New Canvas Discussions & Announcements Interface for Instructors

The new interface will be activated after the Spring 2024 semester.

Canvas Discussions and Announcements will display an updated design. While many of the new or reconfigured features will be intuitive, this guide will walk you through some of the more advanced options that you can use to enhance your experience when using Canvas Discussions and Announcements.

Note: Creating Canvas Discussions and Announcements along with grading Discussions remains the same. 

The Discussions & Announcements Toolbar

The most noticeable change to Canvas Discussions and Announcements is the view of threaded replies.When you open a Discussion or Announcement, you will see the following options at the top to customize your individual viewing experience:

Canvas discussion toolbar

    1. Search for keywords in Discussion replies and/or specific authors.
    2. Filter Discussion replies by All or Unread replies.
    3. Sort Discussion replies by ascending or descending dates.
    4. View threaded replies in a split screen sidebar. Choosing this option will display the initial posts in the main screen on the left, with the threaded, reply posts in a separate screen on the right. To return to one screen, choose View Inline.
    5. By default, Canvas Discussions and Announcements will display only the initial posts, not the threaded replies. Expand Threads will display all threaded replies in addition to the initial posts.

Additional Discussion & Announcement Features

Role Labels

Discussion and Announcement threads display a label for users with TA and Teacher (Instructor) roles.

image showing Canvas role labels


When you are typing an initial post or a reply in a Canvas Discussion, typing the @ symbol will display a drop-down menu of course users. When you address a course user with an @ mention, Canvas will send notification to that user.


When viewing discussion posts, you can quote what someone else has said. To quote a discussion post, select the vertical ellipses [1] and then select Quote Reply [2].

Image of Canvas quoted reply

This will open the Rich Content Editor and allow you to post your reply to the quoted material. A toggle switch will let you choose whether to include the quoted material in your reply.

Canvas quoted reply

When including the quoted reply in your post, it will appear in the Canvas Discussion and Announcement as follows:

Canvas quoted reply example

Additional Features in Discussions Only

Preferred Discussion Settings

Instructors can select preferred student settings by clicking on the gear icon in the Discussions tool.

The settings are the following:

  • Create discussion topics
  • Create anonymous discussion topics
  • Edit and delete their own replies
  • Attach files to discussions
  • Report replies

Canvas Discussions settings

Reply Reporting

Within individual discussions, replies can be reported by students and instructors as Inappropriate; Offensive, abusive; Other.

To be notified, instructors can benable the Discussions Reported Reply in their Notifications page. Email notifications include a direct link to the reported reply.

Canvas email notifications

Canvas report replies

Anonymous Discussions

This option is displayed when creating a new discussion for a course. By default, this option is to set off.

anonymous discussion

Please note if Anonymous Discussions is enabled:

  • Grading and groups are not supported
  • Users with Teacher, TA or designer roles can never be anonymous
  • Student posts are anonymous to everyone in the course, including instructors and TAs
  • @mentions are not supported

View History

  1. If students are allowed to edit their replies, instructors can view the edit history by clicking on View History
  2. Instructors can view any version of the edit history with the date and time stamps of the student’s posts

Canvas View History

More information

For more information about the updated interface, visit the Canvas Discussions Redesign and Canvas Announcements Redesign guides or email the Educational Design and Technology team at [email protected].
(Do not share any personal identifiable information (PII) such as social security number or grades in any messages to [email protected])