I am looking for a private instant messenger that I can use within Canvas. Currently I ask my students to message me via Skype, but very few students actually add me there, it would be great if we could instant message from within Canvas so they wouldn't need to download and use anything extra. I am looking for something that offers private messaging so that my students can ask questions about answers on assignments/quizzes/exams and their grades. I was at Canvas Day at Penn State last week and it was mentioned that there was a presentation at InstructureCon about an embeddable instant messenger, but I haven't been able to find any additional information about it. Does anyone have any suggestions?
My recommendation would be to use the Canvas messaging system (What is Conversations? ). The main reason I would recommend this is adoption. There isn't a single another service that can guarantee you 100% adoption rate by your students other than maybe SMS. Beyond knowing all of your students are already using it, there are various other advantages such as (in no particular order) keeping personal/work/education contact information separate, keeping channels of communication within the same platform as the subject matter of the conversations, being able to rely on the same source of documentation and support for this messaging system as the rest of your course, the integration with the grade book (How do I send a message to my students from the Gradebook? ), etc.
I think for the most part you'll find the native messaging system will meet your needs, but you will want to encourage your students to configure their notification preferences and where possible, install the app for their phone.
@waz107 , I'm tempted to mark awilliams's reply with the "Correct Answer" designation, in light of his thoughtful analysis of the use case and its repercussions. However, it occurs to me that this might be a question that won't necessarily prompt a single answer that can be deemed uniquely "correct." There might be many ways to skin this particular cat. Would you like me to change this question to a discussion--or does Adam's response end your investigation into this?
I haven't started using Canvas in my courses yet, so I am currently just playing around in my sandbox. Is "Conversations" the Canvas email? Or is this a separate tool? And, will this allow me to see which of my students are currently logged into the course?
@waz107 , Conversations is the same as the Canvas Inbox and is similar to email, but isn't exactly email. Here are the guides for Conversations that should help you better understand how they function/work - Canvas Conversations Guides
As for showing you who is logged into the course, right now there is no way in Canvas to tell which students are currently active. Yet, there is a new feature idea for this that will open for voting on April 6th - . My recommendation is to comment on it now and then vote as soon as it opens!
Just to add to what Kona, Adam, and Stefanie have already posted here; the inbox is the most commonly used communication medium in Canvas. If you are looking for real time communication with your students you might also want to consider using conferences. For more info, please see What are Conferences for instructors?
Hi @randell_young ,
I had something similar in mind. I would like an instant message that pops up within Canvas where I can have real-time conversations with students. I use Canvas Conversations (i.e., Inbox) now, but it does feel more formal and slower than an instant messaging system.