Discussions build community.

Discussions in Canvas are designed to allow interactive communication between participants in a course. Instructors and students may begin or contribute to discussions. They can be created as graded assignments or be used as a forum to follow up on a conversation or question that began in the classroom. Discussions in Canvas can be used for students to get to know each other. They can also be created within student groups. The Discussions link in the left course navigation goes to the discussion index to view all discussions in a course. Graded discussions are treated as assignments and automatically appear in the Syllabus, Assignments, Grades, and Calendar areas of Canvas.


Discussions build community. They can be used to provoke critical thinking and promote literature research skills. Students can debate ideas and brainstorm approaches to a problem. Students can initiate their own discussions.

Best Practice Recommendations

  • Create graded discussions from within a module or link to a module.
  • Provide clear instructions and, for graded discussions, provide a rubric.
  • Ask though-provoking questions.
  • Make students aware of the instructor’s presence, but don’t dominate the conversation.

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