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Anonymous Discussion Forums

Anonymous Discussion Forums

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


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

New Member

Come on Canvas listen to the community! enabling the choice for anonymous posting to Discussions is vital, at least anonymous to the rest of the students so that they can feel free to make mistakes!

New Member

I am creating a Canvas class for both onboarding and on-going support for students with disabilities starting at our college. It is critical (and the law) that we maintain the confidentiality of the students enrolled in our disability support services. Students enrolled in our support class need a way to participate in the class, and interact student-to-student, without revealing their identity if they wish to remain private about having a disability. 

Please help us provide equitable support and access to our disabled students who also have the right to keep the fact that they are enrolled in Disability Services confidential.


Hi everyone, please stay tuned as we are actively exploring Anonymous posting as well as Moderation for our Discussions feature. Thanks so much for your patience and feedback!

Best, Katrina

New Member

Glad to hear anonymous posting is being "actively explored".  I too would find this helpful so students can give feedback to the professor on the course (interim evaluation) and ideas for improvement.  I have done it using anonymous submission directly to me, but then student can't see each other's ideas.

Community Participant

We have several instructors at JWCC who have asked about anonymous discussions. Especially in the Psychology classes.

New Member

I strongly support this feature as an option on any discussion forum. In many cases, this is the only reason we have to choose external tools such as Piazza or others, which allow anonymous posts. Students don't ask questions for help with course topics unless they are anonymous. 

Community Member

I support adding the option to set up discussion that enables students to post anonymously. In addition to the rationales posted so far within the past months (students only asking questions if anonymous), I have a statistics class where students create a survey in Qualtrics. Currently, they post their links to their surveys via the discussion board, effectively eliminating the anonymity of which survey belongs to which student (the data are still anonymous; however, the creator is not).

Having the option to make this one discussion board anonymous would add that extra layer of security and privacy for students.


New Member

We'd really like to have the option to anonymise discussion boards, for similar reasons to many who have already commented 

New Member

Please implement this feature.  Almost none of my students use the Canvas discussion boards because they are too shy to post non-anonymously. 

New Member

I'm surprised that this was started in 2015 and we still can't have anonymous posts. So much better for question forums and means students less likely to feel the need to email you personally because they're embarrassed about their question (which is usually actually relevant to others). 

New Member

Any update on getting this feature? It's been 3 months. Not that we are anxious about going hybrid (ok maybe we are), but this would help.

It would be nice if it was anonymous for the class but not the teacher could tell who was posting.

Community Contributor

@Katrina-Hess To give additional context, the year 2020 has brought up so many topics that require deep dives and expressions - such as racial injustice; COVID policies, effect on economy, healthcare; environmental issues; diversity and inclusion; etc. We have interest similar to @vnieders from faculty in Psychology, Environmental Science, Health and Human Performance to name just a few.

The ability to have anonymous discussions or even the ability to allow students assign a pen name or pseudonym when participating in discussion (which was another request from an English faculty member) would be wonderful and if there is another opportunity to vote up this request - I'm sure you were receive several "up" votes from our institution alone.



Hi everyone! Thanks so much for your patience. We've completed our Discovery phase and are now in the Design phase for Anonymous Posting and Moderation. I'll be posting a blog about the Discussion updates in May. In the meantime, please let us know if there are any use cases missing below. Alternatively, if there are use cases on this list that are low priority let us know that as well. We can't promise we'll have all of these ready by launch but we will do our best to deliver a robust v1 offering. 🙂 


  • 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 can approve or reject replies
  • Moderator can undo approved or rejected replies
  • If enabled, moderator can add/remove other moderators


  • 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)

After Anonymous Posting and Moderation, we will tackle Q&A style discussions which includes features like voting and the ability for Teachers and TAs to mark an answer correct.

Best, Katrina

Community Participant

Thanks, I am so happy to see that Anonymous Posting and Moderation is moving forward!

Community Member

I use Canvas for faculty professional development courses. Many are hesitant to discuss issues or problems they have when teaching. Allowing them to post anonymously would allow us to have richer, more meaningful discussions.


Hi everyone, please join the Discussions/Announcements Redesign User Group if you haven't already. We will be validating designs for Anonymity + Moderation in the next few days. 

Thank you for your patience and perseverance in requesting this feature! We wholeheartedly agree that it's vital to our Discussions tool.

Best, Katrina

New Member

I am an instructor and building Canvas facilitator at a US high school.  Teachers here trying to engage students in tough conversations using Canvas Discussions are asking for a way to hide discussion contributor names from other students. 

Ideally contributor names would still be visible to the course instructor, for accountability, but if students could know that their names would not be seen by other students, we could get much more honest and open participation.



New Member

Hi Canvas @scottdennis - any updates on this? Anonymous student contributions are surely Discussion Board 101, this is an important option for all students, particularly when discussing sensitive topics. This was requested since pre-2015, you said in early 2020 you were "actively exploring" it... any plans to introduce this feature or do we need to look for an alternative platform for this part of our courses?


Community Team
Community Team

Hi @ktraynor,

Yes, the discussions team as been working away on updating the tool this year.  The first step was basically rebuilding the code from the ground up so that there was not changes for users but that underlying code was modern - it being more than ten years since its inception that it had become basically untouchable.  The best way to keep apprised of what progress they have made since then would be to follow the Discussions/Announcements Redesign Group.



New Member

A few of my students have reported that they do not want to contribute to the discussions because they are not anonymous. Whatever their reasons are, I think it would be a good idea for a student or member of staff to be able to anonymise the contributions. 

Thank you,