Canvas How-To: Discussions

Introducing Discussions Plus

Discussions Plus thumbnailBeginning Spring 2022, instructors have a new option for discussion activities called Discussions Plus. Discussions Plus offers several advantages over the standard discussion tool in Canvas, such as:

  • Engaging visual organization of posts within a grid layout
  • Multiple due dates ("milestones") possible within a single discussion activity
  • Video posts include automated closed captions
  • Anonymous posts in ungraded discussions
  • Easy creation of student journaling activity
  • Easy SpeedGrader integration for grading a discussion activity

Discussions Plus is available to all instructors to try now.  Please let us know what you think!

Learn about Discussions Plus

Creating a Standard Discussion

Use Discussions to promote conversations, reflections, and collaborations among students. Help students practice their writing in a formal academic setting without the anxiety of a higher stakes writing assignment. 

Creating a discussion in Canvas

How do I create a discussion as an Instructor?

Editing a Standard Discussion

Modify the settings of a discussion to change the prompt or question or the availability dates for the conversation. 

Editing a discussion in Canvas

How do I edit a discussion in a course?

Assigning a Graded Discussion

Award credit for participating in a discussion by activating the graded discussion option. 

Making an assignment graded in Canvas

How do I assign a graded discussion to everyone in a course?

Viewing and Sorting Discussion Replies

Facilitate and monitor the discussion, using the viewing and sorting options to manage numerous student posts. 

Options to view and sort replies in a discussion

How do I view and sort discussion replies as an instructor?

Allowing Students to Attach Files in Discussions

Permit students to attach files to discussions.  

Discussion settings button in Canvas
Allowing students to attach files to discussions

How do I allow students to attach files to a course discussion?

Activating Peer Review for Discussions

Allow students to evaluate their peers responses to a discussion prompt or question. Attach a rubric to help peer reviewers provide structure and adequate feedback. 

Activating peer review for a discussion
Where to add a rubric to the discussion

How do I create a peer review discussion?

How do I use peer review discussions in a course?

How do I automatically assign peer reviews for a discussion?

Requiring Students to Post Before Seeing Other Replies

Students who post later within the permitted conversation window may have an advantage by seeing the replies of earlier classmates. For certain discussion questions and prompts, it may be advantageous to restrict when students can see existing replies. 

Checkbox to allow students to see other posts only after posting

How can I require students to reply to a course discussion before they see other replies?

Want to learn more?

View all Canvas Guides for Discussions