Enforced Roll-Out of Discussion Redesign

Community Participant

Greetings all,

Normally I am not one to complain about changes that Canvas makes to its platform.  This Discussion Redesign breaks that norm for me in multiple ways.  With the legacy discussions, I could

  • Very easily collapse and expand discussion threads and methodically move my way through a lengthy discussion.  With the redesigned version I cannot be sure of what I'm looking at.  The font size of replies in the thread is also smaller than the regular size font-- why?  
  • I could tell what was read and what was unread quite easily.  In the redesign, all I get it seems is the number of unread messages at the top, and then after each top level reply, I see the number of replies-- read or not.  I am going over threads that I have already gone over without knowing what I have already read previously.  
  • I didn't need a split screen.  The split screen's purpose in the redesign completely eludes me.  First of all, when I choose split screen, nothing happens.  I have to choose a reply to invoke the split screen.  And then the top of the right pane shows the word "Thread."  What does that mean?  Does it mean I have to close the split screen and move on to another top level reply to view a thread again?  Does it mean that what I was looking in the "normal" (inline?) view at was not a discussion thread?
  • Everything was crystal clear.  In this redesign, the command "View Inline" is total jargon.  Inline what?  As opposed to "online?"  Nonsensical comparison I know, but what does this mean?  Then when I am in split screen and want to leave this view, the command "View Inline" doesn't appear until I scroll to the top in the left pane.  Why?  
  • The only positive I see is that the Reply button is now BIG and GREEN.  Can't miss that.  

And all this will be enforced on July 20th, the middle of the summer, when faculty are off (at schools with traditional fall-spring semesters like the one where I work).  

I do not mean to get snarky, but am serious about these issues in one respect:  As an educational technologist I have to explain this new interface to instructors, many of whom I assure you will be in no mood to face change, especially when the old method worked just fine.  I am concerned that this will spark, among some instructors, a rebellion against Canvas and a push to switch platforms.  

Bottom line:  the new redesign is confusing, the reason for having a split screen is elusive; it is difficult to explain, and the normally robust and clear Canvas documentation and support is lacking.  

My recommendation:  Do NOT deprecrate legacy discussions.  And consider a redo of split screen that makes logical sense, if you split it at all.  

Glen Gummess, Ed.D.
Educational Technologist
University of St. Francis


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