How to send a Canvas announcement from your email app

To send an announcement on Canvas, you normally use the Announcements tool specific to each course. However, you can also send announcements from your native email app using the external feeds feature on Canvas. To send an announcement via email, set up a dummy blog that supports RSS feeds and posting over email, then link that RSS feed with your Canvas site. The instructions below are for Blogger, but any platform that meets these requirements will work. When finished, you will be able to send announcements to one or all of your Canvas courses, from any email.

Create and configure a dummy blog

Create a new blog at Blogger.com, or another blog platform. This will likely be tied to your Google account if you have one. In the Blogger settings, set the following options:

  • Set “Post using email” to “Publish email immediately”, then create and remember the email address you create.
  • Set “Allow blog feed” to “Full”
A screenshot of the settings screen in Blogger — explained in detail in the article text.
A screenshot of the settings screen in Blogger — explained in detail in the article text.
Blogger email settings

Connect your feed to Canvas

In the Announcements tool, click the External Feeds link on the right, and paste in your feed’s URL. Select “Full article”, check “Only add posts with a specific phrase in the title”, and add your relevant keywords if desired (explained in the next section). Click “Add Feed”.

A screenshot of Canvas showing how to set your external feed settings
A screenshot of Canvas showing how to set your external feed settings
Canvas settings for your external feed

Send the same announcement to multiple courses

Using the above method, you can also send the same announcement to multiple courses automatically, simply by linking all the courses to the same RSS feed. This is handy if you have a general announcement to make that applies to all your students. As the Announcements tool currently works, there is no way (that I know of) to natively send the same announcement to multiple Canvas courses.

  • [all]

Disclaimers!

The above method requires that you have a dummy blog that serves only as the host of the RSS feed. But this also likely means that the blog will be public. You can set Blogger to not index the blog for search engines, but it’s also best to not use this method for any sensitive information. Most course announcements I send are general information that I assume is also public knowledge, but fair warning. Additionally, keep the posting email address a secret, as any email sent to this address will be posted as an announcement.

Phonologist, lecturer in linguistics, he/him.