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Can an instructor turn off student notifications for a course?

Is it possible to turn off notifications for my students in my course settings?  I know the students can turn off their own notification settings in their individual accounts, but I want to set the course itself to not send out notifications. 

36 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @hondaschoology ‌

Currently, this is not possible in Canvas, and I am not sure it is desirable. Notifications are a user-controlled feature to help them stay current of changes in Canvas, and the intent of that feature is that is be user-controlled.

There has been considerable discussion about this in the Community at various time, and many rationals made for taking this control away from the user and giving it to a teacher or admin.


Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @hondaschoology ,

I agree with Kelley, in that it is probably not desirable. However, I am curious as to what your specific use case is, i.e. why in certain cases it would be desirable for this to be possible.

Always interesting to see if you might have a use case that hasn't been pondered before.


Thanks for the replies. One reason for my desire to be able to turn the notifications off is that I am often changing content, due dates, etc. of module items based upon how my in-class lessons go. The constant notifications of every revision I make is confusing for my students. I’m also trying to gamify my curriculum. Currently I’m adding Easter eggs in various places in my content, which are meant to be hidden items, and I don’t want the students getting a notification of those additions.

David Honda

Math Teacher

Marshall Middle School<>

OOh very interesting use cases. I have had the same thoughts in regards to changing content (as far as actual content is concerned), though I do think changes in due dates are good to have communicated as it helps to manage expectations.

The one I hadn't heard of before is creating easter eggs. That is rather interesting, and I could see as very valid for wanting to have a 'publish without notify' flag.

The only other thing I could suggest while revising content is to unpublish, make all your revisions and republish the item. That would allow you to make numerous revisions and only have the one republish notification go out for the item.

[Edit: *** As  @James  pointed out, I stand corrected, this out of the box suggestion only works if you haven't graded something yet***] Having said that, thinking outside the box, I can make one other suggestion. Disclaimer: 'Here be dragons'. There are most certainly pros and cons with this one, and I think in many circumstances it would not suit, but, it came to my mind so will throw it out there. You could tell your students your course has a 'maintenance window' for a short period each week. You could unpublish the course, make all your changes, and republish the course. That would stop any notifications going out for the content changes, however would mean the student's wouldn't see the course on their dashboard for the period you are maintaining it. As I said, a plethora of issues doing this, but if you have very specific circumstances and your institution supports this, then it is another available option. I would ensure you communicate this extremely well and make sure institution support is there, because it will be confusing for student's if they log in at a time you are doing maintenance on it, and their subject simply isn't there (like they have been unenrolled).

Community Champion

The biggest issue with your dragons is that you can not unpublish a course once it contains a graded submission. 

OOOOh, that I didn't know! Well, that solves that then Smiley Sad somehow something I haven't run into before.

Community Champion

We've all been there. I don't even pretend to know everything and it's fun to learn new things. It's the things I once knew (and sometimes even wrote lengthy posts explaining what was going on) but are no longer true after Canvas changed something that give me trouble.

Yep, so very true! I have to say, being in the community a lot more is also really helping to remove me from the isolation of the IT administrator mindset. Things like this let me see how things are used by academics and users (which is a big win).

Community Champion

 @dhonda ,

Perhaps the constant stream of notifications can be spun in a positive way? Since the students get so many notifications, they become less likely to check them out, which means that they may not notice the Easter eggs.