Is it possible to email or contact students via Canvas before the course is published or the class starts??
Holy Names Instructor
A course must be published before you can send messages to the students through Canvas. Once you publish the course, you can send messages, even if the students are not able to get into the course because it hasn't started.
This assumes, of course, that there are students in the course. If your school waits until the day before classes start to add students, then it really doesn't matter -- Canvas can't send messages if it doesn't know about the enrollment.
A warning: I would make sure that your course is substantially complete before you publish it, though. I made the mistake a couple of years ago of publishing the course so I could send messages and then continued to work on the material. The students kept getting notifications of every change that happened when I would publish assignments or pages within the course. I wonder if it basically taught them to tune out messages from me because there were so many of them before the class began and they couldn't see any of them.
There are a couple of places with more information.
Emailing students in an Unpublished course is a feature idea that allows what you're asking about. It is currently in the top 10% of ideas, but Canvas has said that it is part of the development plan during the first quarter of 2019.
HOW TO: Communicate with Enrollees before Publishing the Course? is a question someone asked. There were some suggested work-arounds from Kelley L. Meeusen , including publishing your course long enough to send the message but then unpublishing it right away so that students don't get all of the other notifications as you do work on the course.
Ultimately, your school may have another way to email the students. Our student information system has the ability to send an email to the class. It's not as effective at our school because students are more likely to check Canvas than their school email, but it's still a possibility.
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