Anonymous Discussion Forums

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


Instructors can create discussions that allow for posts to be made anonymously


Use Cases:

As an instructor, I want to create discussions in which participation is anonymous. This would free my students to share their thoughts without worrying about judgement / criticism by their peers or me. They'd take risks they might not otherwise.

transferred from the old Community

Originally posted by: Lynn McCarty
Thank you especially for contributions by: Rob Ditto, Allison Pyle, Renee Carney, Robert Jones

Community Champion


Thanks for the response.  I wonder if one variable that caused lack of comments/likes would be that so many new feature requests come out combined with lack of action by Instructure over the years on a particular request that people simply stopped responding and/or liking. 

I understand it is a balance.  I just do not want requests I've voted for/commented on to get lost in transition and have to start all over again.


Hi All,

In the old system we couldn't easily see who had voted on a feature or when the votes came it.  The massive volume of ideas, some going back years with hundreds of comments also made if difficult to see what consensus was around priorities.  Also the fact that we didn't have a way to vet ideas before they went to vote made it hard because people would submit several ideas in one post which made it hard to figure out what specifically people were voting for.  In the new system anyone will be able to see who has voted and whether they voted up or down.  By putting more human resources into community management and keeping the number of ideas up for vote and open for response more finite (ideas don't live on indefinitely) we hope we can be more responsive and encourage a more useful exchange of information about what direction the product should go development wise.   @leward ​ We aren't wed to the 30 votes figure.  We may end up adjusting it up depending on how many ideas make it through voting.  If all or most ideas pass that hurdle the whole process becomes meaningless as the end goal is to learn how the community would prioritize spending what in very real terms are finite development resources.

Community Contributor

Very helpful information,  Thanks,  @scottdennis ​.


No problem, Lynn!

Thank you for your patience and feedback as we work through this huge change.

Community Novice

Some of my users turn to outside tool Piazza because it offers anonymous discussions. Such discussions are an excellent pedagogical tool for allowing students to post their questions in a "safe" space. There is not the stigma of being confused about course material.

Community Contributor

This is something that I have been repeatedly asked about and would like to see in Canvas. So yes, I am voting for this as a future feature please.

I also feel it strange to have to “revote” on ideas from the old forum 

Community Novice

We have lots of instructors who ask for this feature. Our medical school faculty, in particular, wishes that Canvas had this option.

Community Novice

I was hoping that the move from iSites to Canvas would allow me to eliminate our piazza discussion group.  Unfortunately, the lack of anonymous posting means I will have to continue using piazza for the class discussion.  Some student will not post questions if they are identified because they are worried about looking "dumb."

Community Novice

I agree that Piazza's options are perfect:

1. Linked posts (student IDs shown)

2. Anonymous-to-other-students option (students can choose whether to hide from other students, but are always visible to instructors)

3. Anonymous-to-all students (student IDs are hidden from everyone)

I regularly set the discussion to level 2 for large introductory biology courses. Anonymous was VERY regularly used in this demographic.

Community Member

This feature would make the discussions usable for a number of our instructors. In our homegrown LMS, we offer three different levels of attribution:

  • Identified
  • Anonymous to students, identified to instructor
  • Anonymous

Upon creation, the instructor has the option to allow students to customize the attribution based on these options. The students then opt to show or hide their identity, based on the discussion settings.

This feature is a very high priority for the UC Irvine community.