I am going to be out of the office for several weeks and would like to set up an auto reply to students' messages indicating that I am out of the office. Is there a way to do that?
Anne, Canvas Conversations do not have an auto reply feature built in. However, you can easily set up an auto reply by setting your notifications preferences for messages to "Right Away" and having those notifications sent a third-party email application that accommodates "out of office" or "vacation" messages; students will receive the "out of office" reply to the notification. That process is also described in this archived feature idea: Allow automatic conversation replies
You'll find more about notification preferences here: How do I set my Canvas notification preferences? If you want to add an email address for notification purposes, you'll find instructions in How do I add an additional email address as a contact method in Canvas?
Most email providers only send the "out of office" message once to each sender rather than to every incoming message. (This is because when they didn't do that, back in the early days of the internet, you'd get a particular kind of awful auto-reply spiral when people on vacation would get a message from a mailing list, send an auto-reply back to the list, and then have the auto-reply reply to their auto-reply, which would then need to be replied to...)
Since all notifications come from firstname.lastname@example.org (but with a unique "reply to" address for each message) I'm not sure if this actually works as intended with each student getting the message rather than the "lucky" first email from notifications@ getting the message and then none of the other ones being replied to since they're from the same email address.
Has anyone actually tested this, at least with common email providers (Outlook, Gmail, etc.), to see if this works as intended?
Thank you for bringing up this question! We have tested the auto-reply (out of office) function with Gmail and Outlook and both are not received by the Canvas server due to the email@example.com email adress. All email providers automatically pick this email adress, while a manual reply uses the correct email adress that is linked to the inbox message. Since this reply-to emailadress (when you send an email manual) is different evertime, this problem will be solved if Instructure removes the firstname.lastname@example.org email adress from these outgoing emails.
I have created two possible solutions for this problem, you can find my idea via the following link:
Out of office (auto-reply) for Canvas Inbox
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