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Canvas Discussion Boards Redesign

On May 8, 2024, FSU will turn on a new feature in Canvas, the Discussion boards redesign. While there are significant changes in discussion board features and minor changes to the interface, there will be no loss of functionality between the old and the new discussions. We're excited to unveil these features, which will grant instructors new opportunities to customize and control their course discussions like never before. The upgrade will also help students communicate in ways that reflect the constantly shifting space of digital communication. You can navigate these changes by selecting the links below or scrolling down.

1. Flexible Viewing Options

2. Mentions

3. Quotes

4. Anonymous Discussions

5. Reply Reporting

6. Role Labels

7. Interface Modification

Note: Instructure will enact these changes permanently on July 20, 2024. FSU continues to stay ahead of the game by giving our faculty, students, and staff the opportunity to become familiar with the new features in advance. 

1. Flexible Viewing Options

Users will have the option to structure their discussion board as either an Inline or Split view. To toggle between the two, at the top of the screen, select either View Split Screen or View Inline.

By selecting Split Screen, the discussion thread will be formatted as seen below:

By selecting Inline, the discussion thread will be formatted as seen below:

2. Mentions

This feature allows users to use the @ symbol to mention other users, which is functionally similar to social media platforms.

3. Quotes

This new feature will allow users to quote others in their replies.

4. Anonymous Discussions

Instructors can host anonymous discussions, where student identifiers such as names, pictures, and role labels will be hidden. This option will be set to off by default.

Note: Grading and Groups are not supported in anonymous discussions.

When the Discussion Settings menu option is selected for students to create discussions, there is also the option to allow students to create anonymous discussions. This option is turned off by default.

When an anonymous discussion exists in the course, the Discussions page will indicate the anonymous discussion prior to a student opening the discussion.

5. Reply Reporting

Now, within individual discussions, replies can be reported by students and teachers. Teachers can choose to enable reporting in the Discussion Settings menu.

When enabled, users can report replies by clicking the Settings menu for the reply and clicking the Report button.

When a user reports a reply, they must select why the comment is being reported (inappropriate, offensive/abusive, or another reason). Once submitted, this action cannot be undone.


Finally, two minor changes involve role labels and an interface modification.

6. Role Labels

Discussion threads will now display a label for users with instructor-level permissions, such as Teachers (Instructors) and TAs, to help students quickly identify instructors in a course.

7. Interface Modification

The following modifications have been made to individual discussion threads:

  • The toolbar has been moved to the top of the discussion thread.
  • Newest replies are displayed at the top of the first page instead of the bottom of the last page.
  • Users can sort replies from newest to oldest or oldest to newest.
  • Users can quickly move to the top of the discussion at any time.

For more information, check out Instructure's Discussion Redesign Update article.

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  • 29-Apr-2024
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