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#214 Clarifying Class Communications in Canvas

February 17, 2014

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There are a few different tools available for class communications in Canvas.  This tip will distinguish between Announcements, Class Mailing List, and Conversations.

There are 3 tools available in Canvas for class communications.  Here is how to distinguish between them: 


  • Announcements must be sent from within Canvas. 
  • Students will receive a message from “myCourses Class Communication” containing the entire contents of the message as well as a link to the course in Canvas. 
  • Only those with the Instructor role in Canvas can make Announcements. 
  • All Announcements are archived to the Announcements page within the corresponding Canvas course.
  • The Announcements tool is useful to notify the class of upcoming class events/assignments.

For more information on Announcements, please see either our guide on ITS Online or visit Canvas Guides.


Class Mailing List

  • Messages to the Class Mailing List must be sent from Outlook or your preferred mail client to [CourseID] (for example:
  • Students will receive the message as a regular email message that appears to come from the professor.
  • The Class Mailing List can be configured so that students can use it to message the class as well as the professor.
  • All messages sent to the Class Mailing List are archived to the Class Mailing List page within the corresponding Canvas course.
  • The Class Mailing List is useful for those seeking a traditional email list to interact with their class.

For more information on the Class Mailing List, please see our guide on ITS Online.



  • Conversations must be sent from within Canvas.
  • Students will receive a notification via email and will also see a number next to the Inbox link in the red menu located in the top right corner of Canvas.
  • Both students and professors can send messages to anyone in the course or to the entire class.
  • Messages sent via Conversations are not archived to the course, they are instead archived within each recipient’s Inbox in Canvas.
  • The Conversations tool is useful for direct or personal messages, but it is not recommended for official class communications because they are not archived within the course site. 

For more information on Conversations, please see these Canvas Guides.