I teach at the University of Denver and every quarter there’s at least one student who complains that they never saw a class announcement I posted. We use Canvas for our class communication and management, so it turns out that all that needs to be changed is a simple setting in Canvas.
It’s impressive just how many schools, colleges, and universities are using Canvas as a learning management tool, and it’s no wonder once you can peek behind the scenes at the tremendous power of the software. Online tests, group management, discussion forums, assignment submissions (with automatic plagiarism checking), and so much more, it’s a pleasure to use as an instructor. My children go to different colleges and all use Canvas too, so this is a tutorial far more useful than just for my students at University of Denver!
While there’s a mobile app for Canvas, most all students use the system through a Web browser on a laptop or desktop computer. This offers more screen real estate so it’s easier to navigate and think through discussion posts, upload documents created in Word, Pages, or Docs, and so on. It also makes it easier to navigate application settings, particularly those related to your interaction with Canvas, not just the specific device you’re using. Let’s have a look…
FINDING ACCOUNT SETTINGS IN CANVAS
Log in to your Canvas account through your favorite Web browser on your computer – I use Microsoft Edge on a MacBook Pro – and click on “Account” on the left side to reveal the following options:
What you don’t want to do is click on “Settings” because, somewhat confusingly, Canvas has “Notifications” as its own menu choice. Click on “Notifications” instead to reach Notification Settings:
You can see that the program differentiates between notifications sent via email (to the listed address) and push notifications that will show up on any registered mobile devices. Look at assignment due dates, for example. You can see that I have a calendar icon for Email (we’ll get back to that momentarily) and a green bell icon for Push Notifications. If I have a deadline, I’d rather get too many notifications instead of too few, so those settings are fine.
CHANGING ANNOUNCEMENT NOTIFICATION SETTINGS
The fifth entry on the above list of notification settings is “Announcement“, related to announcements posted in any classes in which you’re enrolled. But you can change the scope of your announcement settings if you want by clicking on “Account” near the top. It pops up a menu of every class you’re enrolled in or teaching (in my case):
By choosing “Comm & Soc: Theories & Apps (Online Asynchronous)” I can ensure that the changes I make to my own Canvas settings only apply to this class, rather than across all classes in which I’m enrolled. If you have multiple classes through Canvas, you probably want to leave this untouched so that your changes apply to every course, which is obviously much easier than changing it class by class.
Click on the icon associated with a specific type of notification for “Annoumcent” (or any other notification) and you’ll learn that there are four possible settings, as shown:
I like to stay on top of what’s happening on Canvas, so I almost always set things to “Notify immediately”, but if I found myself getting a half-dozen or more notifications via email each day, it’s easy to switch to “Daily summary” or even “Weekly summary” for less important notifications. You can also turn off notifications, but I would counsel that only be used infrequently because it’s hard to be successful in a class if you’re completely unplugged!
That’s it. Now you know where to find your class announcement notification settings in Canvas and how to change them to perfectly match your requirements. Good luck with your classes!
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