• Adding Discussions
  • "Student View" creates a student named Test Student who can view and participate in your Canvas course.  When the teacher switches to Student View, the teacher can see what the real students see, plus take quizzes, turn in assignments, participate in Discussions, review grades, and receive feedback.


Let's add a discussion to your course.

I'm going to go to the course orientation and add a Q&A forum. This is a place where a student could ask any question they wanted about this course.

In this module, the course orientation and resources module, I click the plus sign because that's where I want the discussion to go. It's not an assignment, it's a discussion.

It's a new discussion, and this is going to be the Q & A discussion.  And add the item.  Of course it goes to the bottom and it's hidden.  I think that's where I want it, so I'm just going to make it visible and leave it here.

Edit the Discussion

Now I'll click it, because I need to edit it. Click the edit button and here put the description of what it is you want the students to respond to. For a QA discussion I might put "ask any questions you have about the course" and I might indicate things like encouraging students to respond to each other, and, perhaps even, how quickly I would be responding to QA items.

Down here you have options. You always want to pick "allow threaded replies". That allows one person to reply to another and and then reply back and forth and have that whole sequence be indented properly.

If it's a typical forum for where students are responding to a prompt for the week, and they're supposed to be learning and showing knowledge and improving their knowledge and responding to each other, you can grade it.  Of course, the Q&A forum where they're just asking questions about the course, that would typically not be graded.

If you do choose graded you have some other options. It would be "points". You indicate how many points it was and you would assign a dates like that. If it's not graded, it's a little bit simpler. You just give it an available "from" and an "until" date.  Typically you can just leave these blank and it's available throughout the entire semester. I'll click Save. That give us a Discussion.

Using a Discussion

The way to operate in a forum, for you or your students, you click the "reply" button right here. It's not obvious. It's clear that when you're replying to another person, it's a reply, but the fact that your first post is actually considered a "reply", that's perhaps a little odd.

Students can can put in whatever they want: "How do I ... ? " Whatever it is they're having trouble with. Students have the same set of features for making posts as you do.  Students won't have this ability to link to other places in the course, however. And then you would click "post" this reply.

Test Student

Canvas has a built in test student that allows you to see what the course looks like to is student and also to participate in the course. The test student can participate in discussion forums, can take quizzes, and turn in assignments.

To get to activate the test student you click settings and then at the top you click Student View. A pink border appears around the screen to remind you that you are in Student View.

And as a student I'm going to click course orientation and I'm going to click this Q&A discussion. When I do I will see that here's the discussion prompt and here's the first item.

I'm gonna click Reply to reply to the main discussion prompt. "I'm having trouble with typing. What do I do?"

I'll post that reply.  And then I, as this test student, I can see I know the answer to this question, so I can reply straight to that person. "Just do it" and post reply.

Organization of Replies

You can see the way these are organized. This item is a response to that item, and this item is a reply to the original post.  Original post, ... original post.  These 2 link together. No gap between them.  One's a reply to the other.

Expand and Contract

If you come up here you have the option to expand and contract replies. That can sometimes help when you have a long list of items to look at.

Leave Student View

Now I'll leave Student View down here on the right.  


I'll point out one more thing about Discussions. Discussions can have rubrics. You'd find it right here: Add a Rubric. Although rubrics can only be used on graded discussions, so I can't see one for this discussion.

That is how you add a Discussion in Canvas.