Communicating with your students


In this lesson we will provide an overview of the Canvas Announcement and Inbox tools to communicate with students.


Upon completion of this lesson, instructors will know how to:

  1. Create an announcement
  2. Send and receive messages using the Inbox

Resources & Activities

During a campus closure, students are heavily relying on the instructor for direction. Be sure to share a communication plan and student expectations as soon as possible. Note, depending on the circumstances of the closure, some students may have limited options and may need exceptions or accommodations. Please provide options for asynchronous communications, when possible.

Canvas has a variety of tools available to help instructors communicate with students.


For full class communications, instructors are encouraged to post Announcements in their course.

Canvas Video Guides – Announcements Overview:

✓ Activity 1 – Create an announcement: To create an announcement, click the “Announcements” link in the course menu, then click the “+ Announcement” button.  Enter a title, message, and then Save. The announcement will post in the course.


For individual instructor to student communications, instructors are encouraged to use the Canvas Inbox tool.

✓ Activity 2  – Review Inbox resources:

Send a message: To send a communication to an individual student, use the Inbox tool. Click the Inbox tool, available in the green navigation area to the far left. Click the pencil icon to compose a new message. Select the course from the drop-down list.  Then, in the “To” area, click the address book icon to select a specific student. Type a subject, message, and then Send.

Reply to a message: To view and reply to a message, click the Inbox, then click the message.  If necessary, click the reply arrow, type a message, and then Send.

Note, by default, Canvas also routes Inbox messages to instructor and student email addresses. Users can reply through email and the message will be routed appropriately.

Next Lesson

Learn how to support student-to-student interactions in Canvas >>