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Community Champion

Inbox doesn't copy threads

I often send a lot of emails to students via the inbox.   Then they reply to me and it gets forwarded to my school email.   But when they reply I can't see my original email so it gets very confusing keeping track of threads.   Is there way to have Canvas always copy the previous email when hitting reply?   I think the students are replying inside Canvas. . .

6 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @don_bryn ‌...

In looking through my own Inbox for past conversations I've had, I saw a few that had multiple replies.  When I clicked on my own "Reply" button, I was able to see the previous parts of the conversation displayed at the bottom of the windows where you can start typing your new reply.  It allows me to scroll through the entire conversation so I can refer to it as needed.

Replying to a Message in the Inbox

If you aren't seeing the previous parts of your conversation, I would suggest that you reach out to the Canvas Help Desk staff (using the "Help" menu on the left side of your Canvas environment) to see if they can figure out why you're not able to see this information in your view.

Hope this helps, Don.

Community Champion

This is just a guess, but I think what  @don_bryn ‌ may mean is not the view in the Inbox itself, but what Canvas sends out via the email version of the conversation, since it is in fact possible to have a "conversation" via email without ever going to the actual Canvas website Inbox. Don, is that the case?  You are talking about replies-by-email rather than the conversation as shown in the actual Canvas Inbox like in Chris's screenshot?

I'm not sure, though, because I don't really use the Inbox much: if a student sends me a message via Canvas, I reply NOT to the Canvas message but to the student's email address which I have in my email address book.

That's because there is no automatic integration in our Canvas installation between people's email addresses and their email aliases. It's a real problem that we have not solved yet, so while it's fine with me if students send me Canvas messages, I don't use Canvas for back-and-forth email conversations. That problem with email aliases might be peculiar to our school; I'm not sure, but it's a serious problem which makes me cautious in doing back-and-forth conversations by email with students via the Canvas system.

Community Champion

I also have this issue. I have all of my inbox messages sent to my email since it has a more robust set of message management tools and it keeps all of my messages in one place. This is fine most of the time, but I'll have a conversation with a student where they'll reply to one of my messages and not give me much context ("ok, that'll probably work - think I 'll try the second one" or something), and the only way I've found to see my previous replies and get the needed context would be to either dig through my old sent email messages to see what I've said to them lately or go to the Inbox page in Canvas and find the whole conversation there.

I wish there was a setting for Canvas to send the whole thread as an email each time, with the most recent message at the top, like it displays within Canvas, but I haven't found one.

That's exactly it.   I don't use the Canvas inbox.   All email is forwarded to my college address.   I don't always have easy access to student's email addresses from there, so it's easy to hit reply and send the message back via Canvas.   But I can't see any previous part of the conversation so I'm often emailing some sort of clarification question before I can really answer the email. . .

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @don_bryn ,

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.



No, it's still a problem.