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rake_9
Community Champion

Expectations for Sent Message in Conversations

I looked through the Community for this information, but am not finding anything.  It may be that I just don't know the words to search for.

I have an instructor who is using Inbox to communicate with her students. She does not believe the messages are actually being sent. She also does not feel like she can reply to a Conversation notification from her regular email (Outlook web-client) and have the message actually get back to the student.

It does appear true that outbound messages are not showing up consistently in the Sent area.


The person is a very hesitant, unconfident computer user, so it is hard to know over the phone what she is actually doing. We had an ally sit down with her, but that did not reveal anything unusual.

Initially, we had to help her set her notifications to receive Conversations started by her. We also helped add her alternate email address to her profile. She now feels like she is sometimes getting the copy of the Conversations she started, but sometimes not.


I am trying to sort out whether she is correct and there is a problem with her account, or if her expectations are off-base.  

Questions:

She has 3 courses, each with around 200 students. She is (I believe) using the option to send individual messages.  How much time might be expected to pass before the outbound messages show up in the Sent area in Inbox?  This happens almost immediately when I send test messages, but none of my courses are that large.  I don't know if course size matters.

Is there some other reason her messages would not be sent?  Some known trick or quirk that I'm not yet aware of?  She almost always includes an attachment; I gather those cannot be included in replies, but I had not thought that was a problem with messages initiated in Canvas.  (Yes, I know, she should just be referring her students to a file in the course, but... One step at a time.)

I saw a feature request or something that indicated that when a someone replies to a conversation, the message moves from the Sent area.  Where does the sent message go?  Does it get linked with the repy in the Inbox area?  Presumably, if 1 student out of 200 replies, only the 1 message moves out of Sent?


Related question:

Both this user and another person have reported issues not being able to reply consistently to Canvas notifications from their email client.  

Other than not having the sending email in one's profile or including an attachment, are there things that prevent people from being able to reply from their regular email?  

Both of the cases in my queue right now have an email alias in effect (for example, they have their official university email address but can also receive email at an older departmental address; the older address is mapped to the official address).  Both addresses are in the user's Canvas profile.

4 Replies
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @rake_9 

"I saw a feature request or something that indicated that when a someone replies to a conversation, the message moves from the Sent area.  Where does the sent message go?  Does it get linked with the repy in the Inbox area?  Presumably, if 1 student out of 200 replies, only the 1 message moves out of Sent?"

As you have described this, I have never seen a sent message fail to show when the Sent filter is applied, except the reply messages you noted. Those replies, stay with the original sender's "Conversation", and that is why the Inbox is called "Conversations". Lets say student A sent the teacher a message, teacher's reply will stay with the student's conversation. Repeat this back-and-forth a dozen times, and when you open that student's original message you will find the entire conversation in date order - very handy feature actually.

Is there some other reason her messages would not be sent?  Some known trick or quirk that I'm not yet aware of?  She almost always includes an attachment; I gather those cannot be included in replies, but I had not thought that was a problem with messages initiated in Canvas. 

I am unsure what you mean by "sent" in this scenario. If you are talking about the Notification send, those sometimes get blocked by our  schools email server as Spam, and if let through often end up in the user's spam folder. If you mean "sent", as in sent by the Inbox to another user's Inbox in Canvas, I have only seen those fail a couple scattered time over 4+ years, and typically suspect user error - I am hoping I have not miss-served my faculty:-)

She also does not feel like she can reply to a Conversation notification from her regular email (Outlook web-client) and have the message actually get back to the student.

Well............................. she can, and I think both you and I know this, but it can be challenging when people are not particularly technologically savvy.

I think the true job here is to actually ween her from her Inbox dependence - maybe an intervention is in order; only sort-of kidding.   The problem with email, and we all know this, is that folks can and do get selective about what they open and read. Many of our faculty openly brag that they never open emails from eLearning; but then, then are also the first to ask why we didn't tell them something. Students are no different, and especially so when they suspect that opening that email might mean more work, and not opening it might also provide for a handy excuse - "I didn't know! Why didn't you tell me." The Inbox really should be used very seldom, and then used primarily for private conversations with individual students.

An intervention is certainly needed, but how to crouch this intervention in a manner that engages the faculty member (without insult) is the challenge. I always propose these in terms of improving student success, and typically work up a little workshop available to all faculty, but simultaneously conspire with a Dean or Department Chair to "encourage" the needy faculty member to attend. We are a small school, so this isn't as hard as it might be at a very large school. I would suggest something along the lines of, "Making the Most of Canvas Communication Tools to Engage Learners!" Then include the often overlooked tip that all content included in a Canvas classroom is communication. I mean - Attachments, please! Why not assure that the attachments are available to all students, including those who don't use the Inbox, by including it in the course content.

I don't know how much help I've been, but if you need more don't hesitate to ask.

JKLM

rake_9
Community Champion

Thanks Kelley.  We are in the last stages of our transition to Canvas, so we have a lot of faculty education (formal and informal) going on that includes a combination of how to move into the new system and how to use an LMS effectively.  Meanwhile, we - as a support staff - are also still learning the quirk of this new system.

After 10+ years of having an LMS available, we still have a sizable minority of instructors who see it merely as a place to stash files and launch emails to their students.  (Faculty who never read their own email but optimistically persist in believing that students will read theirs has been one of the aggravating themes of this year!!)

We did go through a couple of weeks in January when we had a lot more questions and problem reports about Conversation than we had in the previous semester and pilot.  Many of the questions were from people who had been using Canvas successfully before spring semester started, so it seems like it wasn't ALL new user issues...

 @rake_9 thanks for the response, and you made me laugh:

(Faculty who never read their own email but optimistically persist in believing that students will read theirs has been one of the aggravating themes of this year!!)

 WORD!

We made our transition more than four years ago, and it was our third transition, so I can add that we tended to see our early adopters start to have issues after they became comfortable enough to get adventurous!

It is great that you lead the parade for faculty training in the LMS, because this makes it much easier to tailor workshops for your recognized needs. An uncomfortable trend I am noting in the Community, are schools that do not train - here's your classrooms, now go forth and be fruitful! The impact of that on faculty engagement and adoption, and on student success is terrible to behold.

KLM

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi there,  @rake_9 ‌...

I wanted to check in with you because there hasn't been any new activity in this discussion topic since mid to late March.  It looks like you and  @kmeeusen ‌ have had a good conversation going on about your question.  Do you have any outstanding questions related to your initial question?  Or, is there a response above that could be marked as "Correct"?  If that is the case, please go ahead and mark one of Kelley's response as such.  For now, because there hasn't been any new activity in this thread for well over a month, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional replies below.  I hope that's okay with you.  Looking forward to hearing from you, Valerie.