I have done my fair share of digging and I'm running into the same issue. I love using the group discussion feature in canvas however, I teach a fairly large class (400 pupils) and I do not like the manual grading. Through my exploration of the canvas forum, I have come across suggestions for allowing students to submit responses to a prompt as a graded survey. While this would help me tremendously, the survey feature grades the submission without assessing any criteria. My school has not implemented Quizzes.Next so I am not able to monitor the word count for student submissions easily. I also cannot assign a survey to a group (as far as I know) since it's under the Quiz feature. One of the reasons I like the group discussion feature is that the students do a pretty good job of keeping each other accountable by replying to one another's responses. I guess, essentially what I'm looking for is a way to auto-grade student prompt responses in a group setting? Is there an easy way to monitor the word count this way as well? So far it looks as though my only option is to have them respond to the prompt individually via a graded survey and myself and the TA would manually have to go back and make sure that their content is on task. I have also found that some instructors will post a prompt and grade the responses based on what the "group leader" has posted on behalf of the group. I think in this way, all the group members would receive the same score, but I believe this would still require manual grading as well(?)
Any help would be appreciated.