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Community Contributor

iOS Assignment/Discussion Quirk

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Recently, one of our students, using the most current version of the Canvas iOS app, composed a discussion thread by:

1. Going to the assignment

2. Clicking the discussion

When she did that, it was posted as a homework submission rather than a discussion entry. Consequently, her classmates missed out on her insightful post because it was submitted as an assignment instead of a discussion thread. (We discovered this later when one of her classmates asked her where her discussion post was.) However, if she were to follow the same steps on a desktop browser, it would work as expected - she clicks on the assignment and her thread would be posted as a discussion entry and not as a homework assignment. I've made a video, logged in as a test student into a test course that shows this:

When I reported this to Canvas support, I was basically told that this is working the we way it should work. (I've included their last response at the end of this message). I respectfully disagree with this unnecessary inconsistency between the desktop and mobile platforms.While I showed her how to avoid this in the future (also depicted in the video), I think this is a design flaw in how the app is constructed and a failure to properly understand how students work in the LMS.

What do others think?


Response from Canvas support

Thanks for the follow-up, i do apologize for the confusion but the issue here i believe is understanding the functionality of the app itself. In the mobile app, if you access the discussion from the Discussions tab as shown in the screenshot, you will get the view of the discussion itself which is why the only option available is the reply to discussion arrow allowing you to post to the discussion board. It is different however when accessing the discussion from the assignments tab. The assignments tab is different in functionality as it gives you 3 tabs within an the assignment. The Detail tab gives the assignment details and instructions for the assignment. The Submissions tab is where you can submit an assignment, or comment on your assignment submission, and in the case of discussions, link to the discussion page so you can post your comment is in place of the submit assignment option. The Grade tab is also there to display the grade for that assignment.

When viewing the Submission view of a discussion from the Assignments tab, you are not viewing the discussion itself, you are viewing your submission to that discussion. If you have not submitted anything to the discussion the submission area will be blank, but there is a link that will take you to the discussion board so that you can submit a post to it. That is the intended functionality of the Assignments view. The add a comment option is not the same as posting to a discussion board, it is adding a comment to your discussion submission just for the teacher, as you are in the Submission view of the assignment. The same "Add Comment" button is there for all other assignments as well to be able to add comments for the instructor on assignment submissions. If you need to post to a discussion board, you will need to visit the actual discussion board to do so, that is why instead of showing "Turn In" from the submission tab, it says "Show Discussion", to direct students to where they can actually post to the discussion.

I do understand the confusion and i apologize for any misunderstandings, but this is the intended functionality of the app, to post to a discussion they need to visit the actual discussion board. To view a discussion submission or to make a comment on a discussion post, they can view the Submission tab From the Assignment view.

Please let us know if you need any additional assistance or have any additional questions, we are happy to help!

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Community Contributor

I have submitted a feature request: If it comes open for voting, I'll let you all know.

View solution in original post

6 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach


Thanks for positing the video. It was easy to follow the issue. I agree that it's working as intended, but the workflow is ripe for confusion. I know that a major overhaul in the assignments portion of Canvas on iOS is sorely needed (and supposedly on the roadmap). I hope they can address this confusion moving forward.

What does everyone else think?


Since Canvas has said this is working as intended but you believe the user experience could be better, the best thing to do is head over to Canvas Feature Ideas​ space and add a new feature idea describing how you would improve the user experience and what the rationale is. Check out How to write a good feature idea submission​ for more info.

Community Contributor

I have submitted a feature request: If it comes open for voting, I'll let you all know.

View solution in original post

Keep us in the loop if it comes up for vote. Your detective work is top notch. Smiley Happy

Community Participant

Hey @David Numme this is really helpful! Our college is offering 10 iPad courses this fall and this issue will most likely have popped up! I can now give faculty a "heads up" on specific instructions to give to students, pointing out this quirk to students. The functionality as described makes sense, but having the "Show Discussion" link centered or more pronounced in some way would be enough of an indication there is a difference to the submission. I guess what I mean is, yes, this is an "Assignment" link and students will need to post a "Discussion" post but maybe a little more help for students would be more student-centered. A notification statement under the links saying "This is a graded discussion post. To make a reply to the discussion, click the "Show Discussion" link" or something along those lines. I realize in the app, space is an issue but this might be the magic pill of relief for many faculty's potential headaches.

I agree that this workflow should be fixed. The only downside to the Canvas Ideas, is this just "makes sense", but it has to go through a voting period. 😕