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Discussion Notification: Activity that involves you

Discussion Notification: Activity that involves you

Similar to how Facebook notifies you when someone replies to your specific post, I would like this feature in Canvas.

In nearly all of my classes, we are required to make postings and answer student replies. However, there is not a notification feature that indicates when a student has commented on your specific post. We only receive general notifications that a student in your class has commented or posted something. On Facebook, this is called: "Activity that involves you" : You'll always get notifications about activity that involves you, like when someone tags you in a photo or comments on your post.

Essentially, I want to know when someone has replied to my specific post so I can address them back.

Currently, the notification options for Discussions are far to general (attached below)
Community Member

Has this been implemented in Canvas yet?  In addition to Blackboard, I also know that Moodle will only notify you if someone responds to just your post, not everyone else's posts. 

I can't wait until this is implemented.  It would make my life so much more efficient.

Community Member

I completely agree with all of these comments. I (and my students) currently have the choice of being overwhelmed with every comment from every discussion, or we don't get discussions notifications at all. It's really important to know if someone has responded specifically to my question or comment in order to maintain an authentic asynchronous conversation. I hope this notification feature is added soon. It is possible on so many other social media platforms, it doesn't seem like it would be a difficult thing to add.  

Community Member

When receiving notifications in email of canvas content, would be nice if it when you click on the view button it takes you directly to the person posting instead of to the beginning of the postings necessitating a LONG scroll till you find that person you need to reply to.

Community Member

As a student, in "Notifications Preferences", there are only two options to turn on notifications for. The "Discussion Posts" option turns on notifications for all new posts in a discussion. But, I want to be notified only if someone replies to my post, a post that pertains to me. 

May you consider enabling this feature, please?

Community Member

YES, PLEASE! Once my students have made their obligatory "post plus two responses" they ALMOST NEVER go back to see if anyone has responded back to them. It is maddening.

I've switched to doing a lot of my discussions in Perusall, where there is a pretty slick "notification of activity that pertains to ME" system.

Given the skyrocketing need for effective online learning experiences, Canvas would do well to update and improve the discussion feature sooner rather than later ...

Community Participant

I assumed that students were notified when someone replied directly to their post and only found out by talking to students that they are not unless they are subscribed, which would mean over 200 emails for posts to one discussion (which I get but don't want to subject my students to). PLEASE make this "notification when someone replies directly to your post" a feature! I want students to see when I reply to their posts, too. 

Community Member

@canvas on top of this idea, which is fantastic, I would like for the notifications to take me directly to the post I am being notified about. As it stands right now, when I swipe on a notification that someone has posted to a discussion board, it just takes me to the top of that discussion board. I would like that notification to take me directly to the post itself.

Community Member

I'm a student, and I need to have more control over discussion board notifications. Sometimes I want to subscribe to updates for an entire discussion, but far more often, I only want notifications when someone replies to my comments/my reply to someone else's comment. Currently you can only toggle notifications on/off for an entire discussion board - i.e. you get notifications for all comments on that discussion. In larger classes where participation in a discussion board is mandatory, this does me no good; I want to be notified if someone is engaging with my particular comment or my reply to their comment.

The only way I've found to do this right now is to manually check the discussion board and ctrl+f to search for my name, which shows above all of my comments.  This is clunky and time consuming, and not getting notified right away means that I often miss people's responses and don't get a chance to dialogue with them, since they also will miss my reply since they're in the same 'no notification' boat as I am. I've started DMing people when I find out the replied to my comment, but it's still incredibly ineffective.

This issue could be easily solved by simply adding an option to get notifications to ONLY your comments on a discussion board.

Community Member

that is good!


Community Member

+1 for requesting this feature. This is maddening- how are students expected to engage in a discussion if they have to manually *search* for replies to their posts and comments? I find it ironic that there is a checkbox to "Email me when someone replies" right here in this forum, and that I can tag other members as well. Why not on our course discussion boards?

Community Member

YES PLEASE. In all honesty, I generally do not care to read through all of the discussion board posts for my courses. I really only care about replies to my own post, or replies to my replies on other's posts. The ability to set notifications to my posts only would be huge. Blackboard used to have it. I was shocked that Canvas doesn't. It's also ironic that the discussion boards here have that ability, as I see the small box below that says "Email me when someone replies". 

Community Member

Another plead to make this a feature. Notification settings akin to Facebook or Instagram where there is an option to see specifically if people replied or liked YOUR post.

Community Member

Time to move from "Open to Conversation" to "In Development."

Introduced in 8-2018 with only comments pleading for it to be instituted suggests it is a feature one's time has come. 

Community Participant

I posted a comment in favor of this before and want to emphasize how important this is for students, especially those in large classes. They need to know when I or another student has responded to their question or post. For some Q&A discussions, I tell them to subscribe, but for some discussions, I don't want them to subscribe because they'd get over 200 emails about posts rather than just an alert when someone comments on their own post and wants to start a conversation about the topic. 

PLEASE make this a feature for spring 2021!!!

Community Participant

Agreed, lending support by both commenting and starring. 

Community Participant


I guess I'd like to add my voice to the chorus here. We just switched to Canvas from Blackboard, and while Blackboard was generally terrible, and Canvas is generally much better, the Discussions in Canvas really are awful. Bulletin Boards in the pre-web internet circa 1990 had far more functionality. 

Discussions are the main way I teach. I have students post, then I post back with a question, and they post with an answer, and I follow up, and so on... sometimes this goes through many iterations. Not having automatic notification and not having a collapsible / threaded discussion tool... it turned my teaching experience - and the learning experience of my students -- into a nightmare. 

I'd like to point out that Discussion GRADING was far more full-featured in Blackboard as well. I used to get a notice in my "grading to do" list that would let me know a student had posted a new message in a graded Discussion, and the grade in the gradebook would revert to "needs to be graded / new submission" status. 

Please. Discussion boards are the heart of any truly interactive class experience online. This tool needs a major improvement -- not to some imaginary science fiction technology, just to basic bulletin board features that are 30 years old. 


Community Member


I have a suggestion regarding the ease of cohesive discussion communication. Please, allow notifications for 'replies' within the discussion boards. For example, at the end of the day, I get 'notifications' via e-mail from anyone who has posted to the discussion board... which could be hundreds of posts, and what I am most interested in reading, are the specific responses or replies to my posts. I am not easily able to discern when someone is communicating directly with me, without constantly checking back and reading through the various discussion boards that I have contributed to. This could be easily resolved by allow notifications to immediately be sent out when so and so replies to my post. It would say something like, 'So and so has replied to your post...' and would either show the communication thread, or offer a link that navigates to that exact reply. Thanks for your consideration!


Community Member


I’ve noticed that it’s hard to keep track of which responses in the discussion boards are replies to my post or others’.

Though I know it’s possible to receive responses from classmates through emails notification; however, I do not know whether the  responses are replies to my post or others’ posts. Thus, I have to manually keep track of which discussion boards that I’m currently active in order to not miss any replies to my post from other people.  

Through email notification, it would be great to have identification of who the respondent is responding to, whether to the forum initiator or to a person (and which person that respondent is replying to).

Another feature that could be added is to have a choice to have discussion notification through phones’ banner/ badges, just like messaging notification in social media. With many Canvas emails to go through, sometimes I missed out on the specific email about discussion replies. Also, a banner/badges feature can provide an easier active participation opportunity since people can start to develop their ideas when there are replies to a forum. Though there will be technical difficulties such as login authorization to view the messages, I think Canvas’ technical team has the ability to solve this issue. The convenience of social media messaging can be taken into consideration for the features in Canvas.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. 

Community Member

I see that I can turn on notifications for when a discussion is posted or when someone creates a post on a discussion, but it would be really helpful if I could enable notifications for when someone replies to one of my posts. This is a key feature for promoting longer conversations, or a conversation, in a discussion thread.

Community Member

Yes, I'd love to see this. All of my instructors require students to reply to comments on their posts, but the only way to capture these points is to log on at 11:59 pm and comment on all my replies. I know there's a lot of great suggestions but I hope to see the developer implement this update soon!