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Communicate with Your Students

Do not make your students wait in uncertainty longer than needed. Once you've made your plan, communicate expectations for your course to students before the semester starts. You cannot use Canvas announcements to communicate with your students before the semester starts, so you will need to email your students outside of Canvas.

CIDI has provided a tool to help you email your students at their preferred email addresses from your own email client.

  1. In your Canvas course, click on People.
  2. At the top of the page, click the Email All Students button.
    Buttons at the top of a Canvas course People page including Student Cards, email all students, and download class roster.
  3. Your email client will open with a new message and all of your students' email addresses will appear in the BCC field.
  4. Type your email and hit Send.

Alternatively, you can download your class roster and copy/paste email addresses into the BCC field of your email client. You can also use the downloaded list to email students individually using tools like Microsoft Word mail merge. 


If you want students to be able to see things in your course prior to the start of the semester:

  1. Click on Settings then un-check the option labeled Restrict students from viewing this course before start date. Then click on Update Course Details.
  2. Publish the course by going to the course Home page and clicking Publish.

With this done, students WILL be able to:

  • send and receive messages sent through the Inbox (Canvas mail)
  • view the course syllabus page
  • use the Student Sign-up tool to sign-up for social distancing groups
  • view published announcements
  • see published, available assignments
    (If you want some assignments to not be visible you can unpublish them, or add an availability date of a future date.)
  • view published pages, files, and modules

Until the first day of the semester, students WILL NOT be able to:

  • submit assignments
  • post to discussion boards
  • receive notifications of announcements
  • view unpublished content or content within unpublished modules