Skip to main content
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Discussions Overview (Instructors)

Discussions Overview (Instructors)

In this video, you will learn about the Discussions Index page and discussion creation.

Last updated 2023-06-02


View the script for this video


To view subtitles for this video, click the captions.png button in the toolbar.

Video overviews reflect current feature functionality in Canvas; they are updated based on workflow changes, not on minor or non-functional interface enhancements. Depending on your institution's Canvas theme, the Canvas interface may display differently than shown in this video, but the functionality is the same.

To learn more about discussions, visit the following lessons:


Discussions Overview (Instructors) Video Script

In this video, you will learn about the Discussions Index page and discussion creation. To view the Discussions Index page, click the Discussions link in Course Navigation. From the Discussions Index page, you can view a list of all discussions in your course, filter the list of discussions to view all or unread discussions, search for a specific discussion by title or keyword, and start a new discussion. You can also manage settings for all discussions in your course by clicking the Settings icon.

When you view a discussion, unread replies are automatically marked as read when you scroll past them. To help you keep track of which posts still need review when you view a discussion, select the Manually mark posts as read checkbox. To allow students to begin a new discussion, select the Create discussion topics checkbox. To allow students to edit and delete their own posts, select the Edit and delete their own posts checkbox. To allow students to attach pictures or documents to a discussion post, select the Attach files to discussions checkbox. Click the Save Settings button when you are done.

The Discussions Index page is organized into three areas: Pinned Discussions, Discussions, and Closed for Comments. The Pinned section displays a list of discussions that show at the top of a student’s Discussions page. The Discussions section displays a list of current discussions with most recently active listed first. The Closed for Comments section displays a list of discussions with expired availability dates and discussions that have been manually closed. To move a discussion from one section, or to organize discussions in the Pinned Discussion section, drag and drop it to the preferred location. Click a discussion’s options icon to open or close commenting, pin or unpin, duplicate, send the discussion to another instructor, copy the discussion to another course, or delete a discussion.

You can also view at-a-glance information for individual discussions. Graded discussions display the assignment icon, and discussions that require a peer review display the peer review icon. Dates display for graded discussions, and for discussions with assigned to-do dates. Publish icons indicate the publish status of a discussion. Click the subscribe icon to subscribe or unsubscribe to a discussion. You can also view the number of unread and total replies in a discussion.

To create a new discussion, click the Add Discussion button. From the discussion details page, give your discussion a title in the Topic Title field and add directions, media, and other instructional content using the Rich Content Editor. To assign an ungraded discussion to a specific section in your course, click the Post to drop-down menu and type the name of or select a section name from the options that appear. Add an attachment to your discussion by clicking the Choose File button and selecting a file from your computer. Select other discussion format options in the Options menu and create a group discussion by selecting the This is a Group Discussion checkbox. You can create a graded discussion by selecting the Graded checkbox in the Options menu. Next, enter the discussion point value in the Points field, and specify how the grade displays in the gradebook in the Display Grade As drop-down menu. Then select an assignment group from the Assignment Group drop-down menu. You can also specify peer review requirements for your discussion.  Assign a due date as well as availability dates for the discussion. You can also assign the discussion to specific sections and students, or differentiate due dates for sections and students within your course. Click the Add button and in the Assign to field, type or select the section or student name. Then add due and availability dates. To save your discussion as a draft, click the Save button or, to save changes and make the discussion available to students, click the Save & Publish button. After you save your discussion you can view the discussion details page.

In the discussion details page, you can publish or unpublish the discussion, edit the discussion, view discussion options, search and filter discussion replies, collapse and expand discussion replies, subscribe or unsubscribe, and reply to the discussion.

Thanks for watching this Discussions overview video. To learn more about Canvas, ask questions, or engage with other Canvas users, please visit

Was this article helpful? Yes No
Embed this video:
Have a question about Canvas? Ask in the Q&A forum: