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What strategies do you use to test processes that send notifications?

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What strategies do you use to test processes that send notifications, given that notifications do not send from Test or Beta instances? 

Our Use Case:

We are developing a process to provision a certain set of Canvas user accounts through API calls with the "force self-registration" flag set to "True", so that the user will receive an invite email to prompt them to complete their user account registration (set a password). We would like to test this before rolling it out into the Production instance.

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Yes, they shared a theory that someone on the IC team threw out there, but nothing definitive or tested.  

Still would love to hear from others in the community on their strategies that they might have come up with, since this isn't a tested approach. If we are able to test this successfully, I'll reply here to let folks know.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

vanzandt,

We are giving the Canvas Admins area a little bit of love and just want to check in with you.  This will also bring this question new attention. 

First, I want to apologize for your question sitting in the community for so long without a response.

Second, it looks like you have stumped the Canvas Community.  Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.


Robbie

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rogrant@nmsu.edu ,

There have been no responses. This is still unanswered. Thank you for bumping it back up.

I think it brings to light an area in which Instructure might think about how to provide support for their community of users for this type of testing.

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vanzandt,

Have you run this through your Canvas CSM?

Robbie

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Yes, they shared a theory that someone on the IC team threw out there, but nothing definitive or tested.  

Still would love to hear from others in the community on their strategies that they might have come up with, since this isn't a tested approach. If we are able to test this successfully, I'll reply here to let folks know.

View solution in original post

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I too just hit this issue trying to  test logging in as a student with our new authentication changes to make sure we don't break production and I found that students in test environment cannot access content. Smiley Sad  I found this document on the test environment: How do I access the Canvas test environment as an instructor? shed some light on why we weren't getting email notifications too in the past.  On our own home grown LMS we coded it so that if you were in test and didn't want emails to go out to the true students or professor, we set up a email distro group that these emails went too and it would state it was testing and the email was intended for <insert real users name>.

I totally agree we need to have some more functionality working in Test.

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In case you don't know, you can have student functionality turned on in your test environment so you can test the student experience with something new, then turn it off again.  This is a CSM request.

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Thanks Valerie.  Do you know if when that's turned on if emails will be sent out to those real users?  Just good to know so I can train everyone to NOT trigger any time of email or notification.  

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Learner II

Hi Todd --

We run our own instance of Canvas locally for this kind of thing -- that way we have full control over the settings, and we can populate it with testing data, etc. This approach is definitely not a trivial amount of work; running an instance of Canvas does require that you have some sysadmin skills, and keeping an instance up-to-date with Instructure's code isn't always a smooth process. 

I haven't actually tried this yet myself, but I expect that running Canvas in a Docker container is probably the easiest way to get started. When running Canvas locally you can use Mail Catcher to view email messages that would have been sent (without actually having to send them).

--Colin

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Thank you 50581462‌ for your suggestion. Just to confirm, by locally, you mean that you run the Open Canvas version on your own servers?  We've considered paying for an additional instance with Canvas in the past, as it seemed like a pretty reasonable one-time cost, but had shied away due to the overhead of setting up and maintaining a second system. Of course that was during our transition phase of our implementation and maybe this adds to the Pros list and could be reconsidered as we move on to more normal operations. Thanks again for sharing this strategy!

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