In Canvas there are three different ways in which you can communicate with students. These consist of Announcements and Messages.

Using Announcements in Canvas

You can use Announcements to share important information or updates with your students. When creating your announcement you can choose whether to send it to all users on the module or to module sections (e.g. in the case of a cross listed module).You can add rich text, images, video and audio to announcements and choose whether to allow users to reply to announcements.
To create a new announcement, click the "Announcements" link in the module navigation and then click "+ Announcement" on the right of the screen. 

Give your announcement a title and add your message into the content area underneath. You can add files, images or link to another part of the module (for instance, if you are referring to an assignment you can add a link to it from the announcement). 

In the Post to section underneath the announcement you can choose who will receive the announcement. Canvas will send your announcement to all sections within your module. Note: Your module will likely only have separate sections if it is a cross listed module. You can choose specific sections by clicking the drop-down menu and selecting from the list provided.  
After this, you have other posting options - if you would like to allow users to reply to your post, schedule your announcement, etc, click Save to post your announcement. If you have chosen to delay the announcement, pressing save will save the announcement for posting at the scheduled time. 

You will be able to view your announcements in the main Announcement page (by clicking the Announcements link in the module menu on the left. 


Inbox & Conversations

Your inbox in Canvas is for communicating with your students. This has the same function as a normal email. The Inbox is split into two panels and displays messages chronologically. You can view and reply to conversations and sort them by course or inbox type.
Your inbox is located on the left hand side of the page.

Your inbox is the best way to communicate with your students both individually and or collectively as a class group.  A couple of things to note
  • If you right-click or option-click on the Inbox link, you can open your Inbox in a new browser tab to keep it handy while you are doing other tasks in Canvas.
  • Users display in the Inbox once they have an active enrollment in the course, and users cannot join a course unless it is published.
  • Once a course has concluded and its term date has passed, you can no longer message students in that course.                                                                             
In Global Navigation, click the Inbox link.
If the Inbox link includes a numbered indicator, the indicator shows how many unread messages. you have in your Inbox. Once you read the new messages, the indicator will disappear.

View Toolbar

The toolbar includes global message options. To load conversations, filter your messages by course or group [1] and type [2]. Filtering by type lets you filter messages by Inbox, Unread, Starred, Sent, Archived, and Submission Comments. You can compose a message at any time using the compose icon [3]. You can also search for conversations by user in the Search by user field [4].


Once you have selected a conversation, you can use the other options in the toolbar to:
  1. Reply to a conversation
  2. Reply-all to a conversation
  3. Archive a conversation
  4. Delete a conversation
  5. Forward, mark a conversation as read or unread, and star conversations

View Inbox Panels

Conversations for your selected course and Inbox filter appear in the left Inbox panel.

View Conversations

The Inbox is organized chronologically from newest to oldest with the newest conversations appearing on top [1] and the older conversations at the bottom.
You can manually mark a conversation as read or unread by hovering over the conversation and clicking the circle to the left of the conversation [2]. To start a conversation, hover over the conversation and click the star to the right of the conversation [3].  

View Conversation Thread

When you select a conversation [1], all messages in the conversations thread appear in the right Inbox panel [2].  

Manage Conversation Thread

Within each conversation, you can reply, reply-all, forward, or delete the entire conversation thread [1]. You can also hover over an individual message and use the same commands within the individual message [2].  

Select Multiple Conversations

To select multiple messages to archive, delete, mark as read, mark as unread, or star, click the check box for each message [1]. You can also press the command key (Mac) or the control key (Windows) while clicking each message you want to select. In the Inbox toolbar [2], click the desired option.
To select all messages, click the command + A keys (Mac) or the control + A keys (Windows).
To select a range of messages, click the first message you want to select, hold down the Shift key, and then click the last message you want to select. All messages between the first and the last messages will be selected.
Note: You can also click the message check box or use the same keyboard command to deselect a message.