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Download discussion board posts

Download discussion board posts

We would like to be able to download all of the discussion board posts from our course this semester for faculty analysis. We would also like students to be able to download and/or view all of their posts to review at the end of the semester in one place. This would create a type of e-portfolio for each student based on their work during the semester.

New Member

It would be beneficial if I could download the Discussion Thread submissions (like I can do with assignments).  At the moment, the only way I can do this is to either cut and paste each submission into a word document or print the discussion thread chain to a pdf.

I'm an instructor. 

Community Member

Hi everyone, for those who followed mak0023 suggestion. My browsers shows me a screen full of characters that I assume is the content of the discussion I want. I recognized some of the text. 

What do I do from there. How do I download it so I can process it? 

I tried saving it as a json file using my browser. 

Then I read the file using fromJSON() in R using this script



fromJSON(file = "../discussions/view.json", flatten = TRUE)```

But all I  get is this error message using this code: 

Error in fromJSON(file = "../discussions/view.json", flatten = TRUE) : argument "txt" is missing, with no default

Any idea what I am missing?


Much appreciated 

New Member

This would be a great idea! We would definitely use this feature when we host conferences and use discussions for vendors and presenters. 

New Member

It's too bad this hasn't taken off since it was posted 4 years ago. So many faculty members could use this feature (downloading discussion post content) for research, evaluation, academic integrity, and accreditation purposes. I really would love to not have to copy/paste these into a word doc for analysis...

New Member

Our faculty have to turn in examples of their assignments for assessment.   This kind of feature is going to be needed more and more as faculty move to online learning due to Covid.   It's disappointing a solution doesn't already exist!

New Member

I guess this is still on the wishlist? 

Can someone from Instructor please provide an update on this feature? It is very useful. Thank you for your time. 

New Member

Agreed. Why is this still just a thought? We would very much like to be able to download a file of discussion posts so that we can load them into TurnItIn for a plagiarism check. Right now, we copy and paste 240 posts a week. It's a serious time suck. 

New Member

Agreed that this issue has been cross-posted and requested for not only several months -- but several years! I found a community post from 2016 (by @mak0023) that mentioned the possibility of downloading discussion posts as a json file (which could even be parsed/databased), by using the following arguments in the discussion post URL:


{schoolname] should be changed to your school's Canvas id (e.g., umd, byu, etc)

{course_id} ==> your course id; and {discussion_id} ==> the random hash number that Canvas assigns to the discussion itself

Entering a URL like this takes me to the proper discussion page.... however, it does NOT start a file download.... I'm thinking maybe:

(1) there is a security issue with downloading directly from this in the 5 years or so since the accessible arguments were shared in our discussion forum;  or

(2) I need another argument to the "view?" call that specifies a file download...

There was also a python script created by @danpuperi to help enable sorting/etc (it's on Github and linked here), but... this requires that the posts are all downloaded into a text file before running, which seems to defeat the purpose...).

Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks so much!

New Member

Those sections are a collection of all the important data which keeps us up to date with the course ongoings. In one of the courses I took, the professor used to create a discussion on each homework, lab, and project where students had posted their doubts, questions, and the professor or the students registered for the course could share their thoughts on those to resolve the doubts and questions. I feel it would be really great if students could able to save the announcement or such discussions which could be accessed offline.

New Member

It seems like this request has been floating around for over 5 years ... is there any way we can get an option to download a discussion forum, as we can with other assignments? This would be very helpful for saving student work, would allow us to run it through turnitin if necessary, assist with research projects,, etc. 

Community Champion

A few browser plug-ins may help - these enable exporting to pdf and of course then with Adobe one can export to Word.  Links, uploaded images, embedded media previews are retained with the first example.

Have fun!

Community Participant

This would be really helpful before bulk deleting courses. We are getting ready to start deleting old courses, I know a few faculty that will want to save their discussions from said courses for research. Having a download option would mean we wouldn't have to come up with a workaround. 

Community Member

Great idea - good workaround for lack of ability to scan for plagiarism in discussions, and good for students too!

New Member

This would be an invaluable feature. Capturing each screen and compiling it in another program is very time-consuming.


Ken Ackerlund

Belllevue College

Interior Design

New Member

I found one partial solution that works. I tried it. See link below and click on the "Discussions" tab. It offers a solution to copy all posts at once from only one weekly thread at a time and paste in a doc. The student has to do it through the "Grades" menu.

If the link doesn't work, these are the brief steps:


With Discussions, they'll simply access their post through Grades to see all posts/responses in a single Discussion thread, then select and save the content to their device:
  1. open a Discussion
  2. Control+A (PC) or Command+A (Mac) to "Select All" content on the screen
  3. you can then save the entire Discussion thread to your computer as a .pdf file, copy+paste into a word processing software, or print for your records.

New Member

I would like this feature too!!

Community Participant

As a student, since I am able to export my submitted files in User Settings, it would also be great to have parity and be allowed to download posts I have made in discussion boards.

New Member

I'll add my support for this feature request – I'd like to be able to capture my own comments so that I can use them to build new lesson content for a subsequent term.