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Community Member

Since Canvas can't auto-grade a discussion board for completion, does anyone have a workaround?

It would be nice for Canvas to be able automatically record completion of a discussion (by recording if a students posts) instead of instructors to have to record responses manually. The graded survey was suggested as an option, but students can't see others' responses so there's no discussion. Anyone have a work around to that?

8 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @tmorgan2 

I guess if it was a toggle on/off choice I wouldn't scream too much, but I am not a fan of just awarding a grade without any evaluation.


Not trying to credit for offering their opinion on a topic/issue. Can evaluate/reinforce intermittently for quality rather than check every single post of every person in a 100+ student class in my case. Smiley Happy

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi again,  @tmorgan2 

Have you considered simply setting a default grade? 


No but I'll check it out. Thanks Kelley!

Hi Kelley, this is a good thought, but the problem with this solution is that "Submission status is not factored into default grade application." So, if you assign a default grade EVERYONE in the class gets the grade, whether they contributed to the discussion or not. I am constantly looking for ways to incentivize participation in my online course, but I have 500+ students. Manually updating these grades on a regular basis is not feasible. My best work around so far is to set up a "completion survey" that students complete after they submit their discussions responses. Then to ensure some accountability, I build in a prerequisite path in Modules that requires that students submit to the discussion board before they can access the completion survey. It works, but it would be WAY better if Canvas could add an auto-grade option for use with participation-based discussion boards. (Similar to how Canvas allows for survey participation to count towards participation points).

Hello @kosha_bramesfel ,

This seems like a good work around. So just to clarify, the discussion board is ungraded but the quiz is graded. So students get an automatic completion grade by taking a quiz that is only visible to students who have completed the requirements. Am I right?


This is mostly correct. The students get an automatic completion grade by taking a quiz that is only visible to students who have contributed to the discussion board activity. The module will unlock the follow-up survey/quiz once the student has added a contribution. Canvas has no built-in mechanism to ensure that the contribution actually meets the requirements that you have laid out for the activity. For example, if you want the student to make three replies, there is no way to set up the module to unlock the quiz/survey only after they make three replies. The quiz/survey will unlock after they make their first reply (and have thus met the requirements of having "contributed").

@kosha_bramesfel Thank you for the clarification!