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 (4:28) provides information about Canvas Notification Preferences.

112 - Notification Preferences from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

Click for Transcript of Notification Preferences in Canvas

In this video you will learn about Notification Preferences.

To get started, click the Account link in the Global Navigation menu. Then click the Settings link. 

To add additional contact information, use the options in the Ways to Contact section.

To add an email, click the Add Email Address link. Enter your email address in the provided field and click the Register Email button. After your email has been registered, you will receive a confirmation email. To complete registration, click the link provided in the email.

To add a mobile number, click the Add Contact Method link. Enter your phone number, carrier and, if applicable, your SMS email. Then click the Register SMS button. You will then be sent a text with a shortcode. To confirm your phone number, enter the code in Canvas and click the Confirm button.

The Web Services section allows you to link your Canvas account with your existing Twitter, Google Drive, Skype, and LinkedIn accounts. By default, Canvas does not disclose your information to other users within the system unless you give consent. 

To change how often you receive notifications, click the Notifications link in the settings navigation menu. Notification preferences are divided into sections including: Course Activities, Discussions, Conversations, Scheduling, Groups, Alerts and Conferences. Contact methods linked to your account will be listed in individual columns. You can set notification preferences for each category and contact method separately.

To change how often you receive notifications, select one of the notification icons. To receive notifications immediately, select the checkmark icon. To receive notifications daily, select the clock icon. To receive notifications weekly, select the calendar icon. To opt out of notifications for a feature, select the X icon. Notification preferences set on this page will apply to all of your courses.

You've now completed this tutorial video on Notification Preferences. For additional information on this or any other topic about Canvas, please visit You can also ask questions and engage with other Canvas users by visiting