Zoom Interfaces: When to use Canvas, Web, and Desktop clients

With the recent Zoom integration in Canvas, you may have questions about which Zoom interface—Canvas, web, or desktop—is best to use for scheduling whole-class and one-on-one meetings.

While the Zoom Canvas client does not offer the granular and extensive meeting settings available in the Zoom web client (uwmadison.zoom.us), any meeting set up through Canvas can be edited in the Zoom web client. The Zoom Canvas client is similar to the Meetings tab in the Zoom web client. Because you may schedule any class meeting in the Canvas client and then navigate to the web client to make changes, please see the Zoom Meeting Checklist for recommended meeting settings within the web client.


The Zoom Canvas client offers:

  • A single location for students to click on a meeting and find recordings.
  • A link that functions like the BBCollaborate Ultra link with Meetings and Cloud Recordings.
  • Management of all Canvas course Zoom Cloud recordings from any Canvas course. For an explanation of recording and meeting controls, check out Zoom Canvas Integration: What to Expect from the Interface.
  • Manual publishing of any course Cloud recording with a single button, eliminating the need to circulate a Cloud recording link.
  • The ability to schedule recurring class sessions.
  • A single video recording in Speaker View and a single audio-only recording. Note that if screen sharing occurs, the speaker will be placed in the top right corner of the screen for the duration of screen sharing.
  • Storage of Cloud recordings in Canvas and the Zoom web client for 150 days instead.


The Zoom web client offers:

  • Management of settings not included in Canvas, such as enabling reactions and polling. For a step-by-step exhaustive list of all recommended Zoom settings explained, please review the Zoom Meeting Checklist.
  • The ability to schedule a Zoom meeting with pre-assigned breakout rooms, polling, and/or registration.
  • Recurring or single-occurrence meetings with people outside of a Canvas course, such as a one-on-one interview with a guest lecturer or a small group meeting that is not open to all students in a Canvas course.
  • A supplement or alternative to the Canvas client for fine-tuning meeting settings.
  • The ability to record multiple views, such as Gallery View, if the option for students to view one another is important for the class session recording.


The Zoom desktop client offers:

  • The ideal experience when joining a Zoom meeting. Zoom meetings opened in the desktop client offer more in-meeting controls because it is most often updated. If your web browser is not updated, your ability to participant in a Zoom meeting using such features as self-selecting breakout rooms, may be limited. Instructors, students, and guest lecturers should frequently Download the Latest Zoom Update.
  • The ability to schedule an impromptu meeting, most likely with a colleague who is also using a UW-Madison Zoom account. It is not recommended to schedule class meetings in the desktop client because meeting settings are the most limited of all interfaces.