Tips to avoid death by Announcement

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Do you use Canvas Announcements to let your students know about events your school is running? Are students not responding to important announcements, only for you to find that they have disabled that notification channel?

A Student Communications Survey by Middlesex University London found that almost a quarter of students say that they receive too many emails, with 14% opting not to access their university email account on their phones. It is important to keep students informed, but with so much information to share, it can be easy to fall into the trap of posting too many announcements in your VLE. This can be overwhelming for students, and it can also make it difficult for them to find the information they need.

Feedback from students in a recent University of Sussex Education Committee Report states that ’students are receiving too many emails‘ and that ’lecturers have complained that students are not reading emails because they are being too overwhelmed by the mass‘. Announcements about school events were specifically cited as contributing to the volume. Students (and staff!!) reach ‘announcement fatigue’ which results in them muting all announcements from certain channels.

Here are a few tips on how to avoid posting too many announcements:

  1. Only post announcements that are truly important. Before you post an announcement, ask yourself if it’s necessary. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and don’t post it.
  2. Group related announcements together. If you have several announcements, group them together in one post. This will make it easier for students to find the information they need.
  3. Apply a time limit to your announcements. Regularly review and delete old announcements after a set period – the recommended period is two weeks, maximum. This limits the amount of scrolling students need to do to reach important information on the page. Operate a ’one in – one out‘ policy to stay on top of announcement administration, with a limit on the number of announcements in play at any time.
  4. Keep your announcements short and to the point. Get to the point quickly to make it easy for students to find the information they need.
  5. Use the Canvas Course Calendar to hold information about events. Store school events in an account calendar to avoid duplication and instruct students how they can subscribe to the calendar when you send out other messages.
  6. Use clear and concise language. When you write an announcement, be sure to use clear and concise language. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your students might not understand.

By following these tips, you can avoid posting too many VLE announcements and keep your students informed without overwhelming them.

If you need any help to investigate ways you can reduce the number of announcements you post, please contact your Learning Technologist or email the Educational Enhancement team on

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We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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