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Email (message) multiple classes at one time

Email (message) multiple classes at one time

(99)
Instructors often want, or are asked, to share news and information of importance to all our classes.  Currently, that means copying and pasting that information into anywhere from 2-5 different classes.  Given that there is a drop down box for choosing a class to message currently, adding the ability to select multiple classes seems like it would be an easy "fix".  Please add this capability ASAP.
147 Comments
principal
New Member

Before this new version of Conversations came out a couple of years ago, Conversations was convenient and easy to use, and one of the reasons we chose Canvas as our platform.  All of that drastically changed when the new Conversations came out and suddenly crippled our use of it.

Before the new Conversations, we could do the following:

1) Any student, teacher, or staff member could send a message to any other student, teacher or staff member in the school.  Other school LMS offerings we looked at only allowed students to message others students in their same course.  The fact that Canvas allowed students to message anyone in the school was a major reason we chose Canvas to begin with.  Then they took it away.

2) Because anyone could send a message to anyone, teachers could freely send a message to whichever students they wanted, whichever combination of students, or all of their students.  Now teachers are forced to create multiple messages if students are in more than one course.  Some of our teachers have 10 or 15 courses, so this means a lot of duplicated effort just to communicate to all their students.  For example, to inform their students that they will be out of the office for a particular period of time requires sending a separate message to every one of their many courses.  With the new Conversations, they can't even send messages to other teachers or the administration! (without separate workarounds)

3) We like to send out congratulations messages to students when they have reached a milestone, such as completing a grade level.  This was easy to do with the old Conversations, and other teachers could chime in to offer congratulations and encouragement to the students.  This ability was destroyed with the new Conversations.

We have been forced to create workarounds since the new Conversations was created, but they have at best been workarounds to obstacles -- in other words, not convenient.  And some things we have not been able to work around.

For #1 above, we created a separate course called Homeroom, where we put all students and teachers.  With this method, now all students can message and chat with each other, and teachers can message any student, teacher, or administrator.  However, this requires maintaining another course, so it's less convenient.  Before, if someone was in Canvas, they could email someone else, and it didn't require additional maintenance of a course.

For #3 above, we now send out congratulations messages from Homeroom.  However, with the new 100-person limit for group messages, we've had to split those up so that a teacher doesn't have hundreds of sent messages in their box for each congratulations message.  This means that not everyone can see any responses to the congratulations message.  Before, everyone could see.  Now only the people in that <100 person group can see.

We haven't been able to find a practical workaround for #2 above -- teachers have no easy way of sending a message to all their students at once or their choice of combinations of students.  And judging by the number of votes on this thread, many others are frustrated by this limitation also.

The problems that have arisen since Canvas crippled Conversations come up in multiple threads, but since different people have different issues with the crippled Conversations, they don't always get the attention needed.  I have gathered a few examples here -- all of these examples are reflective of things that we used to be able to do in Conversations before the new version came out.

It seems sad that we have to go through feature requests and voting processes to get back functionality that we used to have.  And even with 383 votes, we still can't get back what we need.

jfalter
New Member

Our students have adapted very well to "living within Canvas".  The downside is that students now ignore their school email account.  The fact that the inbox is not intended to replace email does not change the fact that it has replaced email for a lot of communication.  When general information must be shared, we need the ability to send that information to multiple classes at once. 

I am encouraged that Canvas is working on this feature.  I hope it comes soon.

principal
New Member

We are a 100% online school -- everyone works out of their homes, so we don't have "school email accounts" for students.  Besides, one of the selling points of Canvas Conversations is that students can decide how to receive communications from teachers or administration, based on how they communicate -- they can work on messages within Canvas, or have them forwarded to their phones as text messages, or forwarded to email.  A lot of students don't use email much.  (Heck, most of my friends in their 20s & 30s don't use email for communication.  If I ask for an email address, they say, "I don't use email.") 
So I totally agree with your statement, Joan Falter: "The fact that [Instructure says] the inbox is not intended to replace email does not change the fact that it has replaced email for a lot of communication."

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
cullingford
New Member

I am astounded that we can't do this with cross listed courses.  Or can we?

Can we combined cross-listed courses into one?

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @cullingford 

Yes, that is correct - if you cross-list two courses into one, you can then send an inbox message to all students in that class.

crafte
Community Champion

Hi  @cullingford ​, before you decide to send a message to all students in your cross-listed course, you might want to take a look at this thread concerning FERPA and cross-listed courses: New FERPA requirements for cross-listed courses!

jpm46
New Member

If we do get this functionality, another add-on that would be nice for students would be to consolidate repeat e-mails. I have three classes with a lot of student overlap from one class to the next. If I am asked to forward some information on to my students or I need to reschedule office hours or something similar, I need to copy and paste three times. On the student end though, many of them are also getting the same message three times. A way to e-mail all my students in all classes so that I send one message and they get one message would be nice.

ronmarx
Community Contributor

Yes, although I'm voting this idea up, sometimes ideas like this generate a whole world of other issues. Multiple enrollments, such as the example you posed, can create a headache for students as well as teachers trying to avoid that headache! This student ID "funnel" feature could be a solution.

jeff_burt
New Member

I would really like this feature as well.  I wonder why it never went anywhere?

dillmanbiology
New Member

Blackboard uses "Quickly" which was one of the best things about blackbaord, maybe check to see if it will interface with Canvas? 

patriciaguillor
New Member

Is there a way that I can send course emails to all my courses at the same time? I would not want the students in one class to get the email addresses of the students in another class. Is this possible?  For example, a service project that all my students can participate in requires me to go into each course, upload the video and instructions each time.  This semester I am teaching 8 classes.  Wow!  I'm thinking email is email, but this must really be a tough one to complete.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hi patriciaguillory,

Are you teaching 8 sections of the same course this term or are they different subjects or levels that happen to use the same service project?  I'm asking because I'm curious as to whether you could have multiple sections in what could be one Canvas course or whether they need to stay separate.

10012475
New Member

This is very important. Canvas email is very clumsy. I submitted this idea before twice. It got a lot of votes and nothing happened. I imagine this time it will be the same. 

Very cumbersome to have to copy and paste emails for different courses. 

10012475
New Member

In my case, these are different classes, they need to be separate. This feature is very important.

10012475
New Member

I have submitted this request twice and got a lot of votes and nothing was done. I know it takes time to develop things but I submitted this several years ago. 

10012475
New Member

This existed in the previous Canvas, several years ago. It changed when the new system came in

principal
New Member

Cross-listing is for multiple sections of the same course, is it not?  Our teachers have 10 to 15 entirely different courses, so they have to make a lot of separate messages.

principal
New Member

For sure.  This is BY FAR the biggest complaint I get about Canvas from teachers at my school.  Almost two years ago, @Renee Carney said it was put on "Product Radar."  The product radar page says, "An idea may stay in Product Radar indefinitely."  How do we get it out of the dormant radar and back into focus that this is important to us??

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar‌ idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.