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export discussions

export discussions

Please consider a feature that will allow students to export discussions and related threads. This can be a helpful resource at the end of the course. Professors will want the ability to release discussions for export so a release date option would be needed.
Community Member

I post this with the hope that hearing what I hear in the field will give further nuance to why this feature is important.

Related email from faculty today: "With the old Courseworks, I could print the students' posts both individually and as a single discussion, and I found it useful to do both.  It meant that I could alphabetize the individual postings by the students' names (important for evaluating thee students at the end of the semester), as well as save the discussion as a whole.  If there is a way of doing that with Canvas, I could not find it.  Furthermore, the postings print without the students' names on them, making it hard for me to refer during classroom discussion to what a particular student wrote, unless I take the further time-consuming step of writing the names by hand after printing the posts.  I hope this is not what the designers had in mind.  While it is only a moderate nuisance in a small graduate group, it will be a train wreck in an undergraduate seminar of fifteen students, let alone a lecture course of 50 to 75."

New Member

Being able to print out and download discussion threads is absolutely essential to my teaching. In my grad seminars, students are expected to facilitate and participate in discussions. Facilitators (and me, the instructor!) really need to have a manageable print-out to prepare for the discussion meeting and bring those comments into class. Seems like this feature has been waiting for 2+ years; I'm wondering why it's taking so long? Of course I can do fancy work-arounds, but it takes extra time which I don't have. And, as others have noted, if you simply print from the discussion page entire sentences are missing, strange dialogue boxes cover up student comments, and the names of the poster is nearly impossible to read. 

New Member

Hi Nancy, Annamary & Sonia,

Thank you for the posts. I agree wholeheartedly!

I just finished "exporting" (actually using copy & paste into MS Word, then removing the unneeded bits) for 62 discussion questions in a masters-level course with 14 students, which took me more than 10 hours!

Now we (the students and I) have a great resource for the future, but there must be a way to do it differently, not least because they would be better in a searchable database or wiki page versus individual MS Word or pdf files.

It would be great to hear if anyone has ideas or knows of any available tools.

Thanks in advance!

New Member

Thanks for considering this need for development!  

Educators taking our courses for professional development have requested this feature as a way to store and reflect back on the great content that comes from discussions.  

New Member

Hello! I have been teaching a course for 5 years now where I paste the discussion thread to word each week and have to do a significant amount of formatting in order to print it and share it via email with guests who do not have access to Canvas. Figured I'd check again this year if there was any update and it seems like that's a NO. Given all the other significant redesign that you all do each year, can you please please please just get a developer to fix this so we can hit the print button and get a half-decent printout? Pleeeaaassssseeeeeeeeee

New Member

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... 

Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.


This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

New Member

Yes we have several faculty who would also like the ability to print out the content of discussion threads.

Community Champion

I think there could be many reasons that it is useful for a print of a discussion thread -- exemplars come to mind. Another is when a record needs to be placed in a student's permanent record. I don't know that it would be used frequently, but when the need for hard copy arrives, it is generally very important. Copying and pasting, is of course, an option, but I've found there's always a question in the reader's mind whether it is the "true record" and an obvious print from the source seems to carry with it a greater sense of truth.

New Member

totally agree! i create a discussion before a guest speaker comes and i would love an easy way to send this discussion to my speaker.

New Member

this hits my nail on the head

New Member

Bulk export of discussions is a crucial tool for instructors that is currently not available. Seems like a helpful learning tool for students as well. Am hoping that this is being considered as a feature to be added in the near future. 

New Member

This is a great idea and has been requested for years.


Sent from my iPhone

Community Member

4 years and a lot of request but no action. In Blackboard I used the discussion board as a reservation system for my company presentations. I have 4 sections and 120 students and a company can only be done one time per semester. Students enter a company name. Students could see all reservations already done and sort them by company to make sure the one they want is open. There appears to be no easy method other than scrolling through 120 reservations in a reservation discussion thread. I could do this if I could export to Excel. Please consider this long requested request for export of discussions.

New Member

The ability to download/export comments as others have noted is essential to helping instructors of classes that are repeated to capture those discussions that help evolve the class.  This would also be helpful to participants who in my case would like to retain the content found in discussions for their own use post class.

New Member

Please, Canvas, you really should make exporting the discussion board an option for so many reasons! 1. we have student helpers do grading and it has to be anonymous, so we need to have a way of exporting this. 2. we have to submit things like discussion posts as part of promotion packages and how can we easily do this if we can't export? 3. we need to archive discussions and things like that at the end of courses for our records. 

I hate to say it but it makes me miss Blackboard...

Community Member

What I would love is an export of the discussions as a CSV where you can then sort by student name and really dig into the content for data and educational research. As it is we can do this through our own ingenuity, but it would be nice if Canvas did it for EVERYONE not just those with programming skills. Does this violate an agreement you have with third party discussion tools? I can't think of another reason why outside of money and legal contracts with people other than the educational institutions. 

Community Member

I've searched from 2019 back to 2015 and found a number of threads on the subject of "print discussion threads" but there is not a feature yet, or at least I cannot find one.

Is there any work around?

I need the ability to download and save all discussion forum threads for 2 reasons:

1- documentation for any violation

2- use in analyses - I can use MAXQDA to identify various key word trends and issues discussed.

3- use in reporting

4-use in academic research

Anyone find an easy way to print discussion threads or download these threads yet?

Stay well, and thanks!


New Member

Yes please – for instructors too. 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.