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Class Communications

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What are Class Communications?

Class Communications include digital services such as Banner course email, Canvas course conversations, and Google Course Groups. These tools allow instructors to manage communications and facilitate interactions between all members of the class. Specialized tools like Canvas discussion forums, Twitter feeds, and video conferencing can empower student reflection and participation and provide students the opportunity to connect with classmates in relevant and timely ways.

Banner course email

  • Course roster updates automatically.
  • Students cannot opt-out of receiving communications.
  • Instructors can add alternative email addresses.
  • Students cannot send to the Banner course email list (instructor announcements only)

Canvas course conversations

  • Messages are internal to Canvas.
  • Students can opt out of receiving email notifications.
  • One way for students to send internal messages to students groups or faculty

Google Course Groups

  • Course roster updates automatically.
  • A request in is required to create your Google course group.
  • You can add your course group to other Google apps (docs, sites, etc) to manage permissions.
  • Instructors and students can send group emails.

Best Practices

Using the Banner course email (e.g. course.chem.0000a.fall-2014.s01 is the easiest and best way to quickly contact students. Although Canvas sends out course notifications (i.e. announcements, assignment due date changes, grade changes, etc.), students may opt-out of receiving these notifications and would need to be instructed to look for communications within Canvas. 

Shopping Period

During shopping period the Banner course email list and Google Course Group includes students who have indicated an interest in the course by placing it in their primary shopping cart in (the tool used by students to learn about courses and access course registration.) These prospective students will not appear in the list of students displayed on the Banner summary class list page.  

Note: During shopping period we recommend including the following language in class communication via Banner course email list:

"Receipt of this email is not an indicator that you have successfully registered for the course. Please visit to access the Banner Add/Drop page where you can view the results of your registration."

How can I use Class Communications?

Activate a Banner course email by clicking on the email link in Banner (found at the bottom of Banner summary class list pages) or send an email using this format: course.dept.code.semester-year.section @

Learn more about activating a course email.
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