Make Discussions navigation tools always available

Idea created by Alexander McCormick on May 3, 2018
    Open for Voting
    • John Boekenoogen
    • Laura Gilbert
    • Rob Ditto
    • Andrea G Schmidt
    • Kenny Hirschmann
    • Alexander McCormick
    • Tim Maw

    The Discussions feature is widely used but the navigation tools are very limited and not well placed. One consequence is that students frequently "Reply" to the last entry in a topic when what they really intend is to start a new thread, but that requires them to scroll back to the top & click "Reply" in the topic pane (see image below). (Others have suggested differentiating the two kinds of reply, also a good idea.) There have also been excellent suggestions for visually signalling the nesting of replies which is curiously absent (yet ironically, implemented in this very forum).


    Here's my simple suggestion: The navigation tools should always be available (i.e. visible), rather than embedded in the the top part of the topic view. Specifically, I recommend moving the navigation tools from the top pane of the Discussion view to a location that is always visible, so users don't have to scroll all the way to the top to initiate a new thread in the topic by clicking the correct "Reply" button, expand/collapse, view unread, etc. This could be a "sticky" navigation bar somewhere in the window, a floating palette, or something similar.


    Topic pane example (appears at the top of the Discussion)


    Canvas discussion top pane