The Announcement feature in Canvas is an essential tool for instructors, and they are one of the most valued tools by students, according to OFA surveys of student preferences. Announcements are directly sent to students’ email addresses and are saved in the Announcement section on Canvas for easy viewing if a student missed the email or even deleted the message.
Announcements can also be scheduled, so instructors can write weekly announcements at their convenience then choose the Delay Posting feature to send them when is most beneficial. See IT’s how-to guide on using Announcements.
There are different ways to effectively use the Announcement feature. The first and most widely used is to send brief, weekly announcements with course reminders and due dates. Another is to send an announcement before the start of the semester to welcome students and ease anxieties by introducing yourself and what they need to know before the start of term (such as course location, books to buy, etc.). This page will give tips and examples of both.
- Timing: Send out a letter a week before class starts–even if your Canvas course isn’t fully developed.
- Introductions: Briefly introduce yourself to students. You can do so in a casual, personal way, and/or you can just give basics regarding name, pronoun, time teaching/relevant work experience, email address, office location, student hours, etc.
- Format: Students do not always choose or even understand what mode or format the course is in. Whether it’s online, hybrid, or traditional, be sure to let them know the format and what it means for your course.
- Books & Materials: Let students know ahead of time what books are required and where they can find them (clarify too if you will allow digital versions of the book).
- First Week: You can also include information about what students should expect in the first week of class–especially if there is an assignment due or a diagnostic test or essay.
Resources: You can even include helpful links and resources for students whether that’s CAST services, Disability Resource Center, CAPS, or any other campus resource that would benefit your students to be aware of at the start of term. Review the Montclair Syllabus, located right in your course, to see what resources you might want to highlight.
- Quantity: Send weekly announcements but limit the amount to once or twice a week; we all know that too many emails in our inbox often go unread. As a result, sending just the essentials is key; any additional announcements should only be sent in emergencies (such as schedule changes due to illness or weather).
- Consistency: Send weekly announcements at the same time each week; use the “Delay Posting” feature to set up your announcements in advance.
- Information: Limit the amount of information in each announcement; stick to quick reminders of assignment due dates.
- Most instructors use weekly announcements to remind students of reading and assignments due dates, often providing links to these assignments right in the announcement, as explained here.
- Subject Line: Be sure to create brief, clear Topic Titles for each announcement so students are more likely to read it as an email, or so they can more easily search for them on Canvas.
- Format: Use bulleted lists for easy reading along with links to any resources or assignments when possible. For more on how to set up links, go here.