Copy a Discussion

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


  Idea will be open for vote Wed. July 1, 2015 - Wed. October 7, 2015  Learn more about voting...


A good instructional design practice is to have a predictable module structure for students to follow throughout a course. Assignments and quizzes often have consistent options and text (ie: honor code statements) throughout a course.


Currently copying requires creating a new assignment or quiz, and copying content for each item. By adding a “copy” option to the options gear, the effort to build a course will be greatly reduced. If this triggered a dialogue to state how many copies to make, it would be very simple to quickly build out a course structure.


Please help to flesh out this idea by discussing your particular use case in the comments.



Comments from Instructure

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Community Team
Community Team

This feature idea is now open for voting.

Community Novice


I would like to have the students duplicate in an easy way (i.e. without having to deal with HTML) a forum post template that disposes their comments in a predefined way.

we have 4 working languages, so my template would basically be a table/boxes with 4 little icons to indicate which language goes where.

students would then be able to fill the boxes or to leave them empty (padding frames would show then only the parts of the template that are needed).

is there a way to do something like that?

can one have a predefined default content showing up when opening the rich-text-editor? or is it possible to add a button there to insert that previously saved template?

here is an example (the not displaying pictures would be the icons - I suppose I must otherwise enable the "view course files" link for the students to be able to copy-paste them?):

insert LSF videoinsert ASL video

FRObjectif :


Community Participant

Yes! Consistency is so important, and a copy feature would help a lot. I currently create a new assignment, copy the html, then edit the settings to match. Being able to simply create a copy of a discussion or assignment would be so much easier.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Creating the ability to copy objects in Canvas via the interface would be way cool. It's also one of those system-wide feature requests akin to the Publish/Unpublish feature, which would likely be very large in scope to implement. This is not something we'll be able to address in the next six months to a year. However, because this improvement would have such a huge impact on the productivity of our users, it is something I'd like to dig into with our engineers.

Before I do, I wonder if I could get some estimates from the ninja designers on this thread. Would anyone(s) be willing to do an experiment the next time they build a course and calculate how many minutes/hours they would save if they could copy discussions and assignments instead of manually duplicating them?

Who's up for the challenge? Smiley Happy

Thanks everyone, again, for bringing this up. This is one of those killer ideas that I predict will likely return each voting cycle.

Community Novice

Yes PLEASE add a Copy feature to the edit gear for all content items. Would make designing in course consistency so much more efficient.

Community Participant

Hi Allison, I can estimate this for you. This semester, I created a new "study questions" assignment, and I needed to repeat it for every module (all 12 of them) with the same settings and the same template. Importing multiple copies from the commons didn't work, so I created a new assignment in each module, then copy-pasted the html (to keep the formatting) and changed the settings I needed to for each. If I do all 12 at once, it takes 1:40 seconds to do each one, since I have the html in my clipboard. So, best case scenario, total 20 minutes for just 12 copied assignment templates. But, if I add a "study questions" set later, and need to go get the html from the assignment I want to copy, it's 2:13 to complete that task. In addition to the cost of time, it just feels really frustrating and annoying--though it may actually be hard for Canvas to implement, it's something that subjectively feels like it should just be there already, since the copy-and-paste function for text is such a standard feature.

In some cases, even better than copying an assignment would be the ability to make a master template, like for "study questions," that I can copy 12 times and fill in for each module, but if I edit/update the master, it automatically updates the standardized parts of all 12 children too.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @amy_hasinoff ​, thank you for conducting the time tracking experiment! As I stated before, this is something we would love to support but I think you hit on something important: for most of our users, managing the content inside a page or discussion description is more critical than managing the Canvas objects themselves. And I can report that that functionality is being actively researched.

For now (sniff, sniff), I think we'll need to archive this feature request. Rest assured that this request and all of the duplicate requests are on our "someday" list.

Community Novice

Thanks for the update Deactivated user​! I think we all understand the complexity of these issues is no easy task.

Just don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good Smiley Happy

Community Novice

I don't understand the point of soliciting feedback from customers if the main result of the ideas that are the most important to me is that the ideas are good but need to be archived because Canvas doesn't have the development staff.

Community Team
Community Team
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