Communicating in Canvas

From Help Wiki


Options for Communicating with Students in Canvas


Announcements allow you to communicate with your students about course activities and post interesting course-related topics. Remind students about upcoming deadlines. Point students to internal and external resources in the form of written content/attachments or even audio/video comments. Feed a custom RSS feed related to the topic of the offering to your students.


Click To Show More

How do I make an Announcement?

How do I add content to my Announcement?

You can add text, images, files, and link to course content in your announcements.

How do I attach a file to an Announcement?

You can attach files to your announcements for users to download.

How do I delay posting an Announcement until a specific date?

If you want to create announcements to post at a certain date and time, follow these steps.

See also Instructure's video: "Announcements Overview"


Discussions within Canvas provide an integrated system for you and your students to start and contribute to discussion topics. Discussions can also be created as an assignment for grading purposes and can be integrated with the Canvas Gradebook.


Click To Show More

Use Discussions to:

  • Follow-up on a conversation or questions that began in a face-to-face classroom.
  • Test student understanding about a discussion/conversation made in class.
  • Allow students to debate over ideas presented in class amongst themselves, while still in a supervised setting.
  • Use student input on the discussion boards to enhance and improve the effectiveness of class sessions.

What is the difference between Announcements and Discussions?

Announcements are designed to allow instructors to deliver information out to an entire class. Discussions are designed to allow interactive communication between two or more people within a course.

How do I create varied due date Graded Discussions?

You can create a Graded Discussion that has multiple due dates. Canvas will let you create one due date for each section in your course.

How do I set up a Group Discussion Assignment?

Groups are a subset of a course with a course-like environment including their own Calendar, Discussion board, and Collaboration tools. Only students added to a group have permission to see and use the respective tools within the group.

How do I allow students to attach files to a Discussion?

You can allow students to attach files to a Discussion by changing the course settings. Settings are available in the Discussions Page or the Course Settings Page.

How do I insert an image file in a Discussion reply?

You can insert an image file directly into Discussion replies using the image icon.

See also Instructure's video: "Discussion Overview"


One of the challenges facing both students and faculty is keeping track of all of the assignments planned throughout the term. The Calendar helps everyone stay on schedule and up to date.


Click To Show More

Helpful tips about the calendar:

  • The Calendar is used for reminding students of graded Assignments with specific due dates. To provide students with detailed descriptions of how synchronous class time will be used, consider using Pages or customizing the Course Home Page.
  • The Calendar automatically syncs with other features in Canvas, such as Assignments, Syllabus, and Grades, so if you create, change, or delete the due date of an Assignment on the Calendar, it will show up in all the others and vice versa. You can change dates easily by dragging and dropping assignments from one date to another.
  • The Calendar in Canvas is a global feature, meaning you can see all of your assignments from all of your courses in one place. If your Calendar becomes too crowded, you can filter the number of events listed on your Calendar by selecting or deselecting courses in the Sidebar.
  • The Calendar is designed to display up to 10 calendars at any given time. To help manage user calendars, courses customized in the courses drop-down menu as a favorite course will always be listed at the top of the user’s calendar list in the calendar sidebar.

Note: iOS users can sync the Canvas calendar with the calendars on their mobile devices. For more details visit the Mobile Guides.

How do I view the Calendar?

The Calendar is a great way to view everything you have to do for all your courses in one place.

How do I set a different Calendar event date for each section in my course?

This lesson will help you use different Calendar event dates for each section you have in your course. Click here to learn how to access your course Calendar.

When would I use the Scheduler?

Scheduler is part of the new calendar and creates appointment groups (collection of individual appointments) that students can sign up for.

See also Instructure's video: "Calendar Overview"


Conversations is a messaging system within Canvas.


Click To Show More

What is the Conversations Inbox?

The Conversations Inbox is split into two windows and displays messages chronologically.

How do I send a message to an entire class?

You can use Conversations to send a message to your entire class.

How do I privately respond to an individual in a larger Conversation?

Even when you are part of a group conversation, you can privately respond to another individual.

How do I add new people to an existing Conversation?

You can add people to an existing thread in Conversations.

How do I attach a file to a message?

You can upload supplemental files as part of your Conversations messages.


Canvas provides a variety of options for leaving feedback for students. See also Assessment and Grading Tools.


Click To Show More

How do I leave comments for students in the Gradebook?

If you want to leave simple feedback for your students, you can leave a text comment directly in the Gradebook. Gradebook comments will be placed within the Discussion portion of Speedgrader™.

How do I add a comment to an assignment using the SpeedGrader™ app on my iPad?

You can leave text, audio, or video comments on student assignments in SpeedGrader™.

How do I use free-form comments instead of ratings in a Rubric?

When modifying a rubric, you can enable free-form comments for each criterion in the rubric.

How do I attach a media comment to my message?

You can record or upload video and audio files as part of your Conversations messages.


Conferences can be used primarily for conducting virtual lectures and virtual office hours. You can use conferences to conduct presentations to a large online audience using webcams, audio, and desktop sharing abilities. Conferences also allow you to conduct a live chat session with the audience present in the conference room. Conference rooms can also be used by students to conduct group study sessions.


Click To Show More

Use Conferences to:

  • Conduct a live lecture or session to the students that can't be onsite.
  • Connect with your students for online office hours or special study sessions.
  • Use the meeting room for one-on-one sessions with students in a virtual environment.
  • Invite special guests to your classroom by adding them as a student or observer to your course.

How do I use the Conference interface?

This lesson shows you how to use Conferences.

How do I create a Conference?

  • You can create a conference in a course to hold virtual office hours and speakers. Conferences can accommodate up to 50 people.
  • Although you cannot send out invitations to the conference until it begins, you can create a course events on the Calendar to indicate an upcoming conference.

How do I record a Conference?

When you are creating a new conference, you can choose to record your conference to view at a later date.

Note: Recordings are automatically deleted 14 days after the conference ends.

How do I edit a Conference?

You can edit the settings of a Conference in your course.

Note: When a conference has been recorded and the conference is concluded, you cannot edit the conference recording.

See also Instructure's video: "Conferences Overview"

Course Activity Stream

The Course Activity Stream shows you all of the recent activity from a single course. This is different from the Global Stream, which you see in the Dashboard when you first log in to Canvas. As faculty, you have the option to show the Course Activity Stream as your Course Home Page or not.


Click To Show More

What is the Course Activity Stream?

What kinds of notifications will show up in my Course Activity Stream?

The Course Activity Stream shows you all of the recent activity from a single course.