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What is the Course Emailer?

The Course Emailer can be used to send email to an entire class or a class section using your default email client (like Outlook) instead of the built-in messaging system in Canvas. The Course Emailer also displays the individual email addresses of class members.

This tool may be a good option for teaching staff who are more comfortable communicating via email or who want to keep all of their correspondence within their own email client.

An example of the mailing list format is canvas-1234-56789@coursemail.harvard.edu which includes the Canvas course ID from the site’s URL (e.g. 1234) and the Canvas section ID which is the unique identifier for the mailing list (e.g. 56789).  

    

 

Who can use the Course Emailer?

When the Course Emailer is added to a Canvas site, mailing lists will be created automatically -- one mailing list for the entire course and one for each section, if any sections exist. When teaching staff send an email to any of the mailing lists, the message will be delivered to all members of that list. List membership is automactically updated to reflect any changes in enrollment. If new sections are created for the course, new section mailing lists will be created automatically as well.

Only teaching staff and course admins can access the Course Emailer within Canvas, and they will see it as an item in the left-hand navigation if it’s installed for their course. There, teaching staff can initiate emails and can set permissions for each of the lists. The permissions determine who can send emails to that particular list. The current options are:

These options can be changed at any time for each list using the gear icon.

 Notes on permissions 

Which email address should I use when trying to send mail to the class list?

The Course Emailer will only recognize email addresses that are associated with your account in Canvas. However, you can edit this information and add other email addresses.

To find your email addresses in Canvas, navigate to your profile settings by clicking "Account" in the global navigation menu on the left, then selecting "Settings":

Then, in the upper-right hand corner, there will be an area called "Ways to Contact," under which your email addresses are listed in Canvas. 

How do I add an email address in Canvas?

Instructure has instructions to add an email address in Canvas for instructors and add an email address in Canvas for students.

How do teaching staff email the entire course?

To email the entire course, click on the blue link next to the "Course Mailing List" header; a window will open in the user's default email client (e.g. Outlook) with the mailing list address in the "To" field.  Teaching staff can also copy the mailing list address that is displayed and paste it into an email.  

 The format for this main mailing list address is canvas-xxxx@coursemail.harvard.edu where xxxx is the Canvas course ID from the course URL, e.g.: https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/xxxx/

How do teaching staff change the global settings for all section email lists?

Teaching staff may change how section email lists behave by selecting one of two radio buttons:

Regardless of which setting is selected, the sender of an email automatically receives a copy of the email in order to confirm it was delivered successfully.

How do teaching staff email course sections?

Mailing lists are created for any sections that are created with the Manage Sections tool or with the Student Information System (SIS) (e.g. My.Harvard). To email one of these sections, click the tab that says "Email Specific Sections." Please note this tab will only appear if the course has been sectioned. The Course Emailer will specify which sections have been created with Manage Sections, and which have been created with the SIS. To email a specific section, click the blue “Email” button that corresponds to that section.

Teaching staff can also copy the mailing list address that is displayed and paste it into an email.

 

How do teaching staff email registrar enrollments?

This feature may be particularly useful for cross-listed or jointly offered courses. This tab will house the mailing lists for any sections that are sent to us in the Registrar's feed. If, for example, the course is jointly offered between FAS and HDS, this feature may be used to email only the HDS students, or only the FAS students. Please note this tab will only appear if there is more than one registrar-fed section.

Teaching staff can also copy the mailing list address that is displayed and paste it into an email.


What happens when an unauthorized user tries to send an email to the mailing list?

If someone tries to send an email to mailing list that they do not have permission to send to, they will receive a bounce-back email stating that message wasn't delivered.  Please check out our Course Emailer Troubleshooting Tips for more information about the error messages people may receive.

What do I do if I receive an error when attempting to email the class list?

If you receive a bounce-back email with the subject line "Undeliverable mail," please check out our Course Emailer Troubleshooting Tips for possible solutions.

Where do teaching staff see the individual email addresses of class members?

Underneath the title of the mailing list, there is a clickable link that tells you how many members belong to the list. Clicking this link takes you to a new page where the email address is listed for each member.

Additional details about the Course Emailer