Course messages

Course messages are private and secure text-based communication that occurs within your course among course members.

Although similar to email, you must be logged in to a course to read and send course messages. Messages activity remains inside the system, and you don't have to worry about email addresses that may be incorrect or outdated.

You can access messages on the Control Panel > Course Tools > Course Messages or from a customized link you add to the course menu. Students can access course messages from the customized link or from the Tools page.

If you see a list on the left where your name appears, you can view and send messages for all of your courses on the Messages page.

If you see your name in the top-right corner of the page, you can access new messages for all of your courses. Open the menu next to your name and select the Updates icon. You can view a list of notifications about important events and information in all your courses and organizations.

When you receive new course messages, a notification appears in the What's New module on the My Institution tab and the Home Page.

Both incoming and outgoing messages are saved in course messages in the Inbox and Sent folders. You can't rename these folders.


If allowed by your institution, you can create personal folders to help organize your course messages. By default, users may not create personal folders and add file attachments.

You can delete a message, but the action is irreversible.

Read-only course messages for students

Each institution has different communication preferences and policies. Some institutions may want to limit how students communicate with others in their courses. Your institution can choose not to allow students to reply to or create messages in their courses. You can't turn this setting on and off in your individual courses.

When this setting is turned on, students can only read the messages other roles send, such as instructors and teaching assistants. Students also won't be able to forward messages they receive.

Instructor workflow

When course messages are read-only for students, you're alerted when you create a message.

Student workflow

When students view their Original course messages, the Create Message, Reply, and Forward options have been removed.

Watch a video about course messages

The following narrated | unnarrated video provides a visual and auditory | visual representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Course Messages shows to access, view, and send messages to members of your course.

Add a course messages link to the course menu

You can add a link to the course menu for immediate access to course messages. You can also customize the name of the link.

  1. In Edit Mode, select the Add Menu Item icon above the course menu to open the menu.
  2. Select Tool Link and type a name.
  3. From the Type menu, select Messages.
  4. Select the Available to Users check box if you're ready for students to see it.
  5. Select Submit.

After you submit, a link to course messages appears on the course menu. You can reorder the links, and show and hide links from students.

More on reordering the course menu