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Surveyor II

Sections & Discussion.

Ahoy all,

This is a request for plain English about Sections & Discussions - because that help page isn't really clear to me. I just need someone to tell me succinctly that I'm allowed to create 1 discussion (no need to differentiate due date, etc), assign it to both sections in the field (instead of the singular "Everyone"), and that alone will let students see only their section. 

Otherwise, just tell me succinctly that I really have to create 2 discussions and assign them to individual sections.

I don't want to mess with creating group sets for this. 

IN addition, is there a checklist/cheatsheet/snapshot view of how Sections behave relative to Canvas features, or pro/cons considerations about using sections v. different course shells? 


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Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @s_greathouse  

Apologies for the confusion in the guide you linked above. I did some testing and found the following: 

If you assign discussion to two sections (graded or ungraded), students in both sections will see replies posted to the discussion. If a graded discussion is assigned to two or more discussions, students in all sections will see discussion replies, even if they have different availability dates.  

Short story: If you assign multiple sections to one discussion, all students in each discussion will be able to view all discussion replies. 

I know it isn't ideal, but you can create a discussion, duplicate it, then assign a specific section to each discussion.

Hopefully this helps answer your question. If there's anything else I can help clarify, please let me know. 



Thank you, Allie!

Does this also override the setting (or still apply when) we put on students to "only interact with those in their own section" when adding a user profile?


Stacy Greathouse, PhD

Instructional Designer

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences

2140 E. Broadway Rd. | Tempe, AZ 85282

O: 480-222-9253 |<>;

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Pronouns: She, her

Is there an answer to the question about using the "only interact with their section" option?

Ahoy Leslie,

These were my takeaways:

  • If you want a merged course to have students who are in a section to only see those peers in a Discussion, you absolutely must create completely different discussions for a section and make sure that's the only section you have in the Assign To area. 
    • The instructor will see all discussions
    • Students ONLY see the discussions in their course summary, etc. to which they're assigned. 
  • Having a user profile marked as "interact with only students in their section" doesn't let you get around this.
    Note: If I'm wrong about this, someone please correct me.

Believe me, this is far far from ideal when setting up a cross-listed course. The front-end management is a hassle to create duplicate discussions for everything and make sure each section gets one (tip: find a naming convention that isn't confusing/intrusive for the student, but that cues instructors to the fact that each section has one), and if you want small groups in the sections, you need to be sure you set up your group sets on the people page with the check box for keeping groups within their own sections. Then, be prepared to manage any students who are late to register if you're doing small groups discussions with sections.

Fair winds.