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Discussions Redesign Early Access

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Hello Community! We have many improvements lined up for our Discussions feature in Canvas. We are taking an iterative approach to delivering value to you as soon as possible so you will see improvements released in stages. Please look out for release timing on our Roadmap page. 

Discussions Redesign


Our designers and engineers are working hard to get these first set of features out to you over the next few months.

1st Release 

  • we're freshening up the UI to take better advantage of the space and ensure responsive views
  • we moved the toolbar to the top of the page
  • newest replies will appear on the top of page 1 instead of the bottom of the last page
  • you can toggle the sort order of replies from newest to oldest, oldest to newest
  • you can mark a post as unread/read from the reply kebab menu

2nd Release (these features are currently in Design or Development, some features might move up to 1st Release or down 3rd Release)

  • you can see single and multiple Due Dates in the Discussion Topic
  • you can navigate to Group Discussions
  • the Discussion Topic kebab will be complete (Add/Edit Peer Reviews, Add/Edit Rubrics, Share to Commons)
  • Search functionality will be complete
  • you can see Author, Teacher, and TA pills in the Discussion Topic and Replies
  • you can tag another person in a reply with @mentions 
  • you can include a preview of the reply you are responding to in your reply
  • replies will be limited to 1-level deep

3rd+ Release (these features are in the Discovery phase and may change)

  • Anonymous Posting + Moderation
    • Author
      • Author can create a graded or non-graded Discussion Topic anonymously (avatar and display name are hidden)
      • Author can enable moderation to their Discussion Topic
      • Author can assign/remove moderators (roles or individual names)
      • Author can set moderation settings:
        • All replies must be approved by a moderator
        • Moderators can add/remove other moderators
      • Author can allow anonymous replies to their Discussion Topic
      • if the Discussion Topic is a graded discussion, author can enable anonymous grading:
        • Graders cannot view student names
        • Graders cannot view each other's names
    • Moderator
      • Moderator can approve or reject replies
      • Moderator can undo approved or rejected replies
      • if enabled, moderator can add/remove other moderators
    • Viewer
      • If enabled, viewers of the Discussion Topic can reply anonymously (avatar and display name are hidden)
      • Viewers can report replies (Teachers and Admins will be able to see avatars and display names of reported replies)
  • Q&A style posts
    • you will be able to up/down vote replies
    • Teachers and TA's can mark a post as correct
  • Discussion Index page redesign
  • Checkpoints
    • Teachers can create "checkpoints" per Discussion Topic (ie. Students must read by X date, Students must submit 1st reply by Y date, Students must submit 2nd reply by Z date)


Best, Katrina & Allison

Adventurer II

I am looking forward to multiple due dates. I am able to see the June discussion features in beta. When selecting to open a discussion in SpeedGrader in the current version, it opens in a new tab. When I select the option to open a discussion in SpeedGrader in the new design, it opens in the same tab. Please keep SpeedGrader to open in a new tab. 

Lamplighter II

Can you clarify what will not be available? In my testing it appears rubrics and peer review are not available. Can you confirm it will be that way in production as well? It makes it hard to know if I discovered a bug or just unavailable feature. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I’m excited about the redesign! I love having new posts on top. That will save a lot of scrolling. 

However, I have one frustration with current group discussions: After students post, and they select “Home” it takes them to the group home instead of the course home. This is very confusing for new Canvas users. Will this be addressed in the redesign?

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Newest replies on top, ability to toggle the order of replies, and multiple dates are all particularly exciting!  Looking forward to experiencing more.

Surveyor II

Hi Katrina

Really looking forward to the new design - new messages at top and @mentions will be really useful.

But can we PLEASE have pagination for discussions? We have a course that has over 2,000 participants who are very active in the forums - and it can literally take minutes for the discussions page to open - and this is very frustrating for our users and instructors.

This would be our number one request to fix in discussions - and is a feature of every other discussion engine I have ever seen or used.



This just briefly appeared in our production site, and then it disappeared.  Interesting!

So I turned it on in Beta to do some testing.  Wonderful new features, @mentions, newest on top by default, toolbar at the top (it was sometimes difficult to find it under a complicated discussion description).

I also really like that threaded discussions show up collapsed by default.  And that you view replies by clicking on Replies under that thread. 

It does seem to be missing collapse/expand all - might that return to the toolbar? Sometimes a teacher might want to see all the posts and not just by thread.


Explorer III

A faculty member at my institution brought to my attention that the new functionality was briefly (not sure how long) enabled in our production site on Monday, June 14th.  I contacted Canvas Support and they were surprised that it had been too.  The functionality was removed shortly after and by approximately 4:45 PM EST.

Explorer III

I have a question about the "pills" for a role.  Will the roles be any custom roles or will they be the standard role that a custom role is based on?

Explorer III

For individual discussions, I would like to request modability to (1) edit a post/reply and (2) delete a post/reply.  In my opinion, the default would be to not allow edits or deletes.

Related to the ability to edit or delete a post/reply would be for a faculty member, moderator (as that becomes available), or an administrator (with the appropriate permissions) to see the history of an individual post/reply or any deleted posts/replies.

Community Team
Community Team

@dbrace Here's the conversation that is underway requesting separation of the Edit and Delete permissions for a discussion:  Separate "Edit" and "Delete" discussion permission... 

Explorer III

@Stefanie, is that idea (which is from February 2020) apart of this beta user group (which was only recently created)?

Community Team
Community Team

@dbrace  Many of our existing ideas, including that one, request changes to discussions that either already do or will potentially fit into the current redesign project.

Explorer III

@Stefanie, OK. It seems difficult to know where to comment/post when specifically making a request that is apart of a feature's redesign in its beta hub.

Community Team
Community Team

@dbrace You're doing fine! Feel free to continue to comment here on the specifics of the redesign, and we'll do our best to find the outstanding requests that are already associated with a particular comment.