Meaningful interactions among students and instructors are the hallmark of a successful online class. Canvas supports several types of communication, as described below.
In addition, registered students have Penn State e-mail accounts (<Access Account ID>@psu.edu) that they need to monitor for any official communications that come from the University or from the Penn State World Campus.
Please note that this is a comprehensive list of communication tools available in Canvas. This course may or may not utilize all of the options below.
These are messages from your instructor that contain important information. Current announcements can be accessed through the Announcements link in Canvas. Announcements may highlight assignment due dates (also published in the course Calendar), lesson recaps, a preview of an upcoming lesson and other essential course information.
Please turn on your notifications so you receive an email when an announcement is posted:
- Go to the Canvas home page and click on your Account (see top left of the toolbar).
- Click Notifications.
- Click the check mark in the email address column(s) that you want to be notified via in the Announcment row. This is required - I will use announcements to notify you of important course updates and other information.
- Please also click the check mark in the Discussion row as well.
Conversations are the equivalent of e-mail in Canvas. It's great to use for a quick e-mail to another student, instructor, or a whole team. Keep in mind that the text editor is very minimal, and does not have much formatting capability. Please use course conversations only for private messages to instructors or fellow students.
Discussions allow students to interact with the instructor and other classmates. Threaded discussions allow multiple posts and replies. New posts appear in the Course Activity Stream page, so you will know when something has been posted.
- In general, questions and comments about project assignments, and course content should be shared with the entire class via the discussion forums. That way, everyone can benefit from the discussion.
Conferences allow instructors or student Groups to host synchronous meetings online. Canvas integrates with BigBlueButton, a conferencing tool similar to Adobe Connect. Recordings made in BigBlueButton are available for a period of only two weeks after creation.
Whenever you post a message in a forum or send course mail, please title every message with a descriptive subject line. Subject lines that include the gist of a question or comment increase the chances that students and instructors can retrieve the messages we're looking for. Poor subject lines, such as "Question" or "Lesson 1," are not very useful as search keywords. When replying to a prior message, consider whether or not the subject line should be altered to indicate the content of your reply!