Send a Canvas Message to Students Displayed in the Student Data Table

One of the most powerful tools in Delphinium is the ability send a Canvas message to the students displayed in the Student Data Table. This feature allows you to quickly message the whole class, filter for a specific range of students and send customized messages, or message a single student. More details about filtering the Student Data Table can be found here: Sorting and Filtering the Grade List.

Regular Communication with Students is a Powerful Way to Engage Students

Students often cite messages from teachers as has having a large impact on their motivation and ability to perform well in the class. It means a lot to students to have a teacher who cares enough to communicate with them. Struggling students many times to not seek help, Delphinium messages removes barriers and allows students to ask for help. When teachers learn of barriers to student success, they can work with students, make accommodations, and modify their course to better serve students. Teachers report that the Delphinium messaging tools make it much easier to communicate with their students. We recommend teachers use the delphinium messaging tool to communicate one to two times a week with specific groups of students.

Select Students to Include in the Canvas Message

Open the Delphinium Gradebook messaging tool by clicking the envelope icon located in the title header for the "Details" column, to the far right of the Student Data Table. A message dialog window will appear addressed to the students that are currently displayed in the Student Data Table. Possible uses for the Delphinium Gradebook messaging tool include the following:

Message the Whole Class

Without filtering, the entire class will be viewable in the Student Data Table, and clicking the envelope icon will create a message addressed to all student in the class. This is useful for general announcements you want to send to all students.

Message a Filtered Range of Students

Using the filtering tools described above, you can filter the Student Data Table to target a specific group of students and then click the envelope icon to create a message addressed to just those students. In the message you can use "text variables" to personalize the message with information like the students' names and current point totals.

Message a Single Student

By filtering the Student Data Table down to one student using the "Text Filtering Boxes" in the name columns, and then clicking the envelope icon, you can quickly send a message to a single student in the class.

Compose and Send a Message

The "Send a Message" dialog will appear when you click the envelope icon and includes the following:

Send To:

The students that were visible in the "Student Data Table" when you clicked the "envelope icon" will be listed in the "Send To:" section.

If the number of students receiving the message is long, you can click Show All to view the entire list of students and you can click Show Less to view just the first few students receiving the message.

Note: When you send this message, it will be send through the Canvas messaging system as an individual message. Students will not know that other students were also sent the same message.


Add a subject line for your message


Type the body of your message in this "text box".

Variable Text

Above the text box is a "variable text button bar". These will add variable text "slugs" to your message, like name and points the student has earned. When you send the message, the "variable text slugs" will be replaced with data for each student the message is sent to.

Place the cursor in the "body text box" where you want the variable text to appear, then click a variable text button, the "variable text slug" will be inserted into the "body text" at the position of the cursor.

Note: "Variable text slugs" automatically add a space after them. You may need to delete this space, depending on the sentence you insert the slug into (e.g., if punctuation directly follows the slug).


Click Send to send the message through the Canvas messaging system. A blue notification banner will appear to confirm that the message is being sent and a green confirmation banner will appear to confirm that sending the message was successful.

Note: Messages you send in the Gradebook messaging tool will appear in the Canvas conversations tool and students will receive and reply to these messages as they would any other Canvas message.

Note: The next time you open the message tool (without refreshing the page), your previous message will be in the message field, this makes it easy to target different groups of students and send multiple messages in a row.

Note: By default, Canvas sends one message to all students, though you can change the settings to send a different message to each student. However, in Delphinium, each student will receive an individual message. This is important because Delphinium allows you to mass customize messages with students' names and grade info. As a result, the Canvas Sent folder will display an email for each student.

Example Messages

Here are two example messages you might send to students:

  • Hi {{FirstName}}, I noticed that you only have {{Points}} points in the class, by now you should have closer to 200. Is there anything I can do to help? Thanks! Dr. Chapman

A message like this, sent out weekly to students who you have identified by filtering the Student Data Table will have a huge impact on your students' success! What starts out as a quick, impersonal, message, becomes a caring conversation when the student messages back. Your students will really feel that you care for their success and this will help them further engage in the course.

  • Hi {{FirstName}}, Great work earning {{Points}} points! I'm impressed with your hard work! Thanks! Dr. Chapman

A message like this sent to student who are doing well with reinforce their positive behavior and encourage them to continue to excel in the class.

Include Observers on a Message

If your students have observers configured, you can use these options to send them messages

Click Include Observers to send a copy of the current message to students' observers.

Click Include Observers AND Only Send Message to Observers to send a message to students' observers, and NOT the student.