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Anonymous Discussion Forums

Anonymous Discussion Forums


Instructors can create discussions that allow for posts to be made anonymously


Use Cases:

As an instructor, I want to create discussions in which participation is anonymous. This would free my students to share their thoughts without worrying about judgement / criticism by their peers or me. They'd take risks they might not otherwise.

transferred from the old Community

Originally posted by: Lynn McCarty
Thank you especially for contributions by: Rob Ditto, Allison Pyle, Renee Carney, Robert Jones

Community Member

This is, in my view, an essential feature for a VLE. In my experience (teaching with Blackboard, Moodle and now Canvas), students are simply not as likely to ask the questions they need to if they have no option to be anonymous. Please review! 

Community Member

Would someone from Instructure please be able to comment on the status of this request? I understand that Harmonize is available, but we would rather not have to use another integration for something that should be a basic feature of a discussion forum.

Community Member

Also here looking for an update.  I would love this feature, particularly with the "anonymous to other students, identified to instructor" option suggested by several others. 

Community Member

Please please please add an anonymous option to Discussions. This is extremely important for some of the very sensitive subjects we'll all be working with in Fall 2020. I mean, it has always been important, but now it's crucial.

Community Member

This has over 700 votes now. Why is this not being actioned? We are losing this feature moving from Blackboard and our academic colleagues are asking for this in their droves. Allowing anonymous discussions often encourages those who may not engage if they are named, particularly when discussing sensitive topics.

Please add this feature soon. 

Community Member

An essential feature for honest feedback or discussion threads where students might feel they have a "dumb question."


Community Member

I just wanted to add one more voice saying that there is continued interest to allow students to have the option to post anonymously to some Discussion threads.

Community Member

I support this idea. There are no workarounds in Canvas. The only options are to use Forms, either Office or Google. You could also use a third party service like Piazza og Padlet, preferably integrated in Canvas.

Ketil Monsen - VID

Community Participant

Yes it a great idea, students sometimes don't want to ask a question as they may seem dumb to other students so anonymous would help

Community Member

With posts requesting an anonymous posting feature dating back to 2015 (and there is reference to an older forum), I would really like to hear from the Canvas team why this feature is still not available.

Anonymous posting is a standard feature on many discussion forums, including clunky Blackboard. This is not a controversial issue; those who don't want it can simply not use it. I waste a ridiculous amount of time anonymising questions that students have emailed me and posting them to the board myself. The silence from Canvas on this issue is really making me angry. This is not a free service; our institutions pay a great deal for the platform.

Why are we still not given the ability to allow anonymous posts on the forums?

Community Participant

Is there a way to vote on this in this new setup? I don't see that option.

Anonymous posts would be very useful for instructors to allow a way for students to post questions they are uncomfortable asking if identified.

Community Member

I am a lecturer at a UK University. Previous experience has shown that students are far more likely to participate in discussion if there is an option to post messages anonymously on discussion boards. This is simply part and parcel of being a student, worried that people will think worse of them if they make mistakes publicly. The main rival VLE, 'Blackboard', permits this. It is therefore really quite astonishing that there is not an option to permit anonymous posting in Canvas.

The increased reliance on computer technology in teaching, owing to the present pandemic, makes this problem more acute than ever. We need the technology to be sufficiently flexible to work with the processes and the people who will be using it - the students, meaning the students as they actually are, acting like ordinary human beings with ordinary talents and fears, and not like idealised users who are to fit the technology. The technology ought to fit the people who use it.

I therefore urge you to add this option with the utmost urgency.

With sincere regards,

Derek Whayman

Newcastle Law School

Newcastle University

Community Member

It's sad to see that this feature has been requested for five years and has still not been implemented. If anonymous grading is possible, why aren't anonymous discussions. Just to be clear, I want the students' names to be visible to the teacher, but not to the other students.

Community Member

For years, I have had the ability to allow anonymous student posting in Piazza (anonymous to other students, identified to instructors). This simple feature is the key reason why I and other instructors prefer Piazza over Canvas Discussions do not like or use the Discussions forum in Canvas.

Despite this feature being asked for five years ago, it still has not been implemented. From a software development standpoint, this would be extremely easy to implement. Why has it not been implemented yet? When can we expect this to be rolled into the next release?

Community Participant

This needs to be implemented NOW! Whoever heard of an LMS that did not provide the students with the option of providing anonymous feedback and comments? 

Community Member

Since this  particular feature was originally posted back in 2015, I am wondering if any progress has been made in getting this implemented.

There is a clear use case for peer reviews using the Discussion platform.

Does anyone know what the current status is? I have only been using Canvas for the past 4 months.

Thank you.

Jane Pickens

College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL


Community Member

I would just like to add that I am strongly in favour of anonymous posting in Canvas. 

I study at one of the top universities in Europe and I've tried to push for piazza in my course. However, Piazza is not GDPR compliant. Thus, our professors don't want to open classes on their platform leaving us to the sub-par Canvas discussion pages. 

Canvas. You are losing customers and growth potential on this. It should not be difficult to mimic what Piazza is doing.

Community Member

How can we be FIVE YEARS into this discussion, and still no solution??

Community Participant

Good question! The answer is: Instructure does not care about the students. It is all about the bottom line.

Canvas is a disaster for our university. There are so many complaints about bad or missing features, you wouldn't believe it. Nothing ever happens to correct the situation.


Community Member

Such an obvious feature that competitors like Blackboard have had for a decade!