How do I use the Inbox as an observer?

The Inbox is split into two panels and displays messages chronologically. You can view and reply to conversations and sort them by course or inbox type. The Inbox itself does not have any file size limits; however, attachments added to a conversation are included in the sender's personal files.

Learn more about the Inbox.


  • Users display in the Inbox once they have an active enrollment in the course, and users cannot join a course unless it is published.
  • Once a course has concluded, you cannot message users in that course.

Open Inbox

Open Inbox

In Global Navigation, click the Inbox link.

If the Inbox link includes a numbered indicator, the indicator shows how many unread messages you have in your Inbox. Once you read the new messages, the indicator will disappear.

View Toolbar

The toolbar includes global message options. To load conversations, filter your messages by course or group [1] and type [2].

You can also search for conversations by user in the Search by user field [3].

Filtering by type lets you filter messages by Inbox, Unread, Starred, Sent, Archived, and Submission Comments. You can compose a message at any time using the Compose button [4].

Once you have selected a conversation, you can use the other options in the toolbar to:

  1. Reply to a conversation
  2. Reply-all to a conversation
  3. Archive a conversation
  4. Delete a conversation
  5. You can also use the More Options icon to forward, mark a conversation as read or unread, and star conversations.

View Inbox Panels

View Inbox Panels

Conversations for your selected course and Inbox filter appear in the left Inbox panel.

View Conversations

View Conversations

The Inbox is organized chronologically from newest to oldest with the newest conversations appearing on top [1] and the older conversations at the bottom.

You can manually mark a conversation as read or unread by hovering over the conversation and clicking the circle to the left of the conversation [2]. To star a conversation, hover over the conversation and click the star to the right of the conversation [3].  

View Conversation Thread

When you select a conversation [1], all messages in the conversations thread appear in the right Inbox panel [2].  

View Message Details

View Message Details

The conversation thread displays the title of the conversation [1].

Each message within a conversation displays the names of the message participants, with the name of the sender in bold [2].

You can view the course name, the author's personal pronouns (if enabled), and the date and time the message was sent [3].

You can also view the message content [4].

To de-select a conversation, click the Return icon [5].

Manage Conversation Thread

Within each conversation thread, you can reply, reply-all, forward, archive, star, or delete the entire conversation thread.

To reply to the latest message in a conversation, click the Reply icon [1].

To reply-all, forward, archive, star, or delete the entire conversation thread, click the More Options icon [2]. Then click one of the options [3].

Manage Individual Message

Manage Individual Message

You can manage an individual message within a conversation. To reply to a message within a conversation, click the Reply icon [1].

To reply-all, forward, or delete a message within a conversation thread, click the More Options icon [2]. Then click one of the options [3].

Select Multiple Conversations

To select multiple conversations to archive, delete, mark as read, mark as unread, or star, click the checkbox for each message [1]. Then click the Inbox toolbar More Options icon [2], and select an option.

Note: To select or deselect conversations, you can also press the command key (Mac) or the control key (Windows) while clicking each message you want to select or deselect.