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Formatting of Announcement Notifications

Formatting of Announcement Notifications

(15)
It would be great to see more information in the announcement email notifications. At the moment, the formatting and images are all stripped from the notifications. The email notification also does not include information on who posted the announcement- it would be great if they included the poster and even the profile pic by default.

 

Could we please maintain formatting and images in email announcement notification?

61 Comments
c_murphy
Community Participant

Yes yes yes, PLEASE fix this. Now more than ever we rely on communicating with our students via Canvas, and announcements need images (and videos ideally!)

C

TabithaCI
Community Member

I also need images in my announcement emails.  The email should look like the announcement does in Canvas, this is a basic need for a robust fully fleshed out LMS.

canvashelp8
Community Member

+1 for this feature request. Why bother allowing HTML / images in announcements in the first place just to strip everything out? We are desperately trying to avoid using email marketing tools to accomplish something Canvas should be more than capable of handling! Having to load participant email addresses into such 3rd party software is a privacy nightmare. Thanks for making this happen!

omarkutty
Community Member

Great idea - please do it!

bdlucas
Community Member

Quite surprising that this seemingly simple request has not been addressed.

SamuelRickless
Community Member

I composed a jokey Announcement on Canvas using the strikethrough function. Canvas delivered the message automatically to all the students in the course, without the strikethrough function. In case it hasn't occurred to anyone, the point of strikethrough is to intentionally signal the cancellation or removal of content.  Without the strikethrough, the content remains as if it were asserted without no cancellation. By specifically permitting strikethrough on the Canvas platform in the knowledge that strikethrough will be stripped from automated Announcements, you have created an untenable situation. If there is no technical fix for the removal of strikethrough when messages are sent via email or SMS, then you should either warn users at the point of use (e.g., in or near the window in which Announcements are composed) about the fact that strikethrough (and other non-text content) will not survive in automated messages), or you should simply remove the strikethrough functionality from Canvas. Because strikethrough can be an important communication device, I vote for the former over the latter alternative.  Thanks.

NiallMarsay
Community Member

please please please can you get this update to happen my uni only lets the Students union communicate through canvass announcements and its making our comms look imbarasing. 

jrh175
Community Member

Why have we waited four years for this fix? Either remove all formatting option in Announcements so the creator knows exactly what will be emailed to the users, or allow the formatting to be preserved when the Announcement automatically emails students.

As others have pointed out, this can create problems with providing information to students - they either don't get the full information or the information is changed when the formatting is removed.

jbm
Community Member

When I send an announcement with image instructions the Canvas interface gives the false impression that students receive the image. They do not.  Apparently this seems to have been a problem for users for 5 years and Canvas has done nothing about it. Strange. We should at least be warned that students are not getting our messages. The student preview gives all indication that they receive the full message.

The other problem is that students don't even get a link to the image, or link back to the announcement that contains the image. Okay, a Canvas rep did point out to me that there is a tiny 7pt link at the bottom, underneath the canvas logo, but nobody is going to see that.  

My workaround now is: "this announcement contains an image, but Canvas strips images from the email notifications so please go to the very bottom of this email and click on the tiny 'view announcement' link underneath the Canvas logo"

milesl
Community Contributor

Currently, when a user inserts a math equation into an announcement/discussion post/message, and an email notification is generated, the email removes all trace of the equation.

See this image of a discussion post containing multiple math equations:

discussion post.png

And see the corresponding email notification, which has stripped all equations without any indication anything has been removed:

bmail.png

 

 

I realize this request is closely related to this separate discussion, but I'd prefer to keep it separate in hopes that it can be addressed:

Formatting of Announcement Notifications - Canvas Community (canvaslms.com)

milesl
Community Contributor

@Stefanie Given the age of this feature request, and that instructure devs haven't weighed in in several years, I'm worried that merging my request here isn't the best outcome.

I'd really like to see some improvements made in this area, and if instructure isn't interested in taking on the entire project of email formatting, perhaps there are small improvements that could be made, such as mathml support, or alt text.

The feature request @thompsli linked on the first page sounds promising, but I get an error when I follow the url (https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/10870-include-alt-text-for-images-in-emailed-announcement-noti...

Can you help me track that down so that I can escalate it to our CSM?

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

@milesl The feature request to which you linked did not receive robust support and so was moved to an old ideas archive over three years ago, which is why it is no longer visible. By all means, we hope you will contact your CSM to discuss how your requests for enhancements to email notification formatting might be incorporated into the roadmap.

jbm
Community Member

@Stefanie The key here is "without any indication anything has been removed."  It has been years that new users have had to experience the headache of miscommunication with their students and hours lost, all because Canvas can't provide a simple warning to users of email announcements that all formatting, math and images will be stripped.   This is basic lack of respect of the users. 

thompsli
Community Champion

@milesl : I also no longer have access to my old feature request since Canvas has chosen to ignore it and remove it from view entirely, but to my recollection is was to include the alt text for the removed image and some kind of notation to indicate that it was the alt text for the removed image, since inclusion of additional plaintext would presumably be fast to code compared switching to proper HTML emails. Best of luck in your pursuit of this issue.

milesl
Community Contributor

Currently, when a notification containing an image, equation, or other content generates an email, the email automatically strips everything except plain text. See this example of a message containing math equations:

Message when viewed in Canvas:

discussion post.png

Message when viewed in email:

bmail.png

 Note that everything other than plain text has been deleted, and there is no indication in the email notification that the message has been altered or is incomplete.

The same thing happens for images and other embedded content.

 

In order to address this, Canvas should automatically insert alt-text for anything that cannot be properly rendered in email.

All math equations automatically include alt text. Images use their filename as the default alt text, and custom alt text can be entered via the UI.

If an email notification contains alt text, the link to view the announcement/message in canvas should be modified to communicate that the link will render missing content.

 

Using alt-text as a placeholder for content not rendered in email will minimize confusion when recipients miss content that they do not know is embedded.

milesl
Community Contributor

@Naomi @Stefanie 

Can you please unmerge my comment and restore it as a separate feature request?

Instructure has stated that they do not intend to solve this broader issue, so I purposefully created a separate, smaller feature request in hopes that it has some chance of being considered.

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

@milesl  We appreciate your wish to have your idea that proposes a different solution considered separately, yet your idea is part of the same problem statement as the one that is intrinsic to this long-standing idea. When our product team works on announcements and inbox notifications generally, they—and our members—will be better served by having the threads unified.

jbm
Community Member

@Stefanie  It does not appear that you are appreciating what @milesl is communicating.

 

@milesl is not proposing a fix to the problem of the stripping content, he is proposing a fix in how Canvas communicates the existence of this problem to its users.

 

By not notifying teachers and their students that they are stripping content from their messaging, Canvas is needlessly creating headaches and hours lost to end users from miscommunications. I myself lost many hours fixing a problem.  Now multiply that by your user base. It would take less than 30 minutes for developers to implement what  @milesl suggests.

 

tvannorman
Community Participant

One of the responses from Canvas above was a recommendation to contact our CSM.  I had contacted my CSM earlier today and the recommendation was to upvote this item.  Unfortunately it does not appear to allow upvoting.

This is important.  Faculty using Canvas need to know that their material is going through when they contact students.  A key component of this is using Email.

Please format and include any images/embeds/etc. that are included in the Announcement, in the email that is sent to the students.

SamanthaEastman
Community Member

This is a persistent problem and it needs to be addressed.