How do I use the Discussions Index Page?

The Discussion Index page allows you to view all the discussions within a course. As an instructor, you can add discussions and modify discussion settings.

Learn more about Discussions.

Open Discussions

Open Discussions

In Course Navigation, click the Discussions link.

View Discussions Index Page

The Discussions Index page is designed with global settings at the top of the page [1], followed by the Discussion groups [2]. Individual discussions are nested within each Discussion group [3].

View Discussions Global Settings

View Discussions Global Settings

Global settings include a drop-down menu to filter all or unread discussions [1] and a search field for searching discussions by title or discussion author. [2]. You can also add a new discussion [3] and edit discussion settings [4].

View Discussion Groups

Discussion groups can be expanded and collapsed by clicking the arrow next to the name.

Discussions are organized into three main areas:

1. Discussions. These are current discussions within the course. Discussions can remain open indefinitely, or you can specify a date range (as designated by the available from/until date). Discussions with replies are ordered by most recent activity. Discussions with no replies are ordered by creation date. Students will only see this section heading if there are discussions within this section.  

2. Pinned Discussions. These are discussions that you want your students to see at the top of their page. Pinned discussions can be arranged in any order. Students will only see this section heading if there are discussions within this section.    

3. Closed for Comments. These discussions have been manually closed for comments, or the discussion is past the available from/until date. These are discussions that are only available in a read-only state. Closed for comments discussions are also ordered by most recent activity. Students will always see this section heading, even if there are no discussions within this section.

View Individual Discussion

Each discussion displays whether or not it is a graded discussion [1], the name of the discussion [2], the date on which the last discussion reply was posted [3], the number of unread/total posts in the discussion [4], the discussion state (published or unpublished) [5], and whether or not you are subscribed to the discussion [6]. You can also view availability dates for graded and ungraded discussions [7].

The unread icon next to a discussion indicates an unread discussion [8]. You can also view which sections are assigned to a discussion [9]. The number of unread/total posts is not included for group discussions and discussions that have no discussion replies [10]. The peer review icon [11] also displays if a graded discussion has been assigned peer reviews.

You can also set varied due dates for a discussion and create due dates according to course section. Discussions with varied due dates show the latest due date.


  • Due dates are not required for discussions.
  • Graded discussions with discussion replies cannot be unpublished. This is indicated by the publish icon being lighter in color.

View Availability Dates

Discussions can also include availability dates. Availability dates can make a discussion available for only a specific period of time.

Manage Individual Discussion

To manage an individual discussion, click the Options icon [1].

From the options drop-down menu you can close the discussion for comments [2], pin or unpin the discussion [3], open SpeedGrader [4],  duplicate the discussion [5], send the discussion to another instructor [6], copy the discussion to another course [7], add the discussion to a MasteryPath [8], or delete the discussion [9].

Note: The Mastery Paths option is only available if the MasteryPaths feature option is enabled for your course.

View Discussion

To view discussion details and replies, click the name of the discussion.

View MasteryPaths

If you use MasteryPaths in your course, you can tell which items are set up in Modules as MasteryPaths or conditional content items.

View Blueprint Course

If your course includes Blueprint icons, your course is associated with a blueprint course. Blueprint courses are courses managed as a template and may contain locked objects managed by a Canvas admin, course designer, or other instructor.

The Course Details tab in Course Settings will tell you if your course is a blueprint course. Most commonly, your course will not be a blueprint course and you can only manage unlocked content in your course. If your course is a blueprint course, you can lock and sync course content to associated courses.

View Student View

To view the discussions index page as a student, click the View as Student button.

Note: If the course navigation link for the page is disabled and hidden from students, the View as Student button does not display.