Communication in Canvas happens through the Inbox. With the Inbox, you create Messages that students can read in Canvas or wherever they've set to receive notifications (St. Edward's email address, text messages, etc.).

Sending a Message in Canvas

Messages are part of the internal communication system in Canvas. Messages will only be sent via email if the student has selected that a "Conversation Message" notification should be sent to their email address. By default, this notification is set to send immediately to a student's St. Edward's email address, but students can change that preference.  

Messages are delivered to email from the reply-to address of "notifications@instructure.com." This means replies are delivered back to the Canvas messaging system and will be stored there. As an instructor, you will need to set your Notifications to check for and notify you of "New Messages Created by Me," "Conversation Message" and "Added to Conversation."


Please note: Students will only receive messages from the Inbox or Announcements after the class is published, and after the Start Date in Settings.  

How to Send a Message in Canvas

  • The Inbox is located in the Global Navigation menu on the far left. It will display all messages from all classes.
    Inbox icon
    In this image, the display shows 28 unread messages. Click the Inbox to view messages or send new messages.
  • Click the Compose button to start a new message.
    Button with an image of a box with a pencil
  • Click the Address Book icon (1) to select the class or specific student(s) for the message. If you don't see students listed here, that means the course hasn't been published, so you're unable to send messages to your students.
    Compose Message by choosing Course, To, Subject and checking Send an individual message to each recipient
  • Enter a subject for your message.
  • ‚ÄčMake sure you check the (2) box to "Send an individual message to each recipient." If you don't check this box, students who reply to your message are replying to everyone who received the message.
  • The messages are plain text, so no formatting is available. Remember some students may have set their notifications to get text messages, so front load the content that's important. You can also attach documents to the message.  
  • If you or your students reply to a message via email, the message will be stored in Canvas. But you cannot attach documents to a reply in email. Attachments will only work if you use the Canvas Message application in Canvas.
Additional information on using Conversations or the Inbox in Canvas can be found in the Canvas Guide on Conversations

For more information on using Canvas more generally, please visit the Canvas Community for comprehensive resources beyond St. Edward's.