity flagged by Proctorio's algorithms constitutes actual misconduct or requires following up with you. You will likely not need to explain anything and will simply receive your grade as you normally would.

Can I get bumped out of a Proctorio exam? What happens then?
Typically, this will not occur. Nothing that happens in your physical space (e.g., background noises, body movements) will ever trigger Proctorio to bump you out of the exam. But if you lose your Internet connection or instructors have set especially tight restrictions on what you are allowed to do on your computer, you may get bumped out of the exam temporarily.

Remain calm. Attempt to re-enter the exam to pick up where you left off. If this doesn’t work, contact your instructor or teaching assistant AND Proctorio at 1 866 948 9087. Together, they will make sure you can re-enter.

What does Proctorio record or access outside of my exam?
Nothing. Proctorio only runs when you’re in an exam in your Chrome browser (you will see a shield icon in the browser address bar when it’s active). There is no separate program collecting your data and no data collection once you leave your exam.

For added peace of mind, you can uninstall Proctorio when you are done by going to the Proctorio Chrome extension page and clicking Remove from Chrome.

Who outside UBC can see my Proctorio recordings or data?
No one. Although the recordings are scanned by Proctorio's algorithms, the footage is only available to the appropriate users at UBC. No person at Proctorio can access the recordings or data, as they are stored using zero-knowledge encryption, meaning Proctorio does not have the key to decode the encryption.

Are my Proctorio recordings and data stored in Canada?
Yes. All Proctorio encrypted recordings and data are stored in Canada by Microsoft Azure in accordance with Section 26(c) of FIPPA. The encrypted recordings are retained for two years before they are deleted. If you have any questions or concerns about the privacy of your data, you can contact Paul Hancock (UBC Legal Counsel, Information and Privacy) at paul.hancock@ubc.ca.

Preparing for Proctorio exams

What do I need to use Proctorio?
To take a Proctorio exam, you must have:

Proctorio can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome Operating Systems. You can view the detailed minimum technical requirements on Proctorio's site.

How can I prepare for Proctorio exams?
  • Follow the advice for taking proctored exams on this site.
  • If you're having trouble meeting requirements for using Proctorio, tell your instructor. You can also explore financial support options, if you have financial barriers to meeting requirements, or request accommodations, if you can't meet requirements due to a disability.
  • Complete the practice round or ask for one to be set up, if your instructor does not provide it. This allows you to try out the experience and test the technical requirements before the stakes are high.
  • Find a clear photo identification you can use for the exam to prove your identity. On exam day, it’s also best if you match your appearance (as best you can) with the chosen identification, e.g., wearing or not wearing glasses, applying or not applying make-up, styling hair similarly. Proctorio will try to verify a rough match.
  • Know what restrictions your instructor has set around what actions are or aren’t allowed on your computer during the exam. Ask about washroom breaks, using scratch paper, or any other concerns you have.

I'm worried something about my personal situation will look like cheating. What can I do?
The most important thing to know about Proctorio is that its algorithms flag your recordings, but a person reviews those flags. Instructors and teaching assistants will quickly see if you were doing something normal like adjusting your position or there was loud noise in the background. And they expect you to do the same things you naturally would in a long, in-person proctored exam (e.g., fidgeting, stretching, not looking directly at the exam the whole time).

Talk to your instructor ahead of time, if you're still concerned, or send an email later to express any concerns that came up during the exam. If the situation is related to a disability, ask for accommodations.

What if I need a washroom break during a Proctorio exam?
Typically, you will tell the camera you are taking a washroom break, and then you will have a set amount of time to return. Instructors should give you details on if or how this works in their specific course. Ask them if this is not provided.

Can I use a blank piece of paper to write on during a Proctorio exam?
Typically, you will show the camera any scratch paper before and after the exam. Instructors should give you details on if or how this works in their specific course. Ask them if this is not provided.

Proctorio is asking me for an exam access code. What can I do?
Proctorio exams do not require an access code. If you are being prompted for one, please ensure you:

If this doesn’t resolve the issue, follow the troubleshooting steps for exam access codes in UBC's Proctorio student guide. If the problem persists, contact Proctorio support: 1 866 948 9087 or ​support@proctorio.com​.

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Zoom logo

Zoom FAQ

Get started with UBC’s Zoom student guide and read more below.

Can Zoom be used without an account?
You do not need an account to attend Zoom sessions. You can simply click the links your instructors send to join lectures, office hours, or other meetings. However, if you want to schedule your own sessions through Zoom, you will need an account.

In either case, you will need to install the Zoom application.

How do I get a Zoom account?
You should not need a Zoom account to participate in most UBC courses. However, if you need to make a Zoom account for a course, your instructor will either create a UBC one for you or ask you to sign up for a free Zoom account yourself. To sign up, you can use any existing email address that does not end in "@student.ubc.ca".

Where is Zoom data stored?
As of July 5, 2020, UBC's institutional Zoom account transitioned from U.S.-based hosting to Canadian-based hosting. This means no data about you will be stored on servers outside of Canada for Zoom lectures or other academic sessions, so long as your instructor uses a UBC Zoom account to schedule the session and you do not attend the session while logged in to a free Zoom account.

I still have privacy concerns with using Zoom. What can I do?
If you still have privacy concerns about Zoom:

  • Provide ​only​ your first name or a nickname when you join a session.
  • Keep your camera off and microphone muted, as much as you can (as an exception, you may be asked to activate your camera during exams for invigilation purposes).
  • Try to avoid sharing any identifying information for yourself or others (e.g., real names) during the session.

What if I'm uncomfortable using Zoom for exams?
To further protect your privacy during exams:

  • You can use a first name or nickname when you join the session, but you should register the name you will use with your instructor in advance.
  • If asked to show your Student ID card to verify your identity, cover the first four digits of your student number when you show your ID on camera.
  • If you are uncomfortable showing your ID in a shared session with other students, ask the invigilator to create a separate breakout room where you can show your ID one-on-one.

Talk to your instructor, if you still have concerns.

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Get support

  • Academic – Reach academic advisors, accessibility advisors & tutoring options
  • Financial – Connect with Enrolment Services advisors
  • Technology – Contact UBC IT, Collaborate Ultra, and Proctorio
  • Wellness – Find counselling services, medical appointments & sexual violence support

Mon-Fri | 9:00-5:00 — Chapman Learning Commons Online Assistants are trained peers ready to help answer your questions about academic support and UBC learning technologies (such as Canvas, Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, and more). Ask questions live or by email.


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