On July 31, 2021, Canvas SMS notifications for Announcements and Grading reached their end of life. Students used to be able to get a text message to their mobile phone when an announcement or grade was posted. Some instructors encourage students to turn these notifications on as a way to help them keep up with course happenings and check for grading feedback. But SMS notifications no longer work.
So now what? Students still need reminders!
Email or push notifications via app
Canvas still sends notifications for Announcements, Grades, and many other events. Users have the choice of getting email notifications or push notifications to a mobile device via the Canvas Teacher or Canvas Student apps. Users can also override account notification preferences by customizing notifications for a specific course. Faculty can encourage students who own a smartphone or tablet to install the Canvas Student app and enable the appropriate push notifications.
Here are some helpful links for you and your students:
- For Android users: Canvas Student app for Android and How do I set Notification Preferences in the Student app on my Android device?
- For iOS users: Canvas Student app for iOS and How do I set Notification Preferences in the Student app on my iOS device?
- For instructors: How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as an instructor? and How do I manage notifications for a single course as an instructor?
- For students: How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as a student? and How do I manage notifications for a single course as a student?
What about students who don’t have a smartphone or tablet and still want to get reminders via SMS text message? Consider setting up a free account with Remind.com. You can create up to 10 classes on a free account – enough for any semester. Remind lets you invite students into a text group that keeps all of the phone numbers anonymous. When students opt to join (either on their own or you enter their phone numbers) you can message them individually or as a group. You can also schedule when the texts go out. There is a free mobile app (not required, but handy if you want to communicate while away from your computer). You can sign in with Google so you don’t need to create yet another username and password.
Once you create a Remind account, here is the basic process to set up Remind for one of your classes:
- Create a class (a text group for one of your courses) – our institution does not have a Remind plan, so keep your class “Not affiliated with a school” when asked
- Add people to your class (we encourage sharing the instructions for joining your class so that students are opting in to receive messages)
- Schedule messages and send individual, group, or class messages
- Explore other features in Remind’s Help Center
Use what works
We recommend surveying or checking in with your students about their communication needs and preferences at the start of the semester. Then use this information to support your students in the way that works best for you and for them.
For the curious, more information about this change:
- You can read Instructure’s announcement here: SMS Notifications for Announcements and Grading: End of Life July 31, 2021.
- You’ll find additional reasoning for the change and user statistics here: Streamlining Canvas Push Notifications.