[Discussions] Download discussion board posts

We would like to be able to download all of the discussion board posts from our course this semester for faculty analysis. We would also like students to be able to download and/or view all of their posts to review at the end of the semester in one place. This would create a type of e-portfolio for each student based on their work during the semester.


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Community Champion

 @vrichter It may interest you to know that as long as teachers have access to the canvas course, we can still see all the posts in the discussion forum. Students will sometimes be locked out of the entire course intentionally, but teachers who have access to the course can still read through the discussion.  I have found that some of my oldest courses disappear from the list I can access, but I believe it is possible for admins to restore those. 


Also, it is possible to copy discussion prompts to a new course.  Go to course settings, and in the right-side menu select "import course content."  On the next screen select "copy a canvas course" from the drop down menu.  Next select the specific course, and if you are not interested in copying every single piece of the course, just select "select specific content."  After you click import, a course import will be listed, but automatically paused with a button labeled "select content."  Click that button and a list of everything in the course will be provided so that you can check the boxes to identify what to copy.  With the discussion you want to copy selected, you can start the import.  Only the initial prompt will be copied.  All student posts will stay in the original course. 


Regardless, there are various times when student submissions need to be documented outside of canvas, and the ability to quickly export student posts would be very beneficial.  Especially if it was in the form of a student-by-student bulk download the way assignments may be downloaded.

Community Contributor

Thanks.  I mean that legally we sometimes have to produce files of student work (when a student or parent --we're a high school) demands it.  I need an exportable file.  I searched through all threads on this and it goes back 5 years.  Others have created scripts.  Just wondering why it's not implemented.  

Community Participant

That page at Dartmouth is down now, and I am no longer able to get the script to work.  I would like to be able to use this kind of data for, among other things, researching question response patterns. 

Community Member

I need to download these for Accrediting purposes.  We are in the process of assessing how faculty assess assignments and some faculty assess their MCO/SLO through discussion posts only.  This could be very powerful in finding this data.  It is also a great way to see where we can be more equitable when creating assignments and grading. 

Community Novice

I’m circling back into this conversation.

There have been numerous faculty requests to download the student responses in discussion forums.

Has this issue been resolved?

Thank you.

Carol Patrie

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Community Member

It has not been resolved because I just asked last night, 6/27/2020, and they said we need to keep voting for it to be looked at.

Brandon Fryman (Iroquois/Blackfoot), MA

Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology Instructor

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Adviser for Model United Nations

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Shoreline Community College


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Community Explorer

The list of good reasons for this feature is long, as everyone has kindly pointed out (too kindly at this point, in my view). Yet Canvas techs offer neither comments nor action, as Brandon points out. Instructors have been begging for the same feature in another forum since 2015 (offering an additional 238 votes) and in that forum, Michelle Miller states, "there was a similar request in the old voting system…" All 3 forums received the same deafening silence from Canvas employees. I’m forced to assume that the Instructure company doesn’t hire instructors as advisors who can explain the value of requested features from a teaching perspective.

We instructors promote tolerance and an appreciation for diverse opinions in our discussion forums. However, I also promote directness. And given Canvas’s unwillingness to respond to years of begging by dedicated instructors and concerned students – from elementary schools to universities and business organizations – I’ll be direct. Canvas’s failure demonstrates incompetence, and they are providing an inferior product. Any thinking person who understands the teaching profession knows this feature doesn’t need to reach a vote threshold for approval. 

Give us the damn feature, and do a good job of it.

Community Novice

Hello everyone, I agree that this would be a necessary and wonderful feature!  If someone has access to the Canvas decision-makers, please tell them!  Thank you Smiley Happy

Community Novice

I specifically want to be able to download discussion posts, organized by student, individually or in bulk. This would allow me to organize work by student or even to grade discussion participation when I am offline.

Community Participant

We (at the University of Oklahoma) would also appreciate this functionality. We have had numerous requests from instructors over the years to implement something that would allow them to bulk download discussion posts like they can for other assignment types, and the fact that there has been no traction on this is disappointing at best.