Canvas needs a discussion board where within it students can start their own topics

Idea created by Bridget James on Jul 3, 2016
    Open for Voting
    I teach Earth Sciences and have large class sizes.  Threaded discussions currently in Canvas will not work for what I do for my students participation requirement.  The reason is each "Discussion" in canvas only allows for one question/topic to be posed, and I am the only one posing it.  It doesn't allow for my students to start multiple topics each week as well that then could be easily replied to by anyone in the class.  I read somewhere that students can be given the option to start discussions, but this is not the same as a true discussion board/forum where topics can be chosen by the students, allowing them to truly guide what they are interested in within the Earth Sciences, with me as a moderator and participant.


    The image below is from one of my courses last Spring at San Francisco State University.  I usually run one discussion board per module/topic and each board runs for a week.


    File Jul 04, 9 45 39 AM.jpeg



    Below is the image of the discussion board that becomes visible by clicking on the link "Forum 1 (20 points)" in the image above. You can now see some of the topics my introductory geology students chose to talk about all week that week.  My students started these topics on their own (which they cannot do in Canvas), and when you click on each of those topic links below, you will then see the "threaded discussion" on that topic that my students are guiding and participating in - again, completely on their own (with moderated guidance and participation from me at times).


    File Jul 04, 9 53 15 AM.jpeg


    There are so many learning benefits for my students (and me also!) from running participation in this way.  I do realize that not all subjects taught would benefit from this format, which may not make this a popular "fix" for some, but Earth Sciences is one of those that do need this approach, and being that this is such a tremendous learning platform that my students have told me time and time again for almost a decade that they enjoy and learn from, I would hate to go backwards in how my students learn simply because my college moved our LMS to Canvas.  This doesn't need to be something everyone is forced to use.  I only ask that it be made an option, so that those who really benefit from this format have the option to use it.


    This technically is a request to add a feature.  However, truly, I see this as a feature that is sorely missing and will be a gaping hole in your LMS until it is added.  It may not be that "gaping hole" for some, but I cannot be the only one who sees the real benefit of what I do here for my students in their learning of the earth sciences.  Please fix this so that my community college students can still truly enjoy an open learning environment where they can still communicate asynchronously in a very valuable, open and thoughtful way.  Please do not force my big class sections to be stuck to either one topic per week to discuss, or a discussion thread that is so terribly messy that their enjoyment goes away and their learning goes out the window due to lack of wanting to deal with a chaotic discussion mess.