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bechaela
Surveyor

texting Canvas invites?

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Hi, I wondered if it's possible to send out invitations to learners to join Canvas via text?

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Hi  @bechaela .  I communicated with a few other coaches to get their insight as well.  The issue I saw was that I was not aware of a way to create a Canvas account without an email address.  When using the free version of Canvas, we have contacted students and asked them to create an account themselves if we didn't have the information needed, but signing up for an account requires an email address.  We have even given them a self-registration code for the course but when they attempt to enter the course for the first time they need to set up an account, again with an email address. In our paid account, IT generates accounts for the students but the email address is still necessary.  The other coaches I spoke to indicated they also thought an email address was needed to set up an account.

So, what you are trying to do with individuals who have never used Canvas and don't have an email address may be very difficult (or impossible).  If you have a cell number for the individual, you may be able to text them and ask them to set up an email account through any of the regular provides (Gmail, etc.) and use this to generate an account for the individual.

Your best option may be to contact Support directly (see How do I get help with Canvas as an instructor?) and speak with an agent about your situation.  A support agent may have an idea we have not considered or be able to give thoughts on advantages or disadvantages of any of the options out there based on your particular needs.

I wish I had a simple solution and could give you a step-by-step guide, but the "no email address" part is a challenge.

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ericwerth
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @bechaela and welcome to the Community!  Are you using a paid version of Canvas or Free For Teachers?  We are using both and how we get students into the class has been a bit different in both.  We might be able to give you some options depending on your version.

Generally Canvas is moving away from true text messaging (see SMS: A love / hate relationship) in favor of app notifications.

Thanks for the information!

Hi,

I am using a paid-for account. I'm looking for a way to get students who don't use email into the classroom. Thanks for your help! Is there a way to do this?

Thanks  @bechaela   I'll try to give some thoughts as it may still depend on where you are in terms of course enrollments now.  Generally for texting I would say no as texting is being phased out.  For a year or so now, we have been in a situation where anyone using Verizon couldn't set us SMS, my understanding from Support as this had to do with Verizon security processes in some way.  

If you are on a paid account, do students already have account set up through some type of student information system?  Also, if this is the case, are students enrolled in a classes automatically.  Provided the answer is yes, you normally don't run into a situation where an course "invite" has been sent and needs to be accepted by students.  So the issue isn't getting the course to appear in their Canvas dashboard or app, but getting them to go in and get going.  We sometimes will have situations where we add students manually to a non-teaching "course" and in these cases an invite is sent and needs to be accepted.  In these instances I can go into the Peoples tab and resend the invites to anyone who has not yet accepted.  Because our system is set up so that these types of notifications, as well as Inbox messages and Announcements immediately also notify students by email, the students will get a push notification of the message on their app (if set up and notifications aren't turned off) as well as an email.

We run into situations all the time where students are enrolled and not responsive to emails.  We have found that if there are a number of these students and the course is published, an Announcement sometimes will be helpful as a reminder to everyone to get going as it generates that app notification and most of our students use the app.  We have also found that if we go to the Inbox and message students directly there, they respond at a much higher rate than if we send the same message via an email.  So, not a text message but the app notification is very useful.  Provided that students are supposed to be turning in work, messaging through the grade book (see How do I send a message to students from the Gradebook?) has also been helpful in reaching particular groups of students as it generates that mobile device notification.

Apologize for the long response.  Does any of this help?  So perhaps, depending on your situation, true text messages "no" but mobile device notification through the app "yes"?

Let us know if this use useful or brings up more questions! 

bechaela
Surveyor

Thanks. We're not a college but offer unique courses in workplaces and the community. Students enrol for each course, although sometimes courses are repeated and so we already have students' details. We don't grade learners.

The main thing I need to know is a step-by-step guide how to:

 

Contact students on their mobiles to get them onto a new Canvas course where they have never done a Canvas course before and don't have email accounts.

I think in most cases we add learners to each new course after they've filled in an online enrolment form. That's easy, as we can text the a link to the form and they can fill it in on their phones. The next step is hard as many students don't use their email accounts even if they have them. We want them to be able to click on a link on their phones that have been texted to them.

How do we do this please? I really appreciate your help

Hi  @bechaela .  I communicated with a few other coaches to get their insight as well.  The issue I saw was that I was not aware of a way to create a Canvas account without an email address.  When using the free version of Canvas, we have contacted students and asked them to create an account themselves if we didn't have the information needed, but signing up for an account requires an email address.  We have even given them a self-registration code for the course but when they attempt to enter the course for the first time they need to set up an account, again with an email address. In our paid account, IT generates accounts for the students but the email address is still necessary.  The other coaches I spoke to indicated they also thought an email address was needed to set up an account.

So, what you are trying to do with individuals who have never used Canvas and don't have an email address may be very difficult (or impossible).  If you have a cell number for the individual, you may be able to text them and ask them to set up an email account through any of the regular provides (Gmail, etc.) and use this to generate an account for the individual.

Your best option may be to contact Support directly (see How do I get help with Canvas as an instructor?) and speak with an agent about your situation.  A support agent may have an idea we have not considered or be able to give thoughts on advantages or disadvantages of any of the options out there based on your particular needs.

I wish I had a simple solution and could give you a step-by-step guide, but the "no email address" part is a challenge.

View solution in original post

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