Environment and Society in a Changing World

Setting Up Communications


Setting Up Communications


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 forum, "Course Q&A". That way, everyone can benefit from the discussion.


Inbox is the equivalent of email in Canvas. It's great to use for a quick email 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.


Announcements are messages from your instructor that contain important information. Current announcements can be accessed through the Announcements tab 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.

Your Canvas Profile and Notification Preferences

Profile and User Settings let you control your personal information in Canvas. Take a few minutes to personalize your Canvas profile by following the instructions below.

Setting Up Communications
Task Instructions
Personalize your Canvas Profile
  • Go to Canvas.
  • Click on the 'Account' link.
  • Click on the 'Profile' link.
  • Follow the instructions on the Canvas Profile and User Settings page to customize important aspects of your profile including, but not limited to your preferred email address(es) and text (SMS) contact method for course notifications, your time zone, and your profile picture.
Set your notification preferences

You have the option to select how, when, and for what information you would like to receive notifications. This can be very helpful when keeping track of items such as discussion posts, assignment due dates, and exams. Visit the Canvas Notification Preference Support page (link is external) and follow the instructions for setting up your notification preferences. The video below this table provides additional information.

To ensure that your Canvas email messages forward to your regular email account immediately, check the "Notify me right away" option (the checkmark) for each item under "Conversations" in Notification Preferences.

Set your timezone
  • Go to Canvas.
  • Click on Settings in the Course navigation menu.
  • The Course Details page will open.
  • In the Time Zone drop-down menu, select a time zone for your course.
  • Scroll down and click Update Course Details.

Download the Canvas App For information on using the app by device, please see the following:

The following video (4:32) provides information about Canvas Notification Preferences.

Notification Preferences from eLearning TCC Connect Campus on YouTube.

Click for Transcript of Notification Preferences in Canvas

Hello students, this is just a quick video to show you how to set up your notification settings in Canvas so that you don’t miss anything important.

This is my Canvas dashboard. So, I logged into Canvas, and this is what I will see. From here, you’ll have a to-do list on the right-hand side. If you’re enrolled in classes and those classes have due dates set up, you’ll be able to see from here that you have assignments due.

But what if you want notifications about things like assignments, announcements, or messages from your instructor or classmates? You can set all of that up by clicking on Account. It might have your photo on it; you might not have a photo there, but you’re going to click on Account. Then, first, you want to go to Settings. Under Settings, you’ll be able to make sure you’ve got the correct email address here. That’s the email address that your notifications from Canvas would get forwarded to.

If you’ve got the app downloaded on your phone or your mobile device, you’ll have the option of turning on push notifications so that you get those kind of pop-up notifications for certain things as well. You can also elect to have text messages sent to you. You can add that contact method here by hitting plus contact method. Once you have your email address and your contact method set up, then you want to click on Notifications, which is also under Account. This is going to give you a broad matrix here of all the notifications that you can customize. This looks a little overwhelming, but the good thing is you get to decide what you get notified of and how you see it.

I have different columns for different notification methods, so for each individual email address and then for my push notifications, and for each of these activities, I decide whether I want to be notified immediately, whether I want to be notified through a daily summary or a weekly summary, or whether I don’t want to be notified at all. So, you might think due date is something really important, so you want to turn notify immediately on for due date. You also want notify immediately turned on for announcements. If your instructors are posting announcements, that’s usually important information they want you to have, and it’s probably information you want to see sooner rather than later. So go ahead and click notify immediately for announcements.

You may decide that you want notify immediately on for grading so that when your instructor puts a grade on an assignment, you’ll be notified and you can take a look at it. So as you scroll through, you’re going to find different things in Canvas. Some things you might not want notifications about, and some things you probably do. Under Conversations, this is going to be notifications for everything that happens in Canvas inbox, including messages that you receive from your instructor and from your classmates. If you just want to read those messages in inbox and you don’t want them forwarded to your email, you can turn that off. But if you’re more likely to check your email than your Canvas, then turn the notifications on. That’s just going to forward the Canvas messages to your email. So you have to kind of think, am I going to open my Canvas a lot and read my messages that way? Am I going to get push notifications of messages, and then I don’t want my email forwarded? You kind of have to think about how you’re going to use Canvas and how you’re going to use your email.

But if you’re a person who isn’t likely to check your email very often, then you probably want to turn your push notifications on for those messages. So if your instructor does reach out to ask you a question or send you a reminder, you get those notifications immediately. If you’re a student who opens Canvas three times a day, then maybe you don’t need messages forwarded to you. It’s really up to you, and you can change these notifications at any time.

So if you feel like you’re missing announcements or you’re not realizing that assignments have been graded in time, then you can go back in and turn notifications on. For the most part, we think students are probably going to want to use push notifications for important things like due dates, grades, and announcements. If you’ve got the Canvas student app on your phone, turning on these push notifications will let you know immediately that something important has happened in your class. Again, this is really up to you and how you use your phone, your email, and your Canvas app. So you decide, and once you’ve got those settings set up, you can just leave Account, and you can always go back and change them.

All right, everyone, I hope that helps.