Canvas Discussion forum

Canvas Discussion forum

Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions, allowing you and students to start and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired. These topics can be provided by you or determined by the students themselves. Discussions allows for interactive communication between two or more people; users can participate in a conversation with an entire class or group. The discussions are asynchronous, which means that students do not have to participate at the same time. You can use the Canvas discussion forum for the students enrolled in your canvas course. 


The menu item Discussions is by default off. Via “Settings” in the course menu, you can turn menu items on and off. Within Settings, you can click on the “Navigation” tab, which allows you to set the menu items you want your students to have.

  • How to set up a Discussion:


  • Using roles is a well-known technique to moderate online discussions in a forum. Having assigned roles can help set the discussion on a productive path. The roles can be varied so that everyone experiences each role once. Assigned roles might for example include a Starter who provides participants with a direction of the discussion, an Elaborator who encourages students to think more deeply, a Synthesizer who extracts information from messages to direct the discussion, and a Wrapper who summarizes the discussion (Wise, Saghafian & Padmanabhan, 2012).



Wise, A. F., Saghafian, M., & Padmanabhan, P. (2012). Towards more precise design guidance: Specifying and testing the functions of assigned student roles in online discussions. Educational Technology Research and Development60(1), 55-82.