Canvas Discussions/Announcements Redesign

Canvas recently redesigned Discussions and Announcements in order to provide additional functionality to instructors and students. The redesigned Discussions and Announcements are replacing the current Discussions/Announcements in Canvas classes on May 25, 2024. 

FAQ

When are redesigned Discussions and Announcements coming to Canvas?

On May 25, 2024 the redesigned Discussions and Announcements will replace the original Discussions and Announcements in Canvas. You can also choose to enable the redesigned Discussions and Announcements right now

Can I continue to use the old Canvas Discussions and Announcements?

After the redesigned Discussions and Announcements are rolled out to all Canvas classes on May 25, 2024, it will not be possible for instructors to use the old Discussions and Announcements tools. 

What happens to my existing announcements and discussions?

All discussions and announcements in your current and past Canvas classes will automatically convert to the redesigned format. You will not lose posts, replies, or grades. 

Discussions & Announcements - New Features

The following video walks you through all the Discussions and Announcements redesign changes.

Below is a list of the new features broken out by individual topic

Note: The new reply features are only available in Announcements when the instructor has enabled comments on Announcements.

New Look & Feel

The Discussions and Announcements interface has a new look and feel.

New Menu Bar

new discussions menu bar

  1. Group Discussion button - The Group Discussion Menu button displays a list of Group Discussions and the number of unread posts for each Group Discussion. 
  2. Search box - Enter a term to search all Discussion replies.
  3. View All/View Unread Replies - Filter Discussion by Unread to view only the replies you have not read.
  4. Sort - Sort the order of Discussion threads oldest to newest or newest to oldest.
  5. View Split Screen/View Inline - Split Screen displays a post's replies in a sidebar. Inline displays posts and replies in a traditional single-column format.
  6. Expand/Collapse Threads - Expand and collapse all threads in the Discussion.

New Location of Edit Button

The Edit button from classic Discussions has been replaced with an Edit link. To edit a Discussion, click its kebab and select Edit. 

click the kebab and then Edit to edit a discussion

Resources

Teacher & TA Roles Labels

When Teachers and TAs post in Discussions and Announcements, their posts contain a label identifying their role. A label also indicates the author of the Discussion or Announcement.

Ovals indicating participant roles such as teacher and author

Resources

Role Label documentation from Instructure

Quote Reply

The Quote Reply feature allows a participant to include a quote from the post they are replying to. This feature helps clarify which post a person is replying to.

1. Instead of clicking the Reply button to reply to a post, click the post's kebab and select Quote Reply. 

Rectangle indicating Quote Reply Option from Kabob Menu

2. When you post your reply, a quote from the post you are replying to appears at the top of your reply.

a quote reply contains a quote of the post you are replying to

Resources

Tag Other Participants with @Mention

You can tag other members of your class using the @mention feature in a reply. Simply type the at sign (@) in your reply, and select a name from the list of people in the class (e.g., @Jane Smith). The person will receive a Canvas notification when you post the reply. 

Image showing @Ca suggests the name Catarino D Delgado will be tagged in a reply

Resources

Split Screen & Inline Viewing Options

You can display replies to posts in Split Screen or Inline mode. Click the View Split Screen/View Inline button to switch viewing mode.

View split screen button

Split Screen - Displays a thread's replies in a sidebar. Note that the sidebar only displays when you click to view a thread's replies. 

split screen sidebar only appears for threads with replies

Inline - Displays posts and replies in a traditional single-column format.

inline discussion posts appear in a single column

Resources

Sort Threaded Replies by Date

Click Sort to sort threads of a Discussion by oldest to newest or newest to oldest. Note that this sort applies only to the top level threads (the direct replies to the instructor's prompt). The sort does not affect the replies to a thread. Replies to a thread (i.e., the replies nested under a thread) are always sorted oldest to newest.

sort new discussion

Resources

Report Inappropriate Replies

Participants can use the Report feature to discreetly report inappropriate comments to the instructor. The instructor will receive an email notification about the post that has been reported. 

Rectangle indicating Report Option from Kabob Menu

Resources

View History of Edited Replies

Instructors and TAs can view the edit history for replies and can click to view each version of the reply.

Rectangle indicating a window will open showing Edit History and dated versions of a reply after clicking View History link

Resources

Anonymous & Partially Anonymous Discussion Options Available

Instructors can choose to create fully or partially anonymous Discussions. Fully anonymous discussions assign a random identifier to each student participant. Partially anonymous discussions allow students to decide if they would like to reply anonymously or with their name listed. Instructors and TAs are never anonymous.

Important: You cannot edit Anonymous Discussion settings once the Discussion has been created. For example, you cannot create a Discussion, save it, edit the Discussion, and then switch the Anonymous Discussion settings from Off to Full or Partially Anonymous.

Rectangle indicating Anonymous Discussion settings: off, partial, full. Arrow emphasizing grading and groups are not supported in anonymous discussions.

Resources

Feature Comparison: Redesigned vs Classic Discussions and Announcements

The following is a feature comparison of classic Discussions and Announcements and the redesigned Discussions and Announcements.

Feature

Redesigned Discussions & Announcements

Classic Discussions & Announcements
⭐Anonymous & Partially Anonymous Discussions

NEW FEATURE

Instructors can choose to create fully or partially anonymous Discussions. Fully anonymous discussions assign a random identifier to each student participant. Partially anonymous discussions allow students to decide if they would like to reply anonymously or with their name listed. 

 Rectangle indicating Anonymous Discussion options including Off, Partial, and Full. Arrow highlights text reading "Grading and Grous are not supported in Anonymous Discussions".

Not available

Collapse/Expand Threads

Can collapse or expand all threads at top level only.

Expand/Collapse Threads button

Can collapse replies at every level.

Expand/Collapse buttons in menu and expand/collapse arrows on each reply

⭐Edit History

NEW FEATURE

Instructors and TAs can view the edit history of any reply and view each version.

 Rectangle indicating a window will open showing Edit History and dated versions of a reply after clicking View History link

Not available

⭐Filter by Unread Posts

Filtering feature has moved to the top of the announcement and discussion prompt.

filter new discussion by clicking read unread dropdown

Available

filtering old discussion by unread posts

Group Discussions

Access discussions for each group through the Groups Menu button.

groups in new discussions

Available

groups menu in old discussions

Hierarchy

Levels 1 and 2 are indented to indicate hierarchy, but level 3, 4, 5, etc. are all on the same level. 

Discussion Prompt: 

Level 1  Reply

     Level 2 Reply

          Level 3 Reply

          Level 4 Reply

          Level 5 Reply

          Etc…

Each level of reply is indented from the previous level to indicate hierarchy. 

Discussion Prompt: 

Level 1 Reply
     Level 2 Reply
          Level 3 Reply
               Level 4 Reply
                    Level 5 Reply
                         Etc…

⭐@ Mentions

NEW FEATURE

Participants can tag others in their replies by typing the @ symbol and then selecting the name of a class participant from the drop down menu that appears.

 Image showing @Ca suggests the name Catarino D Delgado will be tagged in a reply

Not available

Mark Read/Unread

The ability to manually change the read status of a comment or entire thread has moved to the kebab menu.

 Rectangle indicating MarK as Unread and Mark Thread as Read from Kabob Menu

Available

 Square indicating a dot marks a comment as read

Peer Review

This functionality can be enabled in the Discussion settings after checking the graded discussion box. 

View of Redesigned options with a rectangle indicating Graded must be selected prior to being able to enable Peer Review setting

Available

View of Classic options with a rectangle indicating Graded must be selected prior to being able to enable Peer Review setting

⭐Quote Reply

NEW FEATURE

Participants can quote another participant’s comment in their own reply by clicking the kebab next to the comment. This provides clarity during active discussions with many responses. 

 Rectangle indicating Quote Reply Option from Kabob Menu

Not available

⭐Report Reply

NEW FEATURE

Participants can use the Report feature to discreetly report inappropriate comments to the instructor. The instructor will receive an email notification about the post that has been reported. 

 Rectangle indicating Report Option from Kabob Menu

Not available

⭐Role Pill (Label)

NEW FEATURE

Instructors and TAs are identified by a label on each reply.

 Ovals indicating participant roles such as teacher and author

Not available

Search

Available

search box in new discussions menu

Available

search box in old discussions

⭐Sort Topics

NEW FEATURE

Discussion threads can be sorted from oldest to newest or newest to oldest. Replies nested in threaded conversations are not affected by the sort and are always arranged from oldest to newest.

sort button in new discussions

Not available

Split Screen/Inline

You can display replies to posts in Split Screen or Inline mode. Click the View Split Screen/View Inline button to switch viewing mode.

split screen button

Split Screen - Displays a thread's replies in a sidebar. Note that the sidebar only displays when you click to view a thread's replies. 

Inline - Displays posts and replies in a traditional single-column format.

Not available

Resources

UWM's Video Resources for Instructors

Documentation Resources

 Get Support

Instructor Support

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Monday–Friday: 9 am to 4:30 pm
CETL Online Support Form
Email: cetl@uwm.edu
Phone: 1-414-251-5050

Canvas After-Hours Support

Live Chat for Instructors
Email: support@instructure.com
Phone: 1-414-251-5050 option 2

Student Support

Canvas

Live Chat for Students
Email: support@instructure.com
Phone: 1-414-251-5050 option 2

UWM Help Desk for General IT Support

Help Desk Online Support Form 
Email: helpdesk@it.uwm.edu
Phone: 1-414-229-4040
Toll-Free Number: 1-877-381-3459

 



Keywordscanvas, Discussions, Discussion, Announcement, Announcements, Redesign, re-design, Features, Reply, Quote, Tag, Participants, @Mention, Split Screen, Inline Viewing, Sort, Thread, Threaded Replies, Date, Report, Inappropriate, View History, Edited, Anonymous, Partially   Doc ID137251
OwnerKatherine P.GroupCETL
Created2024-05-10 09:42:22Updated2024-05-29 12:45:12
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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