Account Settings and Notifications in Canvas

Leveraging Technology for Your Advantage: Account Settings and Notifications in Canvas

Offering guidance and assistance to all instructors using Canvas is among the services provided by the Online Learning Team, including for those who are teaching online, hybrid or face-to-face courses. In this and subsequent CTE newsletters this academic year, the Online Learning Team will provide a scenario and possible solution each month for a typical issue that instructors may encounter involving the use of technology.

Let’s take a look at an email requesting help with a typical challenge for instructors who use discussion forums in Canvas.

Dear Online Learning Team,
I would love your advice. I find navigating the discussion forums in Canvas to be time-consuming because I am grappling with identifying when and where students have posted responses that I need to address in the various classes I teach. Any insights or tools to enhance efficiency would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Professor Ed Useeker

Solution: Using Notification Settings in Canvas

In Canvas, there are a variety of notifications settings you can personalize so that you can be notified about what your students are doing or even what you need to do in Canvas. These include course activities, discussions, conversations, scheduling, groups and alerts. In response to Professor Ed Useeker’s question, let’s look at updating the notifications in the discussions section, as it can be time consuming to check each day to see if there is a student post that needs to be addressed. Plus, you do not want to miss a post created in a weekly general discussion forum if a student has a time sensitive question. By completing a few steps, you can ensure that you will receive notifications to your Alliant email address when students post to any discussion forum.

Subscribing to a Discussion Forum

1. Open each individual discussion forum and look for the Subscribe button located below the prompt. Click on it, and it will turn green. You are now subscribed to that forum.
2. If you subscribe to each discussion forum while creating your weekly announcement or reviewing the module for the following week, you will always be ready for those students who post as soon as the assignments are open.
3. You will only receive notifications for discussion forums you have subscribed to, so you will need to complete this task for each discussion forum for each course that you want to receive notifications about.

Canvas Account: Notifications

1. Click on Account and your profile picture in Canvas Global Navigation bar located on the left side of your computer screen.
2. From the popout menu, select Notifications.
3. In the area labeled Settings for choose to make changes to your account or a specific course. If you choose account, the settings you choose will apply to all courses that you are teaching.
4. Next, scroll through the list of items you can make changes to. These include: course activities, discussions, conversations, scheduling, groups, conferences and alerts.
5. For discussion forum notifications, choose New Reply in the Discussion section.
6. Hover over the icon to the right. Choose the icon that represents your choice; however, we would suggest that you select either Notify immediately or Daily summary.

By modifying your notification settings, you will receive email alerts whenever a student makes a post to a discussion board so that you know which discussion board needs your attention. On the days you do not receive a notification, you do not need to review the discussion boards in those courses.

Additional Account Settings

While you are updating your Notifications, you should also review and update your Profile information and your Settings. You will notice a new feature located in Settings – pronouns. Now, you may add your preferred pronoun to Canvas. Your pronouns will be display with your username in the following areas in Canvas:

  • Act as User Page
  • Assignment Creation Menu
  • Assignment Peer Review Page
  • Comment Fields
  • Course Sections List
  • Discussions
  • Inbox
  • People Pages (Account, Course, and Group)
  • Student Context Card
  • User Navigation Menu
  • User Profile
  • User Settings

To review and update your Profile and Settings information, you will need to:

  • Profile: Click on the kebab menu – also known as the three-dot menu – located on the top right side of the screen. Then, click on Edit Profile. Review information and update according to your preferences. Once you have made all updates, click Save Profile.
  • Settings – click on Edit Settings on the right side of the screen. Once you have made all updates, click Update Settings to save your choices.

If you need additional assistance when updating your Account Settings, we would be happy to help; contact us at Online Learning Team –  Also, if you have inquiries regarding specific features in Canvas, feel free to email those, too. You never know, we may use your question in a future CTE newsletter column, using a pseudonym, of course.