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e-mailing a former class

Can I e-mail a former class?

can I e-mail a class from a former semester?

9 Replies
Community Champion

Hi  @nsteinma ‌ - I assume you are referring to using Canvas messaging to communicate with a concluded course. That is not currently possible (see How do I send a message to all course users in Conversations as an instructor? for more details). It looks like it was brought up in the past as a feature request (" modifiedtitle="true" title="Message All Users Roles in C...), but it didn't get much support.

Actually, you CAN email a past class. I had to go to “more courses” and select a past course. Then I had to “re-publish” it. Then I could use the normal drop down option for emailing students.

-Nancy Steinmaus

 @nsteinma ‌, we have some questions about your ongoing workflow and its context, because the solution you provided may not be one that is universally available, and might prove problematic in practice. Does your school have a system for setting start and end dates for courses? At the end of a semester, do you typically "unpublish" your courses? I'm asking this because many schools will turn off the publish capability, and many other settings, a specified period of time after the end of the semester, whereupon the course goes into "read-only" mode for teachers (and often becomes invisible to students). We'd like to hear more.

Hi stefaniesanders

We don't unpublish our courses on conclusion, and there is no longer the ability to unpublish courses with graded student submissions.This is documented here: 

However, you can use the Inbox to send messages to students in past courses.  When I went to my Inbox, I selected "More Courses", found a course closed more than a year, and was able to send a message to all participants.  This means that yes, you can email students in past courses, if those courses are published and they all should be.

I hope this helps,


 @kmeeusen ‌, I think the answer to this is going to depend on how a school handles its concluded courses and enrollments. I just went back to a course I taught in Spring 2015, and that course is not one of the ones available to me in the All Courses dropdown in the Inbox. The course is published.

I'd be interested in hearing others' take on this.

I agree. I think this goes back to some lengthy Community conversations about soft concluded, hard concluded, concluded by date, and so on. Those subtle difference can affect the functionality.

Out of curiosity, I went to the Inbox as an instructor and chose a course from the Concluded Courses list. While I can, in fact, create a new message to that class, it only lists Teachers as possible recipients. So in our Canvas environment - where courses "conclude" because the course dates and terms dates have passed, and not because anyone pushes the Conclude this Course button - the guide's assertion that you can't message a concluded class is true.

Community Member

It might depend on how your school Canvas admins set it up, but here is what we use to extend the end date and allow users to message. 

Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @nsteinma ‌ ~ It's been a few weeks since you initially posted this question to the Canvas Community. How are things going? Were you able to send a message to students in your past course(s)? If you could, take a few minutes to update us. It would be great to hear from you! Smiley Happy

Hello there,  @nsteinma ...

Like  @KristinL , I am reaching out to you because we've not had much activity in this thread for almost four months.  We've not heard from you since August 22, 2017.  Have you had an opportunity to review the additional feedback that you've received since then?  Did any of those replies help to answer your question?  Do you have any outstanding questions as it relates to your initial question?  If you feel that one of the above replies from a Canvas Community member has helped to answer your question, please go ahead and mark it as "Correct".  However, if you're still looking for some help, please come back to this topic to post a reply below so that we might be able to help you.  I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" because there hasn't been any activity in this thread since October 18th, but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional questions and/or comments below that are related to this topic.  I hope that's alright with you, Nancy.  Looking forward to hearing back from you soon.