I need to know how to view the messages that my students send back and forth to each other. I also need to know how to disable this feature if it is being abused.
As an Instructor there is no way to do this, this is something a Canvas Admin would have to do. If you're using Canvas through your school you'd want to contact the person in charge of Canvas there for help with this. If you are using the free for teachers account then you aren't going to be able to do this as far as I know.
You will not be able to see the messages that students send to each other through the Canvas Inbox. That is essentially a form of email client. And you cannot disable those messages either as it is a standard feature in Canvas.
If this is an issue then perhaps you could draft a ground rules and netiquette policy and post it in your class. The next step would be to create an ungraded quiz and have student commit to complying with your policy. You could even lock the modules until the quiz is passed (and the only way to pass the quiz is to answer "yes" to complying with the policy).
You actually can prevent students from messaging each other in the Inbox - it's controlled on the admin side of Canvas - and you can also completely turn off conversations in Canvas for everyone, but that's an admin talking to their CSM type of question.
Thanks to all of you. I have referred this to the help desk at RCU. I'm assuming they serve as my admin as they made my class shell ect. I have set all of the students to "silent" and have taken the "chat" option out. I teach 8th graders and they don't need to have the ability to communicate with each other if I am unable to monitor it. I don't want this to come to a point where my school administrator tell us to stop using canvas all together because of this. I'm hoping this will be something they will be able to take care of.
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