[Discussions] Allow teachers to subscribe to a group discussion

Our faculty would like to be able to subscribe to the group discussions in their course so they can follow along, be alerted when a student posts something new, post feedback, and keep discussions on track.


(This was originally submitted by Brandon Pousley, but did not receive enough votes to move forward.  I was hoping this time it would get more votes.)

Community Member

The option should be available to those that will find it useful.  I know I would find it very useful and would reduce the number of CLICKS that I would have to do if I have several discussion groups.  If someone does not want to subscribe they wouldn't have to.

Community Champion

In the Canvas document about how to subscribe to a discussion, it states "You can also subscribe to discussions posted within student groups."  https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10293-4152126075 

Does this Canvas guide document need updating?  I had hoped that if a teacher replied to a post in a group discussion that they would be automatically subscribed but it appears not.  The subscribe choice on the group discussion index page is not available since the teacher is not a group member.

A simple solution: let teachers be group members too.  And a member of more than one group in a group set.

Community Novice

At our school we have multiple teachers on some of the courses, with different groups assigned to each teacher. It would be great if, by subscribing to the group, the teacher could choose to "show the group in Groups tab" enabling the teacher to easily access all his/her groups across different courses from the Groups tab.

Community Member

We have TAs whose job is to respond in Discussions and we use groups for Discussions. Right now our TAs can't subscribe to all the Discussions they are responsible for and that limits both the indications they have about activity in the Discussions and ways they have of tracking which posts they have responded to.

Being able to put our TAs in > 1 group in a course would be very helpful.

Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.


This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

Community Novice

Nice possible idea.

The option for teachers to be group members also affects other group functions, such as announcements. Presently all get announcements for all groups (depending on their settings). If groups are spaces for students to work independently, then these announcements are not needed (whereas course announcements are) and would not be received if teachers were not members. If groups are spaces for moderated or guided learning, then assigning the relevant teachers rather than all teachers to all groups makes sense. The ability for non-member staff of a certain level to enter any group space is still required, but as members they would be able to interact as members such as to subscribe to discussions and receive announcements.

Community Novice

What to "listen" for is quite contextualised, but includes

  • moderating for appropriate tone
  • ensuring students are on track and not following a red herring comment,
  • identifying when a direct request for assistance / clarification is made (students assume staff see group discussions just like course discussions)
  • identifying when student support is needed and ensuring that student-to-student support happens when something needing a response is raised and/or staff intervention is required (I am in a higher ed context where students may raise having confronting learning experiences in situ outside the classroom),
  • identifying when a critical mass of discussion has occurred / or when there is a stall for teacher contribution to add value (following research re the effect of when teachers interact and in a teachers as mentors rather than experts model)

Subscriptions would depend on context. Not only graded discussions. Maybe one or more threads are tagged as moderated (followed) and other threads are student-only, or maybe all threads are relevant such as when discussion is a learning task set to groups.

Maybe subscribing to all activity, such as in my mentoring model of teaching where students are sharing documents for learning too.

Community Novice

In group discussions it is already possible to subscribe and receive notifications.

¿Does this vote refer to receiving Discussion Notifications from Groups Homepages?


José de los Santos

Community Contributor

You can only subscribe to a group discussion when you are a student. Our teachers had a course with 300 students. They split the students in groups of 10. Different teachers where then responsible for 1-6 of these groups each. To see if anything new was going on in discussions in their groups, they had to click into the discussion and then look at their groups to see if they had any unread comments. It would be better if they were alerted when someone wrote something in those group discussions.

Community Participant

I am currently monitoring a discussion in which some conflict has arisen within one of the groups. I have intervened, but would like to be able to see when the parties involved make further posts, either in response to one another or myself. At this point, there's no way to do that without logging in and searching the discussion?!?