A mass notification is a generic term for any operation that adds a large number of notifications to the system at one time. Most mass notifications work in the background because of the following reasons:

  • Given the potential size of some of these imports, a mass notification can take quite a long time to complete.
  • Almost all of the content exchange mechanisms are background tasks, so it would not make sense to run in the foreground.

Two types of mass notification are available:

Content mass notifications focus on the content for which notifications must be generated, such as assignments, surveys, grades, an so on. Enrollment mass notifications focus on users who need to be added to existing notifications. Said another way, content mass notifications create notifications while enrollment mass notifications add recipients to existing notifications.

Content mass notifications

Two types of mass notifications are available:

  • First-Time: Applies to a course for which no notifications have been created, that is, courses that have no content. First-time mass notifications generate records only for Important notifications. For a list of all important notifications, see Notification Types.
  • Full: Applies to a course that already has notifications, that is, courses that already have content. This generates all possible notifications.


An instructor is importing three items into an existing course: a course document, an assignment without a due date, and an assignment with a due date. Of these three, only the assignment with a due is considered Important.

If the course is empty and has no content, this will initiate a first-time mass notification and only the assignment with a due date will generate notifications. Information about the other items will be sent to each user in a digest email.

If the course is not empty (that is, it already contains content), this will initiate a full mass notification and notifications will be generated for all three of content items.

The idea here is that content introduced into new courses, which are generally course shells set up at the beginning of the semester, should not spam all of its users with every possible notification. It is very unlikely that students are going to care enough about every web link, for example, to receive a separate email about it. Content introduced later in the semester, however, should be broadcast to everyone because it is a late-breaking occurrence that is worthy of its own notice.

Enrollment mass notifications

Enrollment mass notifications are slightly simpler than content mass notifications because they do not really worry about creating notifications at all. Instead, they focus on generating new recipients for existing notifications. All enrollment mass notifications are full, which is to say that they generate records only for Important notifications. For a list of all important notifications, see Notification Types.

Mass notification originators

The following table lists the actions that prompt a mass notification and the kinds of mass notifications that they originate:

Mass Notification Originators
Import Type Mass Notification Type
Course Copy Content/Content and Enrollment
Course Import Content
Course Restore Content and Enrollment
Batch Enrollment Enrollment
Snapshot Copy Content/Content & Enrollment
Snapshot Enrollment Enrollment
Course Availability Content & Enrollment
Command Line Import Content
Command Line Restore Content and Enrollment

The Command Line Import and Command Line Restore operations execute their notifications immediately. All of the other operations run them through the Queued Task Manager.