Canvas Software


Canvas from Instructure is a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) suitable for K-12 and higher education institutes. Canvas is a scalable LMS platform that can be used to serve education facilities all sizes, ranging from individual classrooms to large universities.

Canvas learning platform offers core LMS functionality including the online grade books, testing, course authoring and integration with other teaching tools. The Canvas App Center offers mobile-ready teaching tools that can be added to bring new functionalities in the application. Over two hundred different LTI tools allow teachers to customize courses and monitor engagements with their class or individual students. Canvas also offers native apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing instructors to view key information, share updates or send results from anywhere and at any time.

Canvas is recommended to campuses with more than two hundred students. The solution comes with 14 days free trial period so that users can experience the interface and features for themselves before making any kind of commitment.



709 Reviews of Canvas

Overall rating

4.43 / 5 stars

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Showing 1 - 20 of 709 reviews

October 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

October 2018

Has its limits, but still the best out there

There is a paid version that you can do too. It's very expensive, and we found it still didn't quite meet our needs. For universities it probably would do the trick, but if you're a small education program, stick with Free for Teacher. Even with its little hassles, Canvas is still the best online classroom you can find out there.

Pros

We use the Free for Teacher edition. When it comes to setting up courses, having assignments, files, students, deadlines, and grades set up, it's pretty simple. Not a lot of trouble getting things put together. You can integrate videos, there's a conference capability called Big Blue Button that allows all the members of the course to video in with each other and you can share screen and everything. It has been a big help allowing our students to have a portal to do their assignments, and connect with everyone in the class.

Cons

One of the nuances to Canvas that is difficult is limiting what teachers can see. By that I mean we have two different types of courses that we run.

One is an individual cohort of a few students and a director. The only way to make these closed down to just these members is to create a duplicate of the course and put those members in. Not a terrible thing, but then the courses start to stack up with all the different cohorts you have going. Plus, there's not really a way to have any updates filter down into all the same semester courses. So if we want to make an update on Semester 1, we have to go into each individual course and update it. There's also no way to update deadlines when you copy a course. So I have to change every assignment's due date so it fits in the new semester's timeline.

The other kind of course that we have is an open course that anyone can jump into, and then we assign a TA to grade certain students. The problem with this is that there's no way to limit the TA's view of who is in the course. So it shows them that there are dozens of students' work that needs to be graded in their To-Do List and makes it difficult for them to know when their assigned students have actually submitted anything. Haven't been able to find a work around for this yet.

January 2019

Joshua from Western Washington University Extended Education

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

January 2019

A Revolutionary Aid to Learning

Pros

I have used canvas at both my previous college and my current one which I transferred to, for both classes which were taken entirely on the platform (online classes) and classes where it was used as an aid. The ability to see an up to date schedule for your classes, contact instructors, revisit old modules, submit assignments online, view and respond to instructor feedback... It's completely changed the game. It's become an intrinsic part of my routine to check canvas everyday. You can also customize what alerts you want to see, so if your instructor gives you feedback or sends an alert out you can get an email straight away.

The app is also fantastic and very convenient!

If you're an instructor and you don't use canvas, I worry that I won't be able to see important changes in time. Plus, feedback is relegated to the old fashioned, penciled in way of the early 2000s. We're better than that now, in no small part due to Canvas, which has genuinely revolutionized the medium learning takes.

Cons

There was one brief time this year where they pushed an update that made it so one of my instructors would see some error message when they clicked on my file submission, even though they were able to successfully download the file. They patched that quickly!

Overall, it turns of lasting cons, canvas has tried very hard to become irreplaceable, and they've succeeded. My only problem is when instructors aren't tech oriented, and so don't understand how to set up a course shell, but that's not canvas' fault.

November 2017

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 501-1,000 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

4 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

November 2017

It's ease of use, mobile experience, and ease of administration outweigh the features it lacks.

We are able to get detailed analytics on use not only from our students but from our instructors. We are able to build customizations utilizing the API. We are now in a hosted solution with a beta server, test server and production server that is maintained and updated every week or 3 weeks depending on the server.

Pros

Canvas from an administrator side is incredibly easy to work with. Installing addons takes just seconds in comparison to the fear I experienced in installing anything in Blackboard, and the confusion I experienced trying to set anything up in D2L.
One of the deciding factors in moving forward with Canvas was ease of use for our faculty and students. If Canvas was not easy to use our transition would have been near impossible.
It's mobile app is excellent for students and they are in the middle of improving their faculty mobile app now.
They have an incredible Community that has asked most of the questions you have and someone has provided the answer you're looking for. There are also folks that create customizations and share those with everyone to help improve your workflows. They also let you in on the development process and share with your their progress and let you beta test things for them.
I love having a beta server, test server and production server to work with that is always up to date.
Lots to love about Canvas.

Cons

There are some features that are lacking from Canvas that we are attempting to work around or build customizations for.
1. Set Discussion boards to need grading after x number of posts. Right now it says it needs to be graded after the first post and will not notify the instructor once they have submitted the required amount of posts. This isn't as big of an issue when there are due dates but a majority of our courses do not have due dates.
2. It's Outcomes capabilities are lacking. They have plans to improve on this but it may be awhile.
3. They are releasing a new quizzing tool in 2018 which we are excited for but are worried about how we will need to go about migrating quizzes.

April 2018

Brittany from JMU

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

April 2018

This software has been a great tool that helped me throughout my college career.

I was able to be more organized with my work for school. I am a forgetful person but with the reminders on the side of canvas, it helped me to complete the forgotten assignments. Another benefit was that I learn to time manage my work by seeing the work load I have that for that week. In addition, it also helped me to learn to plan ahead.

Pros

Canvas is a great organizing tool. Some pros include the following: a calendar with due dates, to-do list, easy to use, tabs that is very easy to locate, the what if feature, easy to communicate with teachers, pleasing to the eye, has a mobile app, coming up assignment features, viewing files without downloading them, break down of your grade, and very simple. With this system, I did not have the need to buy a planner to write down all my assignments.

Cons

There is not too much I dislike about the system. Though the system is very organized, if the instructor does not put the files in an organized manner it can be hard to seek the desired files. In addition, there are some times where canvas can be very difficult to use as you have to click different features to get to the desired file. In addition, for the discussion page, it would be super helpful if the reply comments could be in a file with the original comment of the discussion board. In one class, we have weekly discussions and the students of that subjects has to write a powerpoint to explain a character that defines it and the student who did not create that has to write comments for it. At first it was not much but later became very hard to locate the different power point comments due to the immense amount of reply comments.

January 2019

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

January 2019

College course management program for students, faculty, and staff

Pros

After my university switched over to Canvas as the preferred course management software, I was happy to finally have a user-friendly interface to work with. The menu is not cluttered and all tabs and icons are easy to find. One of the main advantages of Canvas is the ability to easily sync a school email account and get live notifications when items and assignments are posted.

Professors can also setup calendars that help remind students of exam, project, and homework due dates. Students can also setup discussions or threads within their respective courses, which is useful when a lot of students have a similar question. Saves the professor time from having to answer 50 emails about the same question.

Cons

The notification system, both as a student and professor, is not the most efficient system. Canvas is meant to have a built-in emailing program. This creates a lot of confusion when students send messages via Canvas (which is linked to a school email account) and separately send messages directly from their school email. I've encountered times where it was not clear how to send a message directly to particular member of the course, and ended up emailing the entire class by accident.

Professors often alternate between general email notifications and "Dashboard" notifications within Canvas. It makes it confusing for students as to where exactly to look for course related information. I find this lack of streamlining for notifications to be the biggest drawback.

June 2018

Mavares from Universidad Nacional Experimental Politécnica 'Antonio José de Sucre'

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

3 of 5

Customer support

3 of 5

Functionality

3 of 5

June 2018

The 21st century requires interacting, learning and living the virtuality

To reduce the distances between the participants and expand the possibilities and technological literacy of all.

Pros

The teaching of the 21st century requires a change in models and approach to learning. The change allows to reeplantear not only the contents of the subjects, moreover, the tools with which the teacher will have to share their experiences. It is very valuable to have a virtual space in which you can group: Class documents, videos, conferences, guides, questionnaires, tests, texts, messaging, links, e-mail, all online. The teacher, in this platform, also has the ability to qualify the different assignments and even make various qualifications in real time. The interaction can also include the representatives, who can also access, if they wish, the platform.
Through the "Collaborations", participants can work as a team their classroom projects, through group editing programs, which can be sent directly to Canvas. The personalization, organization and structure of the modules is very helpful for the participants to experience the different advantages of virtual training.

Cons

The platforms have generalized their use in such a way that it is easy to find them in different stages and school courses, as well as in undergraduate and postgraduate university studies. In the same way, the age of the instructors and of the participants varies considerably. When users are not able to interact with each other easily and quickly, they lose interest, not only for the course, but also for the platform, which translates into a considerable loss of effectiveness and impact of the same.
It would be fantastic if the teachers could have a cheaper version of the platform, but not be "tied" to large organizations, schools and universities, a kind of "private" virtual classroom that is managed and set almost entirely by the teacher, who will only have to enter his participants, in different classrooms, at the same time, and with an accessible cost.

November 2016

Jason from Utah Valley University

Company Size: 5,001-10,000 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

November 2016

Canvas - An Admin's Dream Come True

As the Learning Management System Admin for Utah Valley University, managing the use of Canvas can be challenging, but in a really good way. Whenever I run into a problem, I can usually find the answer and deploy a solution very quickly. Instructure provides a dedicated Customer Success Manager who meets with us regularly, a robust case management system, and an extremely helpful community engagement platform. Canvas is updated regularly to stay fresh on new technologies, features, and bug fixes. It's really fun to manage this system and have so much buy-in from faculty. Canvas is also on the leading edge with 3rd party integrations, data analytics, and cross-platform compatibility.

Pros

Canvas is always available. Teachers and students rarely suffer from any down time, if ever. Even with the regular updates of the platform (every 3 weeks), there is no significant downtime. The integration with our Student Information System is really good, but will soon be even better.

Cons

I wish Instructure would value the opinions of an institution's Canvas Admin over instructors. Instructors tend to not stay up to speed with an institution's policies, new government regulation, or plain common sense in some cases. There are a few specific tools that would make an admin's life much easier... like this feature idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7301

December 2018

Jeramy from Independence University

Company Size: 201-500 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

December 2018

Stable, easy to use, and performs like a champ!

Canvas is the LMS used by my University. As an instructor, I have had the opportunity to use the softweare for about 5 years. I have also completed a degree in an online program using the tool. I have always found it to be very reliable; most challenges I have incountered have been user error and not often software error. There are many add ons to customize the software and it is pretty easy and straight forward in terms of user for both faculty and student.

Pros

Very stable and reliable. In 5 years of using the software, there are just a few times I can recall that there have been some downtime; and never more than a shot period. Canvas is a standard among universitites, and students are able to quickly learn how to use the tool and submit their coursework. They also have stellar support, 24/7. The challenges I have encourtered has been more in terms of o

Cons

There are some things that could be enganced in terms of features to make the tool even better. As Canvas is a large company, suggestions for new features goes to a board and the community votes and considerations are based on how much support from the community board. While a good way to reach people, I suspoect most people do not take the time to visit this board and read throyugh suggestions to make recomendations. Seems like they could get more info from user based focus groups who could lend insights on new features and enhancements.

March 2018

SARAH from Biotek Labs

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

3 of 5

Customer support

3 of 5

Functionality

3 of 5

March 2018

Successful student planning

Easy acess to my school courses which provided an overall better experience.

Pros

I like being able to see all of my classes at a glance. It is easy to see where I stand in each course, what assignments are due next, updates from class discussions ect. I feel more involved with my classes because I can see what is being updated immediately. I enjoy the discussion features often used by professors. These discussions keep your mind on the subjects currently being worked on, so they stay fresh in your mind. All contact information for your classmates is available through the app, which is nice for when you need to borrow notes or schedule study groups. The calendar available is usually easily accessible, and contains all the important dates for the semester. I am constantly referencing the app to make sure that I have completed everything I need to, that there haven't been any new updates, and that I am aware of all upcoming tests and assignments.

Cons

Obviously the efficacy of the software depends on the diligence of the professors and administrators inputting information into it. On a tech level, it is very well designed. I have only noticed a few times that the app has been down, or that a certain feature isn't working.

March 2018

Neal from James Madison University

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

4 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

March 2018

The best software to check grades and assignments

I can check my grades easily. I can also see what is due with the calendar option and plan out my week. I love how you can view all your classes and see your previous classes. I can look and download my teachers syllabus multiple times (because we students always delete that). I can also test my grades to see what the lowest grade I can obtain to keep my desired grade(A):)

Pros

Love this software so much. I can see all my classes that I am currently taking and have taken already. The calendar view lets you know which assignments are coming up and when they are due. You can click on a class page and information will be provided to you as organized by the teacher. I always look at handouts and in class presentation PowerPoints. The teacher can also make quizzes online and timed/ un-timed. You can see how you are doing in the class and calculate your predicted grade easily. I love how I can see what the lowest grade I can get from an assignment to obtain a desired letter grade.

Cons

There is a learning curve with this software. Sometimes when I look up my school's canvas it takes me to a broken canvas login screen. Teachers often complain how they are limited to how they can customize their canvas page. Each teacher also does their canvas page slightly different so it takes some getting used to.

May 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

May 2018

Pricey, but worth every penny

Pros

Our program has been using Canvas for about 10 years now and we are very happy with this software program. Specifically, the SpeedGrader functionality is superb. You can easily view and grade papers with your rubrics embedded into the grading system. The Collaborations feature is also quite robust and allows students to work on a project together via a group editing program (like Google Docs) and submit directly to Canvas. They've really done a good job partnering with other programs to allow communication between software (for example, students can easily submit their papers to Canvas with an embedded plagiarism checking program without having to use each software package independently).

Cons

One negative about the program is that, while you can assign students to groups to complete group projects, you still have to grade them all individually. There isn't (yet) a feature to assign identical grades to all students in the group. As with any program, there are extra features and functions that would be useful, but overall, we're very pleased. The price is steep compared to other course management software, but we find the time savings to be worth the additional cost.

August 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 10,000+ employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

August 2018

Clean, easy, and

While Canvas is not perfect, it is by far the best class organization tool I have used and I can only see it improving from here.

Pros

Canvas is by far the best class organization platform I have used as a student. There are so many features, such as a calendar, grading system, discussion system, grouping system, messaging system, announcement system, file system, and more more components implemented in a clean interface for both the desktop site and mobile application, making Canvas feel like a very complete and comprehensive tool. Configuring Canvas is easy, but any snags along the way can be sorted out by contacting Canvas's excellent customer support. So long as a teacher or professor is willing to make good use of Canvas, then the tool will serve as a huge boon to both students and instructors.

Cons

A more robust and open grading system would be more useful for determining one's current or final for when teachers or professors implement less traditional grading weights and tactics. While the software is clean, certain features and pages can be convoluted to find. The file browser and downloading files could be improved and made more intuitive.

April 2018

Nick from USF

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Functionality

3 of 5

April 2018

Doing more with mobile ability

Overall I think this is a great product that can use some refining to make it more intuitive for the next generation of student and teacher interaction. Once I was able to get over the learning curve of the product and be able to trust that it is helpful for scheduling important dates it is a good supplementary tool for lessons. It should by no means be used as a replacement for face to face participation. The discussion board needs a lot of work, I would suggest a rating scale like readit or buzzfeeed but even that might be hard because of the small pool of participants.

Pros

The product is helpful for keeping track of work progress, submitting assignments, sharing resources, reviewing grades, messaging teachers and the features continue. It has been a great platform to keep everything centralized and gain access to all of the class work that is populated by the professors. The customizable features are also helpful in regards to the potential of the software itself.

Cons

There are a few things that lengthen the learning curve of this tool and can hinder its effectiveness. One being that because it is so customizable, each professor uses it differently and that makes it harder for the student to know what is where when multiple professors are using it in different capacities. Second is less crucial but can be annoying and that is the notifications don't always disappear after you have read a message. Lastly is the point of customization, which I've also noted as a pro but as a con it can be difficult for discussion boards when the format to submit varies for posts.

February 2019

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

February 2019

Great for Busy Students

Overall, I love Canvas. It makes my hectic life as a college student a bit easier every day. The fact that I can get notifications and reminders ensures that no assignments or quizzes are slipping my mind, and the ability to communicate with professors and fellow peers alike has been very helpful.

Pros

I love Canvas for multiple reasons. Firstly, I love how clean, simple, and easy to navigate this software is, whether it be on mobile or desktop. I also love how there are features such as a "To-Do" column and a "Dashboard" to use as a main hub. I use the Calendar tab every single day to reference assignments that I need to do, and how to plan for upcoming assignments! I also love that in the Calendar, students are able to add additional events and assignments professors may have mentioned in class or in an Announcement.

Cons

While software bugs are rare, I have still experienced a few in the past three years I have used Canvas. These bugs always seem to happen at very untimely moments, such as during submission of a large assignment or paper or failure to connect to another software that should work in conjuction with Canvas. However, Canvas is pretty timely in fixing these bugs.

February 2019

Maria from PDO

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Functionality

3 of 5

February 2019

Makes teaching classes so easy!

I love using Canvas, both as a student and a teacher. Grading is easy, giving and receiving feedback is fast and effective, and classes can be organized in a clear and easy to understand manner. I highly recommend it for any classroom!

Pros

There are so many pros to this software!
- Canvas allows for modules, assignments, quizzes, and links to be uploaded but not published. Which means you can set up your whole class before the semester begins and then just publish as you go along.
- It has great features to control in what format and how homework gets turned in. You can even control what kind of file a student can upload.
- Speedgrader is excellent, it allows you to grade, do rubrics, and make comments on students assignments.
- Googledocs and websites are easy to link to modules for reference.

Cons

What I like the least about Canvas is their application. It limits features and makes uploading and linking more cumbersome that it needs to be. Speedgrader comments are also hard to see in the app.
Uploading pictures to a forum discussion is also a little complicated, as it first has to be uploaded to files and then linked to a forum.

October 2018

Loran from Reeds Spring High School

Company Size: 201-500 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

October 2018

Canvas Learning Management System

Pros

There are a lot of great features about Canvas, and you have the ability to add your own personal flair to your class homepages and things of that nature. It's also a platform that my students are familiar with and have ease while using. For my school district, it is a common LMS that we have throughout the entire district, so students come to the high school having used Canvas since they were in elementary school. I like Canvas overall, but I still have a lot to learn.

Cons

The biggest con for me is that I cannot connect my Google Drive to my Canvas. I heard rumors that there may be a way to do this, but I have not studied that out yet. I would like to be able to upload Google Docs and Google Slides and the like to my assignments or home pages without having to download the document and then upload it to the Canvas assignment or files portion of my Canvas page. I also wish that personalization was a little simpler to do. It would be nice if there were different layouts to choose from or something like that. I am all for creativity and personalization.

November 2018

Jessica from Indiana University

Company Size: 1 employee

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

November 2018

Keep me in check

Overall i think Canvas should be used everywhere. I have heard of other programs like Blackboard but I would prefer Canvas

Pros

I love canvas and using it for school. I like being able to see what assignments I have and when they are due. I also really like being able to mess around with the "Grade" tab and put in different grades for my assignments and see what my final grade would be. It is easy to submit assignments and resubmit and have never had problems of Canvas shutting down on me in the middle of a test of quiz.

Cons

Theres is an occasional rare glitch with the program that maybe some things I delete from the to-do list will still appear when I log in again later in the day but it eventually goes away.
The only problem with Canvas that isn't really their fault is that it depends on the professor you have and how familiar they are with the program. I can have a professor that will post all assignments and files that I will need for the day and others who will do things one at a time and not give me an accurate reading as to what my final grade would be at the end of the year.

February 2019

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

February 2019

Canvas by Instructure

Pros

We use Canvas at my place of work. We have several APIs integrated to make data transfer between our LMS and SIS easy. We also have several LTIs for badging and tutoring options. With Canvas being one of the top LMS currently on the market, it is easy to connect external content to it. Course and content creation is super easy within CANVAS itself, you can either use the built in pages pages or connect external course content through AWS or IFrame. There are a few other things worth mentioning. First of all, they have a really great community forum and some pretty amazing training courses that teach you how to make Canvas work for you. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you are a teacher, you can have an instance of Canvas for free to create your own virtual classroom. Pretty amazing!

Cons

If you are importing a Scorm file, you can only import it as an assignment. There is no option to import it as something else. It would be great if you could have the option to have it as a page rather than an assignment.

March 2018

Daniel from Starbucks

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

3 of 5

Customer support

4 of 5

Functionality

2 of 5

March 2018

I've been using canvas for a few years now and the accessibility and operation is pretty standard.

It was really beneficial to me to use this software because our teachers required it and it was a great way to keep all of our classes in one place. Instead of going to different places to find out about your class and other information, it was easy to just log on to canvas and get updates from all of your classes.

Pros

Most of the classes i take at college require us to use this software, and to be honest it really is a great software. The tabs on the side which include the courses and grades make it easy to go through and find what you need. I also like how the program allows the user to change the grade and determine what is needed to get a specific grade in the class.

Cons

Im not that huge of a fan when it comes to trying to get out of a specific group that you are. I have been getting notifications from canvas from a group i was somehow added to a few years ago and i still continue to get updates from that group. Another thing i am not fond of in Canvas is how if i am sent a notification from canvas to my email, i have to go to canvas to see what was sent to me or what update there is in canvas.

December 2018

Morgan from University of Utah

Company Size: 1 employee

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Customer support

2 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

December 2018

Probably better than the alternatives, but could still use work

Overall, canvas offers a lot of options with a decent user interface. It's not amazing, but it's not terrible. It has a lot of functionality for users who aren't trying to do anything fancy like embed a video into their discussion post or message a classmate.

Pros

There are lots of tools available for both students and professors (both of which I have been). Students will appreciate the task list, the module layout, and the "what-if" option for checking how the overall grade would be affected by assignment grades. Teachers will appreciate the many ways to display class performance, the speedgrader, and the ease of leaving rubric feedback.

Cons

Communication is vital, especially in online classes. Canvas sometimes sends notifications and sometimes doesn't, it's very hit or miss as to whether or not professors will be notified that students have left them a note, or students will be notified of new posts to a discussion that they've subscribed to, or that anyone will be able to send a direct message without the painfully simplistic messaging system making it too hard.