College 2020 Information

EMGC 2020 Participant Instructions

Hello & thank you for joining us for Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener College 2020 (EMGC). We are excited to share our wonderful speakers with all of you!

Please review this document thoroughly. It contains instructions for joining EMGC 2020 online and what to do if you encounter technical trouble.

Canvas site link:

If you encounter any trouble and require assistance during EMGC 2020, email

Video tutorial for joining a session. Canvas site link:

Instructions PDF

how to join a session cover
How to join a session PDF

1: Before the event

Key actions: 

  • Make sure you have set up your Canvas account and know how to log in and find the links for each session (Note: Canvas does not work with Internet Explorer)
  • Make sure you have downloaded the Zoom software prior to Thursday June 25
  • If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, we strongly recommend you join one of our two Zoom “test” sessions

1.1 Set up your Canvas account

After registering for College, you should have received two automatic emails–one of those emails was from “Virginia Tech Guest Management Service” For a picture of this email, see screenshot below. Your “Virginia Tech guest account” is the account you’ll use to log in to Canvas account.

If you cannot find this email in your inbox, please try these steps:

After creating your account, it may take 6 hours for your account to become active! You probably will not be able to log in right away! 

After waiting 6 hours, go to and make sure you are able to log in and view our EMGC 2020 site.

Canvas does not work with Internet Explorer. If you are using Internet Explorer, please download and install one of these compatible browsers instead:

  • Chrome 81 and 83
  • Firefox 76 and 77 (Extended Releases are not supported*)
  • Edge 81 and 83
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser (supporting the latest system requirements)
  • Safari 12 and 13 (Macintosh only)

Can’t remember if you already set up your guest account? If you can’t remember whether or not you already set up your Canvas/Virginia Tech guest account account or if you can’t remember your password, try going to and logging in. You may use the “I forgot my username or password” option to recover your forgotten username/password.

Image of Virginia Tech Guest Account email

1.2 Download Zoom

We recommend that you download and install Zoom on your computer. To download Zoom, use the link below and install as you would any other software on your computer.

Zoom download link:

1.3 Zoom Test Sessions

If you have never joined a Zoom meeting before, or if you are not 100% comfortable with the Zoom platform, we invite you to join one (or both!) of our Zoom test sessions.

  • Wednesday June 17, 2:00-3:00 pm EST
  • Wednesday June 24, 2:00-3:00 pm EST

Join any time between 2 and 3 pm! There is no need to stay for the entire hour, just make sure you are comfortable joining the session & can get it to work on your computer.

Please use Canvas to find the links to join the test sessions.

2: Join a session

Key actions:

  • Use Canvas to locate the links for the event. Please log in and open Canvas at least 20 minutes before the session is scheduled to begin
  • Join a concurrent session via Zoom. Please join at least 5-10 minutes before the session is scheduled to begin (you may have to wait in a virtual “waiting room” for a few minutes, this is normal and allows speakers time to set up!)
  • Join a keynote session (a slightly different process)

2.1 Use Canvas to locate session links and information

If you have not already visited our Canvas site, please do so ASAP. Please take a few moments to explore the site. To get to the college Canvas site, go to:

During College, please login and open Canvas at least 20 minutes before the session is scheduled to begin. 

If you have not already set up your Canvas account, please see section 1.1.

When logged in to Canvas, it will look like this:

Logged in Canvas screen.

To find the links to join sessions, view session descriptions, and download any handouts or other materials provided by the speaker, click on the “modules” tab in the left navigation column. You may also use the calendar event links shown in the “To Do” section at the right of the screen or the links in the “Agenda” section of the home screen.

The “modules” page displays information for each session. When you’re ready to join a session, click the title of the session on this page to open session information. Here you will see the Zoom link to join the session. Join the session via Zoom. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, please see section 1.2 and 1.3.

2.2 Join a concurrent session via Zoom

When you’re ready to join a concurrent session, click the Zoom link provided on the session information page. This will open a new browser window with the option to “open”

Click “Open” to open the Zoom software on your computer.

Zoom launch window

Note: if for some reason you cannot use the Zoom software, you can join the meeting by clicking “start from your browser” at the bottom of the window.

Please join at least 5-10 minutes before the session is scheduled to begin.

View the session and enjoy! To ask a question, open the “Q&A” box at the bottom of the screen. We will take questions from the “Q&A” box; we will not take questions from the chat box!

If you cannot connect via Zoom, or if your computer does not have speakers and you can’t hear the session, you can also call into the Zoom meeting. To do so, dial the phone number nearest to your location and enter the meeting number (provided on the Canvas site) when prompted.

Zoom dial-by-location numbers: 

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

2.3 Join a keynote session (slightly different process)

You will not join our keynote sessions via Zoom. To join a keynote session, simply click the link to open the keynote session video in your internet browser.

To ask a question during the keynote session, please fill out this Google Form:

You may fill out this form any time during the session and we will keep track of questions as they are submitted to relay to our speakers.

3: Troubleshooting

Key actions:

  • If you have trouble, email for support, but please note that support capacity is limited!!
  • Zoom maximum capacity for webinars is 500. 

3.1 If you have trouble 

If you encounter trouble, email:

We will do our best to help you use Zoom and join sessions successfully; however keep in mind that we can provide only limited support.

You must set up and test your Canvas account in advance of College. See section 1.1.

Please download and test Zoom prior to the start of the first session. See section 1.2.

We anticipate that there will be a high volume of help requests at the start of each session, so please keep this in mind and: set up your Canvas account, download Zoom, and join our Zoom test sessions to avoid any last minute questions.

Please note:

  • Virginia Tech IT support will not be available after 5 pm on Friday, June 26. We cannot assist with any technical issues related to Canvas accounts after 5 pm on Friday June 26.
  • We have limited capacity for technical support and will answer questions on a first-come-first-serve basis. 
  • We cannot assist with computer problems or technical issues related to your operating system or internet connection.
  • If you miss a portion of or the entirety of any session, remember that links to recorded sessions will be provided.
  • Due to staff capacity, closed captioning on recorded concurrent sessions will be available by 7 days after the event. Real time closed captioning is not available on concurrent sessions.

3.2 A few common problems

  • Can’t find the email asking you to create a Virginia Tech guest account? Try these steps:
  • Virginia Tech guest accounts do not become active right away. It may take 6 hours for your username and password to work.
  • Canvas does not work with Internet Explorer. Please download Firefox, Google Chrome, or one of the other compatible browsers listed in section 1.1.
  • If your computer does not have built-in speakers and you cannot hear what people are saying in the Zoom webinar, you can call in to the meeting from your phone using the call in info provided on each session page.

3.3 Zoom Maximum capacity

Our max capacity for Zoom webinars is 500. In the unlikely case that we have more than 500 attendees try to join one concurrent session, any participants past 500 will not be admitted and will have to choose a different concurrent session to watch live.

4: Recordings

Recordings will be available approximately 48 hours after each session. The Zoom links in Canvas will be replaced with links to view the session recording. Recordings will only be available until Dec. 31, 2020; recordings will not be available indefinitely. 

If you have questions for a speaker while watching a previously recorded session, will accept questions via this form. Please keep in mind that our speakers are volunteers and their capacity to answer questions is extremely limited.

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Kathleen Reed at*) during business hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations 10 days prior to the event.

*TDD number is (800) 828-1120.