Canvas communication options

Below are available Canvas communication options. Read through each option to find the one that best fits your needs.


  • Created and posted by instructors, TAs, or course admins.
  • Delay posting so the content is not visible until a specific date and time.
  • Generates email notifications when announcements are posted.
  • All course announcements are collected and retained in the tool unless deleted by a teaching team member.
  • Can be sent to entire course or specific sections.
  • Can allow for students replies.


How to disable comments in Announcements

How to send an Announcement

More information about the Announcement tool


  • Created by instructors, TAs and students (students cannot send message to entire course).
  • One-to-one conversations. 
  • Messages to specific sections or specific students.
  • Email notifications are sent to student email addresses.
  • Students can respond to messages from their email client.


How to send a Message

More information about the Conversations Tool


  • Real-time text communicate between all course participants at the same time.
  • Message CANNOT be deleted once sent and can be seen by all.
  • Instant messaging.


How to use Chat in a course

More information about the Chat Tool


  • A forum to allow discussion among students.
  • Can be restricted to certain sections or available to all.
  • Subscription option notifies subscribers of activity within a discussion.
  • Can be graded and included in the course grade.


How to create a discussion post

More information on the Discussion tool

Message Students Who...

  • Send messages from the Gradebook to students based on a certain criteria (e.g., who have not submitted an assignment, have no received a grade, etc.).
  • Students will receive a message but won't see the other students who also received the message.
  • Good for contacting students who may be falling behind and/or recognizing students who did well on an assignment.


Communication from the Gradebook

Ed Discussion

Ed Discussion is an online communication tool that can be used to facilitate synchronous and asynchronous online discussions in a course. See Getting Started with Ed Discussion for more information. 


Harmonize is a media-rich discussions tool that supports annotations and collaborative discussions. You can compare Harmonize with other available Canvas discussion tools.


Slack is an instant messaging tool that allows for multiple channels to focus on communication. See Create a private Slack Workspace for your course with Canvas for more information.

Email client outside of Canvas

If you wish to communicate with students outside of Canvas, you can export student email addresses from Roster Photos. If you choose to go this route, we recommend using the bcc field so fellow class members do not see each other’s email addresses.

You can also create a mailing list for your course by submitting a HelpSU ticket to the AS Course Support mailing list team.