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Download discussion board posts

Download discussion board posts

(30)
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.

74 Comments
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Julia:

This is a great idea, and a similar idea was posted last year, and is now archived. It included many great comments related to use cases that you may want to review, including some responses by Instructure technical staff. You may want to add this link from that idea to your idea: @

I will recommend that this idea be moved forward for voting, but we will wait and see what the Communit managers have to say.

Agent K

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

Julia, thank you for the feature idea.  I see the difference between your idea and the idea that Kelley provided, even though they are closely related (and could potentially be resolved with the same solution?).  Your idea will move forward for voting in the May cohort!

curtain
Community Participant

It is common for the accreditation teams for academic accreditation of programs to ask for full copies of things like this.  Being able to get them out of the system and into portable files is valuable for this and other purposes.

kmatson
Community Participant

Yes we have several faculty that would like to be able to download discussion board posts as well. I can also appreciate what Scott said about accrediting bodies wanting or needing this information as well. I am hopeful that Canvas can come up with an easy way for us to download the content within the discussion board.

Karen Matson

University of Oregon

sgriffith
Community Contributor

This would be great! I just finished downloading a whole bunch of assignments and discussion boards for our accreditation team. Right now I have to copy and paste the discussion boards into a Word document, then save as a PDF. It works, but is time consuming.

DrNufer
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I have an example that is completely not what most people are thinking of on this thread, but I'll share it.  At my education system I periodically conduct an eLearning Attitudes survey, where I ask all students about their use of technology, preferences, and expectations regarding online learning and ed tech.  Last year I used the data to identify trends and talking points, which helped me to create discussion topics for focus groups.  I tried a new thing (for me/us), which consisted of running asynchronous focus groups in Canvas.  (I plan on writing a blog post to discuss our tactics, challenges, and successes).

Anyway, transcribing the focus groups was much easier in this asynchronous setting, as it was just copy/paste.  But, it would have been great if we could have downloaded all of the discussions.  We ran several focus groups and each had a series of discussions.  I'm all about simplifying processes and decreasing likelihood of error.

I know that Canvas is very rarely/never used the way I am describing, but in this case the proposed idea/feature would have been incredibly valuable to us.  And who knows, maybe I'll publish my blog post write up of our process and more people will consider running asynchronous focus groups within Canvas.  :smileygrin:

Anyway, you have my upvote.

curtain
Community Participant

It is not uncommon at our institution for the instructor and/or students to want to download a discussion for just thank kind of analysis... to identify themes or topics for further discussion.

dhulsey
Community Champion

Being able to download discussion posts would also be helpful to check for plagiarism. It would be great to bulk download posts from a topic in a zip file as we can do for assignments. That way, faculty could then upload to a plagiarism checker such as the Quick Submit at Turtnitin. Perhaps this would also provide a satisfactory response to this feature request:

curt_pavia
Community Participant

I agree with this. Many faculty I know make discussion post requirements more demanding (requiring citations, etc.) and it would be a great way for students to easily keep copies of their writing.

cward
Instructure
Instructure

You can currently get this data through Canvas Data. I know it's a bit of a workaround, but unfortunately due to the team's commitments we don't have bandwidth to implement a more elegant solution for this use case at this time.

Chris

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
liuyingh
Community Member

Hi Chris

Do you mind share with me how to download the discussion through Canvas Data?  Should this be through our Institution's Canvas Administrator?

Thank  you!

cward
Instructure
Instructure

Yes, your Canvas Administrator can help with this!

mak0023
Community Member

Hey guys! I figured out how to download an entire discussion thread. It took some reverse engineering, but this is what you have to do:

Create a URL similar to this:

https://schoolname.instructure.com/api/v1/courses/{course_id}/discussion_topics/{discussion_id}/view?include_new_entries=1&include_enrollment_state=1

This will download the entire discussion thread as a JSON file. JSON is a structured file format that can be easily used for analysis or anything else. I don't know what other options one can include with the view?{options} part. Would be nice to dig around or hear from Instructure about that.

I've been doing a research project with student personality types, grades, attitudes and feed it through a neural network so its essential to get structured data.

nancy_lachance
Community Contributor

Thanks @Markus Kreitzer -- I was able to make this work, clean it up (a lot), convert it to a csv, and then clean it up (a lot). Since I have a board with over 900 posts, it was actually time-saving at the end of the day. Thank you!

sbrierton
Community Member

That's great.  Our Admin needs to get on this.  He's a pretty good guy, but way busy.  @ptart 

danpuperi
Community Member

Thank you  @mak0023 !

This is something that I just "needed", so I wrote my own Python script to take the JSON file than you can get from the Canvas API and save it into individual HTML files which are the same format as if students submitted a text-entry assignment in Canvas.

I put the script on github - it uses Python on the command line so not for everybody, but I put it on github in hopes that it will be useful to somebody.

GitHub - dsp444/save_canvas_discussion: Tool to convert JSON formatted discussion posts on Canvas LM... 

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @danpuperi  I'd like to wish you a somewhat belated Welcome to the Canvas Community, and thank you for sharing that script! I'm concerned that it might not be readily discoverable here in the comments section under an idea. Would you be willing to write a quick discussion post in the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/canvas-developers?sr=search&searchId=a9127263-b194-4ca3-bc26-...‌ group and share it to the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/admins?sr=search&searchId=54aa9c3b-a35d-4082-9d1d-da01d840f1a...‌ groups so people with the requisite skills will see it and be able to implement it? If you're not yet a member of these groups, you can easily join by clicking on the link to each group and selecting Join Group from the Actions dropdown that appears at the upper right of the group home page.

kinardk
Community Member

I would like to be able to click a button and have all comments posted under a discussion board post (thread) collected into a pdf file and be downloadable. I am responsible for Title III work at my school in the field of statistics. I have created discussion board posts to help students explore career pathways in the field of statistics, by meta major grouping areas as well as in general. I am responsible for creating a report at the end of each year for our school's Title III coordinator, and this would be a wonderful way to offer documentation of our work. I thought of this because when our school used Blackboard for our LMS, it had a "collect" feature that did just that. Thank you for considering this idea.

mwe_sci
Community Member

     I've been copying and pasting Canvas discussions to MS Word files for years. However, the resulting formatting is a mess, requiring a time-consuming cleanup routine. And the nice indentation we see in Canvas is lost when pasted into Word, making it unclear who is replying to whom.
     Exporting a well-formatted discussion (as an RTF file) would enable convenient offline composition for students and instructors. We could download the same discussion over time to document student involvement and progress. I personally like an entire discussion to search as ideas come to mind while I'm working offline on multiple draft entries.
     Many other good reasons have already been given in response to Julia's suggestion. In addition, the "export discussions" idea created by Cynthia Kerns back in May, 2015 has 146 up votes with 66 comment contributions. And according to Michelle Miller, "there was a similar request in the old voting system…" So this idea has been requested for years by many instructors for good reason, with probably more than 400 up votes. I think there's no end to the value of a well-designed discussion exporting tool to both students and instructors.