GEOG 863
GIS Mashups for Geospatial Professionals



Meaningful interactions among students and instructors are the hallmark of an successful online class. Canvas supports several kinds of communication, as described below.

In addition, registered students have a Penn State e-mail account (<Access Account ID> that they need to monitor for any official communications that come from the University or from the Penn State World Campus.

Canvas Communications

The Canvas course management system supports several modes of communication, including discussion forums and course mail.

  • Discussion forums are a kind of public e-mail known as "threaded discussion." Everyone enrolled in the class can post messages of their own and can read and respond to every other message. A series of messages that make up a conversation is called a "thread." Discussion forums are included in each lesson.
    • In general, questions and comments about project assignments, and about topics in the course text that pertain to more than a single page, should be shared with the entire class via the discussion forums. That way, everyone can benefit from the discussion.
    • Need more help using discussion forums? Review the Canvas Student Guide section on Discussions.
  • Coversations is the private e-mail tool in Canvas; only the recipients you designate can read your messages. Course mail is also internal to Canvas.
    • You can access the Conversations by clicking on the Inbox icon - Canvas Inbox icon - in the main Canvas Menu.
    • Please use course mail only for private messages to instructors or fellow students.
    • Many instructors prefer to keep course mail within the course management system, except for emergencies. Please do initiate and reply to course related mail within the Canvas Inbox, even if you're reading your e-mail in one of the forwarded methods discussed below.
    • Need more help using course mail? Review the Canvas Student Guide section on Conversations.


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!

Communications from the University and from the Penn State World Campus

Occasionally the University or the World Campus needs to communicate with students. To do so they use the e-mail address that each registered student has, not Canvas course e-mail.

In addition a letter, in PDF format, that reports your final course grade will be automatically generated and sent to your e-mail address.

So, it is important that you regularly monitor your e-mail account.

Have questions? Need help?

There are many ways to get the help you need. See the "Help!" link in the Resources menu (left) to learn more about the people and resources available to you.