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

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activity remains inside the system, and users don't have to worry about email addresses that may be incorrect or outdated.

Turn on the Messages tool for courses and organizations

Institutions often have policies about how students communicate with others in their courses. To support your institution’s policies, system administrators can manage the availability of the Messages tool for courses and organizations. When the Messages tool is turned on, students and instructors can read and send direct messages from the Messages link on the base navigation bar or the Messages tab on a course record.

To enable or disable the Messages tool, go to the Administrator Panel. Under Tools and Utilities, select Tools.

On the Administrator Tools page, under Course Messages, select the availability (Yes or No) for the Course Tool and Organization Tool. Under Scope of Change, select whether to apply changes to all courses and organizations, or only to new ones going forward.

If you have base navigation enabled, you can manage the availability of the Messages tool for both the Ultra and Original Experiences at the institution and node levels. If your institution has different configurations at node level, Messages displays on the base navigation bar according to the policy applied for each course. The Course Messages option does not display for courses where messaging is turned off.

Alternatives to direct messaging

If you turn off the Messages tool, students and instructors can still send messages as emails using the Messages button found throughout Learn. Special considerations: 

  • To receive a message as email, the recipient must have an email address in their profile.
  • The sender receives a copy of the message as an email.
  • Recipients can’t reply to the email.
  • Instructors can edit recipients.
  • Students can’t edit recipients and can send messages only to instructors.
  • Daily notifications don’t include new messages created from courses with the Messages tool turned off.

Message settings for organizations and courses

If the Messages tool is turned off for your institution, settings selected on the Messages for Organizations and Courses page don’t apply.

If you enabled the Messages tool for organizations and courses, you can set additional options for how messaging works in the Ultra and Original experiences.

From the Administrator Panel, under Tools and Utilities, select Messages. The Messages for Organizations and Courses page opens.

Overall Message Settings

Select whether students and participants can create or reply to course or organization messages.

Ultra Course and Organization Settings

Always send a copy of messages via email. For courses and organizations, you can send a copy of messages via email. This option decouples courses from organizations to provide institutions with greater flexibility and control. This option is deselected by default.

Course and Organization Message Options. To better support institutional policy and preferences, institutions can determine messaging options for courses and organizations: 

  • Students can message anyone in their course 
  • Students can only send a message to staff and students in their groups 
  • Students can only send a message to staff 
  • Students can only reply to messages 

Original View Message Settings

Allow file attachments. Select whether users can add file attachments to messages.

Allow users to create personal folders. Select whether users can create personal folders to store messages.