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Reply to text (SMS) message notifications for Conversations

Reply to text (SMS) message notifications for Conversations

I would like to be able to reply directly to text (SMS) message notifications for Conversations without having to go into the Canvas App. This would allow for easier back-and-forth communication.

The SMS app I use for Android gives the false impression that I am able to do so. That is, it allows me to click reply to a Canvas notification for a Conversation and send a response. But, of course, the other party never receives my response. 

17 Comments
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi eduplessis@santarosa.edu‌ -

Thanks for submitting an idea to Canvas Studio‌. Could you tell me more about your preference to receive SMS notifications rather than push notifications on your Android device? As an instructor, I use push notifications exclusively, and I have never subscribed to text messages as means to getting content/questions/etc in my courses. I personally like that the notifications bring me into the app and that the context of the inquiry or comment is readily available. Now with Canvas Teacher (available in the Google Play store!), I suspect that the experience for instructors will only improve from what it has been with the Canvas by Instructure app.

I am not a programmer, so I don't know the time that would be required to link SMS to Canvas Conversations Inbox. However, maybe another way to approach this Feature Idea would be to clarify the actions of "replying" to an SMS message for Android users.

For now, this idea will be marked as "moderating" so The Canvas Community can better understand the need for the idea. Perhaps there are some https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/cmug?sr=search&searchId=9236a4a5-0508-4514-a665-03a5bee16302&...‌ that could chime in too. Smiley Happy

Community Member

Hi kristin.lundstrum@delasalle.com‌ -

Thanks for your thoughts! In short, I'd like fewer taps to get to the full conversation message. It takes 4 taps:

  1. tap on the push notification to see the full SMS content
  2. tap on a link within the SMS content, which takes me to the Canvas App dashboard
  3. tap on the Inbox 
  4. tap on the individual conversation to open/read/reply

Screenshots of the 4 taps:

Notification screenshots

Community Coach
Community Coach

Interesting point. I think realistically, this could be cut down by 1 step, which is removing 3, and possibly removing step 4, being replaced with opening the message directly. 

I agree with kristin.lundstrum@delasalle.comas it would be better for everyone if SMS and email notifications opened in the app and not the mobile web. 

Community Member

I might add that some of our instructors are using other apps to communicate with students, such as Remind.  If we look at Remind as a model, I wonder if the Canvas app itself could alert users of new Inbox conversations and provide a more direct way of replying (rather than using push notifications).

Community Member

Agreed. If my memory serves, when I first started using Canvas a couple of years ago, I thought the message opened directly as Ryan.Seilhamer@ucf.edu describes. Has something changed?

Community Coach
Community Coach

I'm not sure. Personally I don't use text message, so it's hard for me to recall if this has changed. 

Community Member

The key point to me is this one: "The SMS app I use for Android gives the false impression that I am able to do so. That is, it allows me to click reply to a Canvas notification for a Conversation and send a response. But, of course, the other party never receives my response." Things that SEEM to work are a particular pet peeve of mine. As an aside, it's not Android-specific, same thing happens in iOS.

It may be easier to start a feature request for "text notifications should include a DO NOT REPLY statement" (if someone hasn't already created one).

Community Coach
Community Coach

Interesting point on the DO NOT REPLY statement. That at least seems like a short term fix. 

Community Member

This alternate method of communicating appears to be poorly planned. If you receive a text message, the natural tendancy is to reply by text within the texting app. More and more students are moving away from email and using text. I am torn between a complete (two-way) communication process and a notification only process as long as the "DO NOT REPLY" element (previously mentioned) is included. This is because I am not familiar with the security of texting in toda's society. Convenience must always submit to security.

Explorer III

I'm interested in hearing if any students want this. Has anyone heard from students?