New Features Coming to Canvas Discussions

Several significant updates to Canvas’ Discussions feature that will be automatically updated for all Emerson Canvas users.

Canvas will implement the change for all users on July 20th.

Canvas puts out new feature updates regularly. For major changes like these, they first seek user feedback on an optional version, then they provide a required update to all users.

Some New Features

  • Mention or notify people using the @ symbol.

A screenshot of a Canvas text input box showing the drop-down menu of name options available for typing after the @ symbol.

  • Quote other replies in your post.

A screenshot of another user's Canvas post being quoted above an empty text input box where a reply will be written. There is a toggle button above it that controls the ability to "include quoted reply in message."

  • Split your window to allow for scrolling while replying to a discussion.
      • Keeps a sidebar view open to a message thread while you scroll through the rest of the discussion in the left side panel.
      • The number of replies to a thread is displayed on the post, signaling that a thread is available to view.

A screenshot of a split-view display of a discussion thread. On the left there is a pane showing the discussion prompt and initial replies. On the right there is a pane showing a specific thread within the discussion.

  • Improved sorting and filtering options for responses.

A screenshot of the search and sort features that can be used to view the replies to a discussion. It shows the option to view all messages or unread messages, and the option to sort by newest first or by oldest first.

  • Optimized for viewing on mobile devices.

Key New Feature: Anonymous Discussions

  • Optional!
  • Can be partial (student chooses whether or not to identify themself) or full (everyone is anonymous).

A screenshot showing the part of the options settings available to instructors which control the anonymity of a discussion. Three radio buttons show options for full, partial, or no anonymity.

  • Discussions cannot be graded if they are fully or partially anonymous.
  • Comments can be flagged as inappropriate by other users, but only the instructor will be able to see the report flag.
      • Available in both anonymous and non-anonymous discussions.

A screenshot of a discussion post that has been flagged for inappropriate content. There is a highlighted number of total reports with a pop-up menu showing that the report was for "offensive/abusive" content, as opposed to "inappropriate" or "other."

  • Instructors can see the edit history of comments and delete them at will.
      • Please take any screenshots for documentation purposes before deleting.

How Anonymous is Anonymous?
Students will appear anonymous to both their instructors and other students, but anyone with a Teacher, TA, or Designer role cannot be anonymous. Neither the course instructors nor ITG can determine the identity of anonymous users, but Canvas can identify a user if the college requests it.

Anonymous users are identified by the same avatar within a discussion for continuity, but the design of the avatar may be different depending on who is viewing it. A new discussion starts everyone fresh with a new avatar.

A screenshot of a discussion post heading show how it is viewed by the author of the post. The name of the poster is shown as "Anonymous 19yvm2 (You)." A screenshot of a discussion post heading show how it is viewed by another user who is not the author of the post. The name of the poster is shown as "Anonymous 19yvm2."