How to: Share Important Information with Students before the first day of classes

NOTE: Students can not see your course until the term in Canvas opens and the course is published. The Canvas term opens approximately one (1) week before the first day of classes for the academic term.

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Use Inbox Messages and/or Course Announcements

The earliest date students can access Canvas courses will be the date set for the beginning of the term, and only if you publish your own course(s) early. Students cannot access content in unpublished courses.

All unpublished courses will be published at 8 am on the first day of classes, making communication through Canvas possible for all instructors and students.


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FSW Email

Use your FSW Email Account in Outlook

Did you know you can use your course CRN to send an email to your whole class?! Create a unique email by adding your CRN to For example, if your course CRN is 12345 then you would send the email to

This feature is available as soon as the semester starts.


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My FSW Portal

Use Course Roster List in your Portal

Locate your Summary Class List via the Portal, then select students to contact using the "checkbox" column, and click the envelope icon to message them.

This feature is available as soon as students enroll. You can send a communication to all students or a subset of selected students. It will use your default email application to populate the "Bcc" field in an empty email.


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What Students Need to Know Before the First Day

This depends on the modality you are teaching in, but all students will benefit from:

  1. Knowing where to “go” on the first day of class. Where and when will you meet them?
    • Live on campus (Traditional, Blended, Live Flex) - provide the campus, room and time for the first day
    • Live on Zoom (Live Online or Live Flex) - provide the Zoom link, time, and this guide: How To: Join a Zoom Meeting for Students
    • Asynchronously on Canvas (FSW Online) - provide instructions for accessing your course via Canvas at and tell them how to get started
  2. Knowing what materials are required for your course. What do they need to successfully meet your requirements?
    • Textbook information
    • Required technology like external webcams
  3. Early access to your syllabus.
    • We all know this is chock full of important information! It can't hurt to remind them they are required to read it front-to-back!

Need help with Canvas or Outlook please submit a helpdesk ticket.


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Article ID: 131702
Wed 4/28/21 9:46 AM
Mon 11/6/23 9:49 AM

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