Communicating with Students in Canvas

Want to send a message to students in your class in Canvas?

You have two options, and they’re both easy to do.

1. First, you could post an announcement in your course. Just go to the Announcements section, and click the blue button that says “Make an Announcement.” (Don’t worry if the Announcement tab is greyed out at first. That just means there are no announcements in it, and students can’t access it yet. It will turn dark grey and become visible to students once you add an announcement.)

Make_Announcement_Button_displayThen fill in the fields on the Create an Announcement screen and click Save when you’re ready to post it to the course. Here’s a link from the Canvas guides on how to do it.

There are several advantages of communicating to students with announcements. First, students will get an email from Canvas notifying them that a new announcement has been posted in their Canvas course (provided they have not turned this email notification off in their notification settings). Second, the announcement will be stored in your course until you delete it, so you’ll have a record of your communication. Finally, students can reply directly to announcements in Canvas for everyone to see. This ability for students to reply to announcements creates another opportunity to engage the entire class in a dialogue about important course topics. Please note that if you’d like to turn off the reply feature of an announcement, you can do so on the settings for that announcement.

2. The second option for communicating to students in Canvas is to send them a message through the Conversations tool in Canvas. The Conversations tool basically functions like an email system within Canvas, and you can access it by clicking on the Inbox link next to your name in the top right hand corner of Canvas.

Once in the Conversations area of Canvas, click on the button that looks like a pen and a pad to compose a new message.

Compose-new-messageIn the new message window, you’ll be able to send a message to everyone in your class by selecting the course name from the drop down menu. You can also attach files or media recordings using the buttons in the bottom left hand corner of the window.

new-message-windowAlthough you won’t get a copy of the email in your La Salle email, Canvas does save a record of the email in the Conversations area of Canvas. Just click the drop down box that says Inbox to and select Sent to access sent messages and other message types. Here’s a link from the Canvas guide with more information about the Conversations tool.

publishLast, but certainly not least, you need to make sure your course is published before students can receive messages sent through the Announcement or Conversations tools! So don’t forget to click that cloud in the right side bar of your course home page once you are ready to start communicating with students.

As always, if you need any assistance, please reach out to the Instructional Design team at

5 replies on “Communicating with Students in Canvas”

  1. Note that students can post a comment to an announcement. I prefer to keep announcements “one-way”. This feature can be turned off for individual announcements via the drop-down menu when clicking on the settings icon for the desired announcement.

    It can also be turned off globally for all announcements in all courses. This is done through your global settings.

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