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kontrse
Surveyor

Close a discussion for student viewing?

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I need to close a discussion board for viewing for my students but Canvas will not allow me to "unpublish it" since there are student replies. I have some inappropriate content that was posted that I need to deal with but do not want students to have the ability to view the board while I do. I also can't delete the offending post right away as part of the offense is the post.  Any suggestions?

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kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @kontrse , something that should work (but may look funny to the students and I wouldn't normally recommend) is to change the discussion settings so that the "Available from" date (basically the open date for the discussion) is sometime in the future (if you had a due and/or available until date you'll need to remove it, my recommendation is to just leave it blank for now). This will lock all the students out of the Discussion and prevent them from seeing anything until the available date is reached or you reopen it to them. When they click on or try to access the discussion they will get a "this discussion is locked" message; see screenshot below.

LockedDiscussion.png

I tried this with one of my discussions that students had already posted to and students were not able to access the full discussion. Yet, if the students go in through course grades, they can see what they posted to the discussion, but they can't change anything and they can only see what they posted.

Hope this helps!

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9 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @kontrse , something that should work (but may look funny to the students and I wouldn't normally recommend) is to change the discussion settings so that the "Available from" date (basically the open date for the discussion) is sometime in the future (if you had a due and/or available until date you'll need to remove it, my recommendation is to just leave it blank for now). This will lock all the students out of the Discussion and prevent them from seeing anything until the available date is reached or you reopen it to them. When they click on or try to access the discussion they will get a "this discussion is locked" message; see screenshot below.

LockedDiscussion.png

I tried this with one of my discussions that students had already posted to and students were not able to access the full discussion. Yet, if the students go in through course grades, they can see what they posted to the discussion, but they can't change anything and they can only see what they posted.

Hope this helps!

View solution in original post

I was able to do this and the discussion is now locked; I cannot view from the "Student View" screen so I assume they cannot see either. Thanks so much.

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @kontrse ​...

Are you using Modules for your students to access all course content?  My thought is that you would completely hide the "Discussions" button from your course (How do I reorder and hide Course Navigation links?), and then you would add those Discussion topics to each of your Modules that you wanted your students to still see.  You would not add the Discussion topic in question to any of your Modules...thereby keeping it hidden from students, but you would still be able to access all of the posting because you're the instructor.  Would this meet your needs?

 @chofer ​,

I'm not sure this will keep students out as much as deter students.

In my testing (old UI), if you have the Discussions navigation link disabled but leave any of the discussions available in a module, when the student clicks on an available discussion, the breadcrumb contains "Discussions", which will link back to the same page that the Discussions navigation link goes to.

Hiding the navigation link doesn't prevent access to the discussion list, it just makes it harder to get to.

To keep them off that main discussion page, you would need to remove all discussions from all available modules. As  @kontrse ​ wrote in her original post, you can't unpublish them once students have submitted, so you would have to delete the Discussion entry from the module. Then you would need to go back and re-add them later if you want to copy the course to another semester. Even deleting them from the modules won't keep out the student who realizes from another class that the link to discussions is simply /discussions and puts that at the end of the course URL.

 @kona ​ suggestion, while a pain to implement, especially if you have a lot of discussions, does prevent access to the discussion itself. If you had a lot of discussions, you could use the Google spreadsheet I wrote to modify all the assignment dates from a single page (I really need to write that up in its own article rather than having it buried in the middle of a feature request).

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @James ​...

You know, I didn't even think about the breadcrumbs links, so I'm glad you brought that up.  I just tried what you suggested about the breadcrumbs.  Wow.  To me, if a menu item is hidden, it should truly be hidden (inaccessible via other means).  On the other hand, I can see benefits, too.  Thanks for helping me understand this more.  Much appreciated!  Smiley Happy

Chris: I agree if something is hidden, it should really be hidden! There are certain things I just want to hide from students but keep resident in my course for future use or for reference. 

 @chofer ​ and  @kontrse ​,

People incorrectly equate not enabling a navigation link with hiding something.

They did the same thing with pages and complained so much about it that I think Canvas might have made some adjustments to the way those work, but in general, that's the wrong way to look at it because they're not the same thing.

When I taught an online course last summer, I had a page on navigating the course. The following was a part of that page:

Why So Many Ways to Get Assignments?

You can get a list of assignments from several different screens. Each of them is slightly different than the others and some students like to organize in different ways. A compelling argument could be made for reducing the number of links on the side menu, but I'll leave them all there and allow you to decide how you want to get your information.

  • The Coming Up to-do list on the right side is probably where most students get their information about assignments. However, it only shows things that are coming up for the next week and assignments that take longer than a week to work on will suffer if students only look here.
  • The Calendar shows what's coming up for all assignments for all courses, including the reminders about upcoming assignments, but you have to click on each assignment to get the particulars like when it becomes available, how many points it's worth, etc. Also, you can only see one week or month at a time, so major projects that are due next month may go unnoticed. The Calendar link also takes you out of your course, although you can click on an event and be given a link that will take you to the associated course.
  • The Grades link on the left navigation menu is probably the most useful as it provides feedback about assignments and has links to the assignments, but non-graded items don't appear here, so you wouldn't get any of the reminders about things coming up.
  • The Assignments link on the left navigation menu provides information about all assignments, including the reminder ones, and when they become available and how many points they're worth, but it doesn't provide instructor feedback about any of them.
  • The Syllabus link has the same information as the Assignments page with the addition of a mini-calendar for the course, the grade weighting, and links to all of the assignments. It does not provide point values for any of the assignments.
  • The Modules page is the home page for this course. It provides an instructor-organized structure to the course. All of the other assignments are based on dates or categories. They don't include any of the non-assignment information like readings that should be done before taking a quiz (the others only show the quiz and when students try to take the quiz without reading the material, the results are less than desirable).

I later added the Pages navigation link, but forgot to update my documentation.

Choosing not to enable a navigation link doesn't hide anything, it just removes a shortcut (quick link) for accessing it.

There are usually multiple ways to get somewhere and choosing not to use one of them isn't the same as disabling the content that it quick links you to. Never has been and I hope it never is. Think about it -- should hiding the Discussions navigation link disable discussions? No - you just don't create any discussions if you want to disable them. Should disabling the Pages navigation link mean that you can't use content pages? Of course not. What you're removing is the quick link to the index (list) of that particular type of content. In many cases, having a list of pages is worthless. In my summer class, I had all my lecture notes inside Canvas and they had a consistent naming scheme that made them easy to understand, so adding the Pages link was appropriate.

Choosing which navigation links to enable is similar to the way that some people may prefer to have an HTML welcome page, others prefer modules, and someone somewhere might use the syllabus page as the main one. Many of them provide shortcuts to the list of content types and you enable them if you think the students will frequently use. Not using a quick link doesn't mean the content disappears, it just means that means that the navigation button disappears. The content and the URL routes to get there are all still functional.

Thanks for the thoughts.  I did as suggested above and just changed the availability date.  I couldn't disable the Discussions from the Navigation as I have active discussions in the course throughout the week.  Our old BB system had a hide/unhide feature that I miss greatly. 

I agree - the lack of this feature in Canvas is outrageous.