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Allow instructor to block/moderate student from discussion board

Allow instructor to block/moderate student from discussion board


I have an instructor who says a student is repeatedly posting inappropriate content in a Discussion Board, even after the instructor has given guidance as to appropriate posting.  Currently, the only way to control this is for the instructor to go in and delete the offending messages, but by that time, the rest of the students may have seen it.

There should be a way for an instructor to set the discussion so that it must be moderated (posts don't appear to the students until the Teacher/TA has approved them) or that a particular student can be blocked from the discussion. 

Community Member

Hi Daniel,

 I just read your post, and I agree that option 3 is also needed. This was an option in the previous learning management system at my college, and it was the one I used when I needed to moderate discussions. Thanks.

Noella Dcruz

Community Participant

This would be a huge benefit, and I hope it's something Canvas can implement soon. Just have all posts go to some kind of a holding tank and instructors can mark them approved or unapproved would be better than nothing...

New Member

Moderation is also useful if you want students to see each other's work but want to check that work before they all see it. I had a system where students would post exercises to discussion forums. I would check to make sure they were ok and then release them for other students to comment on. Students were required to contribute a certain number of constructive comments throughout the semester. It's akin to Canvas's peer review function but more flexible.

New Member

I also find it hilarious that these comments are being moderated.


New Member

How is this not a thing yet? This is way too much freedom for middle schoolers.

Community Member

In terms of tools for moderating discussions I think you're hitting on some of the right tools in the tookit, but they need to be things that can be managed both at an admin and instructor level. In other words, in some institutions you might not even want to provide the ability to word filter. Then there's a separate question of how many warnings, what the specific consequences are when the cap is reached, and of course the ability to review decisions that were made either by the instructor or by the system in after action in-case a decision was made in error or for the wrong reasons.

So basically, yes, if we're talking about a much heftier suite of forum moderation tools, the ability to blacklist words, set automatic warnings and rules, and then moderate those decisions after the fact are all essential tools that are prevalent in online communities.

Community Participant

Excellent point. Deleting the post after it has been seen (and someone has a screenshot) will not save Canvas from getting sued. If we know that a student is likely to post something inappropriate and do nothing to stop it, we are likely to be held liable. Since we can't stop it, the only option is to not use discussions. All because one student acts inappropriately and Canvas hasn't come up with a solution yet.

New Member

I am a Product Manager for Harmonize, an online discussion platform, and one of our next features in our Roadmap is moderating student post.  I would love to get feedback from anyone above about how they would see this implemented and outline some use cases. If you are interested in helping us, please send me an email

Thank you,

Tricia Baker

New Member

I don't see any argument for NOT adding some kind of moderation feature. Instructors would be free to use it or not. My problem is I would like to encourage peer-to-peer consultation and collaboration on assignments (numerical analysis and coding problems), but not to allow students to give the whole problem away by posting a solution. I can prevent that if I can moderate the discussion posts. I agree moderation options would be good - but just a chance to review the post before it went online would be enough to start with. As it is I will have to see if the students can be responsible - otherwise it will not be usable.

Community Member


 @James ‌

...and other people in this discussion outside of the K-12 realm:

I appreciate your perspective on this topic, but I think I need to provide another piece of the context puzzle, illustrating why the moderation choice feature is a desperately needed feature in the K-12 public school world.

For students with mental illness or behavioral disabilities, this option would be an invaluable accommodation tool for the teacher to utilize. If a student is on an IEP or 504 plan for behavioral and/or psychological issues, teachers actually may be forbidden to block or excuse them from participating in a discussion that the rest of the class is having. Preventing them from having the opportunity to participate in an online discussion could be construed as a violation of their rights to equal education under the law.

As a case in point, we had an elementary student who submitted something inappropriate more than once to discussions that the rest of the class saw before the teacher got to it. Needless to say, there were repercussions for the teacher as well as for the student. However, the school was not permitted to exclude the student from the next discussion as a consequence, as they were on a 504 plan for behavioral problems and the parent objected. The courts are clearly on Kirk's side in the Spock-Kirk debate re: the needs of the many versus the needs of the few (or the one) arguing about it with an objecting parent is pointless.

Therefore, a teacher in this type of situation is faced with the options of:

(1) taking the risk that the student will do it again despite an after-the-fact intervention by teachers, administrators, and parents (and they do often repeat the behavior; they're on a special behavioral plan for good reason), thus disturbing/upsetting other students and parents before the teacher has a chance to intervene, then having to deal with the behavior after the fact with the student, as well as the subsequent fallout from other students, parents and administration;

(2) sitting with the Discussion open and refreshing the page constantly the entire time it's available, hoping to catch the problem before someone else sees it; or

(3) dropping the use of Discussions as too much of a risk.

Which option would you choose? And what a shame, because Discussions is an AMAZING instructional tool.

That is why we are BEGGING to have the option to moderate discussion posts, as teachers could confidently utilize the tool with the class and still be able to intervene, reteach, and give a student another opportunity to post correctly and assure they are receiving their "free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible."

Canvas does such a good job with providing accommodations for our students with disabilities. A moderation option for Discussions would be a game-changer for teachers and their students with behavioral/psychological disabilities.

Community Participant

There is a 4th option... Have a "discussion" where all of the conversations are sent to the teacher via Canvas messages and then posted by the teacher. 

Yes, as Deborah Bogard points out, this is only a workaround, not a solution. It's only slightly easier than #2 staying awake 24/7 while the discussion is open 🙂

Community Member

Thanks for trying to help. But this would be a workaround, not an option, and as a workaround it would just be too cumbersome and limited. Instructure just needs to make the Moderation option happen. The fact that it hasn't is another case where K-12 needs get put on a back burner because we just don't have the numbers or as loud of a voice as Higher Ed.

New Member

This would be such a helpful feature to have. Working in a school wellbeing team, we would really like to have this option in order to avoid students posting discussion points as a way of reaching out for help. We have chosen not to use the discussion board tool in order to avoid oversharing and risking the possibility of students posting concerning and detrimental messages which effect their peers. 


New Member

Having moderation as an option does not create work for a teacher unless they opt for it. In an elementary setting students are still learning to use appropriate language and some students struggle with behavior. Parents are also more likely to react to inappropriate comments. Justly so, I believe, and as we are placed in an en loco parentis status we need to up hold high standards. The ability to review comments allows the opportunity to help students learn self-control without causing them embarrasment, while protecting the greater learning community from potential harassment, and exporsure to questionable content. Further, in the current virtual learning enviroment, school remedies are harder to enforce. It would be ashame for the genneral classroom population to lose out on the opprotunities that discussion supplies because a teacher is not able to moderate responses and one or two students continually abuse the discussion and the teacher is forced to end it.

New Member

I would love to have the option to turn on moderation so that comments must be approved before being published. I don't need it in every discussion, so that's why I would like the option to exist.

New Member

We just had a demo of the Canvas LMS and this question came up within 2 seconds of seeing the Discussion tool. We will be using the LMS in grades k-12. Moderating discussions is necessary, Discussions will not be used in many instances where it would be an effective learning tool without this capability. With all due respect I'll say: if you don't know why we need this, you don't teach middle school. 🙂

New Member

I am writing this from lock-down and we are using discussion posts to keep connected to student who live far from school. Students are posting photos and videos so the risks of accidental or deliberate harm are high enough to require moderation.

This previous proposal as an optional add on. would work.

  1. All unmoderated
  2. All moderated
  3. Instructor selects individuals whose posts are moderated, all others unmoderated
  4. Instructor selects individuals who are blocked from posting

In a school setting the absence of a moderation feature makes open discussion forums a high risk of inappropriate content or behaviour. My request would be bump it up in priority, it is a must.

New Member

As a teacher, I would also appreciate being able to moderate, remove, and flag posts made by students. 

New Member

Yes, please consider the option for the teacher to approve posts beforehand! I have students who push the envelope on their posts and I would like to be able to discuss with students proactively, when needed. I may try to use FlipGrid instead since it has this feature included. Thank you for considering!

New Member

I agree that there should be a filter, to review discussion posts BEFORE they are posted. Thank you for your comment!