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Canvas Release: Discussions/Announcements Redesign

Canvas Release: Discussions/Announcements Redesign

This document provides a summary of New Discussions, which was originally introduced in the Canvas Release Notes (2021-06-19). Please see the change log for details about document updates.

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.

Change Log


Community Resources

Future Enhancements

This document outlines existing functionality included in the initial release of this feature. This feature will continue to receive additional enhancements over future releases as indicated in the change log at the end of this document.

Customer Feedback

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

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.

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.


Permissions for Discussions are outlined in the Account Permissions PDF and the Course Permissions PDF.

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 not yet available in the Canvas Mobile apps. Please see the Product Roadmap for upcoming updates when available.

Release Schedule

This feature will be available in both the beta environment as of 2021-06-07.

Production availability will be as of 2021-06-19.

Additional enhancements will continue to be made to this feature as announced in the change log.

An enforcement date of this feature will be based on planned feature development and user feedback. Additional details will be announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes 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 and is persistent with page scrolling.
  • 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
  • Reply attachments
  • Discussion time stamp edit display
  • Multiple Due Dates
  • Group Discussions
  • Peer Review
  • Share to Commons functionality
  • Modules Next/Previous buttons


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
  • Reply attachments
  • Announcement time stamp edit display


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





Change Log



Updated feature details effective in the beta environment as of 2021-07-28:

  • Added classic Discussions parity functionality as outlined in Classic Discussions Parity section
  • Added role labels for TA roles, Teacher/Instructor roles, and discussion authors.

Added documentation referencing changes in Announcements.


Clarified feature preview behavior


Updated feature details with link to user group, beta environment availability

2021-05-17 Published Feature Overview 


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