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SMS Notifications for Announcements and Grading: End of Life July 31, 2021

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tl;dr We will be discontinuing the SMS notifications service for Announcements and Grading on July 31, 2021. 

In an effort to further streamline our notification channels, we will discontinue the SMS notifications service for Announcements and Grading. We will continue to support SMS notifications for Multi-factor Authentication.

Before making this decision we checked in with a few institutions who signaled that due to pandemic teachers and students are already using products like FB Groups and WhatsApp to communicate important course announcements. 

So, what’s next? We are exploring if notification integrations to these products into Canvas would be beneficial as we end SMS notifications, or if adding integrations would create more noise. Please provide any feedback so we can best support your needs! 

Tags (2)
Community Champion

I think notification integrations would be a great addition. For my K12 district, applications such as Remind, Seesaw, and ClassDojo are the most popular communication apps.

Community Champion

Just to confirm, this is only removing the SMS notification, right? Push notifications from the App would still be available for these types of items.

Community Participant

This is a real kick in the teeth for us K12 districts that are trying to help our families stay connected by unifying our communication channels through Canvas instead of making them check other places, like Dojo, Seesaw, Bloomz, Remind, etc. The Canvas Parent App is not set up well for the type of interactions those other tools provide. But we at least had SMS to leverage as we tried to steer teachers into using Canvas across the board. "Checked with a few institutions?" I'd love to know how many of them were K12 institutions that use Canvas as their communication hub. What a setback this is for us.

Community Champion

We have definitely not adopted another platform for communication.  How annoying would it be to have to go elsewhere for announcements!  The whole point of an LMS is to have all the course content and communications in one place. 

With that said, as long as the announcements that I post are available to students in the place they check the most (generally their phone) the requirement is met.  If canvas wants to let students choose between SMS or some integration to facebook and/or whatsapp, that's great for the students.  If canvas starts saying that the only way to get a forwarded message is through one of those other apps, that will harm our older old-fashioned students.

This should be a simple option for where to receive notifications of announcements and posted grades.  The existing options of email and SMS messages to phones work great, and they are not at all outdated.  Requiring an app to get those notifications delivered is just another unnecessary hurdle for schools that have not adopted such an app for use in all of their classrooms.  Any integration should be an option, not a replacement.

Community Team
Community Team

@vanzandt yes, just SMS. We are keeping (and encouraging) push notifications.

@MattHanes @Steven_S @bogardde Thanks for your feedback. The majority of our SMS usage came from international institutions. Overall, SMS usage is extremely low compared to other communication methods (single digit percentage). 

Regarding mobile, since we are encouraging more app use, our mobile team is aware of this change with the SMS deprecation and is also working to improve the app experience with announcements.


Community Champion

@erinhmcmillan  using the canvas app that we already encourage students to use (if they insist on using a phone 😉 ) to have a way to get those announcements delivered will work much better for us than trying to convince them to use facebook or whatsapp for school communications.

Community Member

Our students in higher ed use WhatsAPP -- so integration with that would be great for us.

Community Member

You need to add something. Students do not read email. We cannot make them read email. You are eliminating the ONE communication channel we had a chance they would pay attention to. Yes, they use What'sAp, but to communicate with each other, I would be an unwelcome voice there.  FB? Really? My students do not use FB. Now, I understand that if it is truly the least use communication option then it doesn't need to stay. But then we do need an "opt in" option that pings a cellphone.

Community Participant

I am "late to the party" but our students were using notifications for grades and announcements on their phones via Canvas. It was better than having a separate app to have to communicate with students. This was a critical element because they are on Canvas app already and receiving notifications there was a one stop shop. 

Community Member

I really disagree with this decision! We were heavily pitching this to our families over the summer to get away from schools using things like whats app and FB in a k12 environment. In addition those systems are not automated or customized with setting for each student in a family. I am not certain why this decision would have been made for all customers based on feedback from international post-secondary universities! We even disabled sms notifications in our SIS because of Canvas notifications. This is frustrating and not enough notice. Can this be reconsidered?


Hi everyone, these SMS notifications can be replaced by using push notifications within relevant canvas apps WITHOUT the need to go to third-party social media vendors if you wish.

A list of these push notifications can be found here:

Download the apps from your relevant store and have a go!