Canvas Tools Communication

Canvas Messages

Last updated on October 19, 2021

You will likely need to be in contact with your students throughout a course. To help facilitate this, Canvas has included a native messaging system that allows you to contact individuals or whole courses within Canvas. This messaging system functions much the same as your MSU Denver email.


Navigate Your Inbox

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas Account.
  4. Click Inbox.
  5. Click the Drop-Down Menu at the upper-left side of the page. This drop-down will initially display “all courses.”
  6. Click the Name of Any Course to filter messages and display only messages from students in that course.
  7. Click the Drop-Down Menu immediately to the right of the previous one. This drop-down will initially display “inbox.”
  8. Click any of the Options to sort by read status, archived, sent, or comments on submissions.
  9. Click the blank Input Box directly below the previous drop-down to filter by individual name.
  10. Type Name directly in the input box.
  11. Click the Search for Recipients Icon immediately to the right of the input box and search by course or section.

Note: Students have the option to turn off email notifications for the canvas messaging system. If you plan on communicating with your students through the canvas messaging system, please ensure that they have this feature turned ON.

Send Messages

  1. Click the Compose New Message Icon (resembles a pencil on top of a square).
  2. Click the drop-down menu labeled Course.
  3. Select the Course you would like to contact or the course containing the individual you would like to contact.
  4. Add Recipients using one of the following methods:
    • Type a Name directly in the input box.
    • Click the Search for Recipients Icon immediately to the right to sort by teachers, students, sections, or select an entire course.
  5. Type a Subject in the subject input box.
  6. Type the Body of the Message in the large blank input box.
  7. Attach Files using the attachment icon (resembles a paperclip) in the lower-left corner.
  8. Attach Video or Audio Comments by clicking the media icon (resembles a play button) in the lower-left corner.
  9. Click Send.

Receive, Reply, and Forward Messages

  1. Click a Message on the left-hand side to access it. This will open up messaging options.
    • Note: messages will automatically appear here when received and sent.
  2. Choose a Messaging Option.
    • Click the Reply Icon (a single arrow pointing left) to reply to ONLY the sender. Follow the “sending a message” directions from here.
    • Click Reply All Icon (a double arrow pointing left) to reply to ALL recipients of the message.
    • Click the Archive Icon (an arrow pointing down) to save an email thread for future reference.
    • Click the Delete Icon (a trash can) to delete a message. This action cannot be undone, and deleted messages will not be stored.
    • Click the More Options Icon (a gear). From here three more options appear:
      • Click Mark as Unread to mark a message as unopened.
      • Click Forward to send the contents of a message to another party.
      • Click Star to highlight a message for future viewing.