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Canvas Release: Discussions/Announcements Redesign

Canvas Release: Discussions/Announcements Redesign

This document (last updated 2024-05-17) provides a summary of the Discussions/Announcements Redesign feature, which was originally introduced in the Canvas Release Notes (2021-06-19). For specific release updates within this document, please see the releases change log.

Discussion and announcement topics display an updated design with small usability enhancements. These changes ensure page responsiveness and prepare the interface for feature functionality improvements.


Community Resources

Feature Releases

This document outlines up-to-date functionality for this feature. This document will continue to receive additional updates as indicated in the feature's release change log. Releases are subject to change.

Customer Feedback

Community feedback for the Discussions/Announcements Redesign project is welcome in the Discussions/Announcements Redesign User Group Forum.

Feature Documentation

New documentation for this feature is available in the Canvas Guides:

Comments are welcome for functionality clarification. Lessons will also be updated with all future enhancements as indicated in the change log.

Feature/Integration Setup

Feature Preview

The Discussions/Announcements Redesign project involves the Discussions/Announcements Redesign feature preview, which can be allowed on a course-by-course basis or turned on for all courses across the entire account. By default, this feature preview is set to Off. Canvas admins can manage this feature preview in Account Settings.

By default, this feature preview is set to Off and Unlocked, which means it is visible at the course level but is not turned on. Institutions who prefer that this preview not display at the course level should lock the feature preview at the account level in Account Settings.

Active Development

This feature enhances the Canvas experience within Discussions. When this preview is enabled in a course, early access to ongoing improvements will be displayed automatically with every release. Customers who choose to enable this feature in the production environment should subscribe to this document and the Discussions/Announcements Redesign User Group to stay current with upcoming features and their release dates.

This feature preview will be enforced for all users in production on July 20th, 2024. At that time the default discussion and announcement experience will be that of the redesign and users will no longer be able to use the legacy experience. 


Permissions for Discussions are outlined in the Canvas Account Role Permissions resource document and the Canvas Course Role Permissions resource document.

For users to be able to mention other users in discussion replies, the permission Conversations - send messages to individual course members needs to be enabled.

The Discussions/Announcements Redesign project currently uses the same permissions as classic Discussions and Announcements. Any changes to permissions and this project will be updated in this document.

Mobile Support

This feature is available in the Canvas Mobile apps.

Release Schedule

This feature is currently available in the beta and production environments as a feature preview.

On July 20th, 2024 this feature will be enabled for all users on production and will become the default experience for all users. We will follow our standard release process with this change being enforced on beta one month prior on June 17th, 2024. 

Additional details will be announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes or the Release Notes when available.

Course-Level Features

Interface Modifications

For individual discussion and announcement topics, the interface has been expanded for maximum space and ensure responsive views.

The following modifications have been made to individual topics:

  • The toolbar has been moved to the top of the discussion and announcement thread.
  • Newest replies display at the top of the first page instead of the bottom of the last page.
  • Users can sort replies from newest to oldest, or oldest to newest.
  • Users can also quickly move to the top of the discussion or announcement at any time. 

Classic Discussions vs New DiscussionsClassic Discussions vs New Discussions


Feature Parity

The following functionality has been included for parity with classic Discussions: 

  • Users must post before seeing replies
  • Reply posts can be marked as read or unread
  • Discussion time stamp edit display
  • Multiple Due Dates (addition: individual student names are displayed instead of the total number of students)
  • Available From and Until Dates
  • Previous/Next buttons for Modules
  • Group Discussions
  • Peer Review
  • Add to student to-do list


The following functionality has been included for parity with classic Announcements: 

  • Users must post before seeing replies
  • Reply posts can be marked as read or unread
  • Announcement time stamp edit display
  • Announcement delay post alert (teachers/instructors)

Additional parity features will be added in future releases.

Additional Functionality

Role Labels

Discussion and announcement threads display a label for users with TA roles and Teacher (Instructor) roles. This feature helps students more quickly identify users with instructor-based roles in the course.

Threads also include a label indicating the discussion or announcement author.

Author and Teacher LabelsAuthor and Teacher Labels


Flexible Viewing Options

When a reply includes additional replies, the number of replies is displayed, as well as the number of unread replies (specific to the user viewing the reply). Users can choose to view these replies inline or in a split view.



Inline View


Split View



Users can mention other users in discussion replies by using the @ symbol. All available users in the course display in the drop-down menu.

Note: For users to be able to mention other users in discussion replies, the permission Conversations - send messages to individual course members needs to be enabled.

Mentions in DIscussionsMentions in DIscussions

If they are mentioned, users with the Discussions - New Mention notification enabled will receive notifications.


Users can quote other replies as part of their discussion reply. 

Quotes in discussion repliesQuotes in discussion replies


Reply Reporting

Within individual discussions, replies can be reported by students and teachers. Reply replies can be enabled or disabled in the Discussions Settings menu.

Discussion SettingsDiscussion Settings

When enabled, all users can report replies by clicking the Settings menu for the reply and clicking the Report link. 

Report ButtonReport Button

When a reply is reported by a user, the user must indicate why the reply is being reported (inappropriate, offensive and/or abusive, or Other). Reporting a reply cannot be undone.

Report Reply WindowReport Reply Window

Once a user reports a reply, the Settings menu option displays to that user as Reported. That user cannot report the reply again, but other users can still report the reply. 

Discussion Menu with Reported ButtonDiscussion Menu with Reported Button


Reported Reply Notifications (Teachers)


To be notified of reported replies, teachers can adjust the Discussions Reported Reply notification when accessing course-level notifications from inside a course. If you select a course and then go to View Course Notifications on the Home page, the option will be there. Email notifications include a direct link to the reply that has been reported. 

Reporting a reply does not hide the reply; all replies are still visible to all users. However, teachers can choose to edit or delete the reported reply.

Note: Once a reply is reported, it always displays as Reported and cannot be cleared by teachers.

Course Notifications: Reported Reply OptionCourse Notifications: Reported Reply Option



Anonymous Discussions

Discussions allow teachers to create anonymous discussions. This option displays when creating a new discussion for a course. By default this option is set to off.

When anonymity is turned on for a discussion, grading and groups are not supported.

Anonymous Discussion OptionAnonymous Discussion Option


When the Discussion Settings menu option is selected for students to create discussions, the option is also included to allow students to create anonymous discussions. This option is not selected by default.

Teacher Discussions Settings page and Anonymous DiscussionsTeacher Discussions Settings page and Anonymous Discussions


When an anonymous discussion exists in the course, the Discussions page indicates anonymous discussions before a student opens the discussion.

Anonymous Discussion in the Discussions Index PageAnonymous Discussion in the Discussions Index Page


Users with a teacher, TA, or designer role in the course will never be anonymous. However, student names and profile pictures are hidden from other course members, including teachers. Admins who are not explicitly enrolled as a teacher, TA, or designer and create a reply also display as anonymous. Additionally, users who view a course without having a course enrollment (such as when participating in a public course) also display as anonymous.

Anonymous Discussion ThreadAnonymous Discussion Thread



Anonymous discussion posts include the standard settings options, including reporting replies.

When an observer views a fully anonymous discussion, the text now displays This is an anonymous Discussion. Student names and profile pictures are hidden. When an observer views a partially anonymous discussion, the text now displays Students have the option to reply anonymously. Some names and profile pictures may be hidden.

Observer View Fully Anonymous DiscussionObserver View Fully Anonymous Discussion


Observer View Partially Anonymous DiscussionObserver View Partially Anonymous Discussion


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