New Member

Can't uncheck send individual emails in messages

When an instructor sends an email to a large class, they get individual emails in sent box. There is a control to not send individual emails, but it is greyed out for big courses.

In one of our courses (900 students), every time an email is sent to class instructor get 900 emails in the sent box. Since sent box has no threading or search capabilities, other recently sent emails are buried miles down in sent box. There is no practical way for instructors to revisit a sent email when it is buried so far down.

Am I missing something? Have other people figured out a work around?

Thanks jim

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello sibley...

I do not think you are missing anything.  I found the following Guide here in the Community that confirms what you have observed: How do I send a message to all course users in Conversations as an instructor?  Please look through the information provided in the blue box at the top of that Guide.

Also, this is a bit unrelated, but I wanted to address the terminology "email" that you've referenced.  Canvas does not have e-mail.  Canvas has "messaging" (which can also be called "Conversations") which is found in the "Inbox" of Canvas.  You and your students can send messages to each other (as long as you're in the same course), but you cannot send messages to people who are not in your course (such as friends, family, etc. that are not taking classes at your school).  Further, you and your students can choose how you want to be notified about certain things in Canvas (such as when you receive new messages) and the frequency of those messages.  For example, one person may want to receive all notifications via text message, but another person may prefer to receive a copy of a message via his/her school e-mail account.  So, the mass messages you are sending out to your students via the Canvas Inbox may not all be going to student e-mail accounts.  Those are individual preferences set up by each user.  I'll provide you with some Guides that help explain this:

How do I add contact methods to receive Canvas notifications as a student? 

How do I add an additional email address as a contact method in Canvas as a student? 

How do I add a text (SMS) contact method in Canvas as a student? 

How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as a student? 

How do I add contact methods to receive Canvas notifications as an instructor? 

How do I add an additional email address as a contact method in Canvas as an instructor? 

How do I add a text (SMS) contact method in Canvas as an instructor? 

Hope this helps, Jim.

New Member

Thanks for this....

it really says faculty in large courses should expect to suffer....I just get a little irritated that it is Instructure choice and not the faculty members choice if individual messages are sent

faculty should be empowered to make this decision!!

0 Kudos

Hi Jim,

I suspect the reasoning is that unless the "Individual messages" option is checked, each message in the Inbox in Canvas really is a 'Conversation" (like an email listserv) , with everyone in the class involved.   So, without "individual messages", every reply from each of those 900 students goes out to all of the other 899, with the potential to expand geometrically from there.

There's also the possibility that a student may think that they are replying directly to the instructor, instead of replying to the whole class, which could result in them sharing private information with a lot of people.

For communications which are supposed to be one-way, it's probably better for the instructor to use announcements in the course, which students are also notified of via email by default, the same way they are about things in their Canvas inbox.


Community Contributor


Your frustration is understandable. Managing very large courses seems to unearth extra surprises. 

If you know this already, please bear with me:  

Announcements are a good solution--provided that the course intro includes instructions to students to set their notifications to forward announcements to their email of choice. (A default, but students can turn it off on their end.) its all about front loading and preparing the instructions for the course in advance, so the students know how to set-up and what their responsibility is in reading announcements. 

Some instructors aren't aware that 1.) announcements remain in the course in the announcement tab, 2.) can be set by the instructor to appear/preview on the homepage to be un-missable, through course settings, 3.) also auto-send as an email to all enrolled students' emails' on record--found in their user "Account" settings in the left side global menu. 

Alternatively, you may elect to send yourself an email copy of all your own messages (in these account settings on the left global menu. That way you can check your preferred email and skip the Canvas inbox of 900 sent emails. The inbox is great for keeping FERPA compliant date/time stamped records of student interactions.  It clearly falls short on volume courses, but I recommend archiving instead of deleting. Those rare circumstances when records are needed for a legal dispute make it worth keeping these. 

Community Champion

What is the goal, in being able to scroll down to a specific sent message? If you are looking for a message to a specific student, you can search for individuals to see what you've sent to them. If the student replies, the whole "thread" for that person moves to the inbox, which is probably the most convenient place for it to be when you've sent out a mass communication. 

Coach Emeritus


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.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.



Community Participant

We also have tutors of large courses that also face this issue. Is the rationalle for the 100 student limit written down anywhere online that we can take a look at? I'm guessing it is to avoid spam counter-measures. If this is the case, I wondered why the Inbox could not consolidate all the individually-sent messages as if it was sent out as one?

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