Canvas @ Yale

Ed Discussion: Setting Up Your Course

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Once you have enabled Ed Discussion for your Canvas course, you will be able to go into Ed Discussion and set up / customize the various thread categories, templates, and features.

If you have not already, you will need to Enable Ed Discussion in Your Canvas Course prior to setting up your Ed Discussion space.

Syncing the Class Roster & Activating the Course

  1. On the Canvas course page, click "Ed Discussion" from the Navigation menu to begin setting up your Ed Discussion space.
  1. Ed Discussion will open in a new tab and take you into the "General" section of the course settings page for your Ed Discussion course.
  2. Under the "Users" header, click "Sync with LMS" to add the course's students.

Do not edit the "Code" or "Name" of the Ed Discussion course. These are automatically populated from Canvas and should not be changed. It is also recommended that you do not enable the "Join Link" option as well.

  1. Once the students have been synced into the class and are visible under the "Users" header, click the "Save" button at the top of the page.
  2. Click the "Activate" button in the top banner to make your course live for students to access.

Defining Discussion Categories, Thread Templates & Settings

Navigate to the "Discussion" section of your Ed Discussion settings page to begin setting up default categories, thread templates, and general discussion settings.


Categories allow you and your students to organize / label discussion threads into buckets, which you can define under the "Categories" section header.

Each category should be on one line, with subcategories defined by using the Tab key. Check off the "Category unselected by default" option to require students select a category for their new discussion thread before they can begin typing. When done, click "Save" at the top of the page.

A preexisting list of categories is already populated in this space so you will want to add / delete categories that best reflect your course and discussion needs.

Thread Templates

Thread Templates allow you to populate new discussion threads started in specific Categories with initial content to help guide users in their posts.

  1. Click on the Category from the list and type your Thread Template text into the Rich Text Editor box.
  2. Use the Editor Ribbon to change the formatting of the template text.

Example: Students posting new threads in the Problem Set category often leave out important information that helps contextualize their question / issue. Adding a Thread Template with guiding questions helps the students provide the information necessary to address their needs when posting in the Problem Set category.

Thread Template interface with the categories highlighted on the left and rich text editor box identified on the right.

Discussion Features

By default there are a number of Discussion Features enabled that you may want to review and either enable or disable for your Ed Discussion course.

  • Private Threads (Enabled by Default) - Enables the option to create threads that are private (visible to the author and staff only).
  • Private Comments (Enabled by Default) - Enables the option for staff to create private comments (visible to staff only).
  • Anonymous Threads (Enabled by Default) - Enables the option to create threads anonymously (the author's name will be hidden).
  • Names Visible to Staff (Enabled by Default) - Staff will be able to see the names of the authors of anonymous threads.
  • Deleted Threads Filter (Disabled by Default) - Adds a "Deleted" filter to the sidebar for staff to view deleted threads.
  • Announcement Previews (Disabled by Default) - Include the announcement text in announcement emails.
  • Hide Comment Placeholder Box for Questions (Enabled by Default)
  • Show Instructor Answer Typing Indicator (Enabled by Default) - Allows staff to see other staff typing an answer in the same question (not visible to students).

Saved Replies

Add frequently used replies for all staff (Instructors and TAs) to use when responding in threads. This can save time on repeating answers and ensure consistency in responses to specific questions.

  1. Click to the "Enable" checkbox to make use of the Saved Replies function.
  2. Then click the "+" icon to add a new reply.
  3. Provide a "Name" in the text box for staff to identify this reply.
  4. Use the Rich Text Editor box to write / format the reply that all staff can use.

Thread Moderation

Instructors can utilize thread moderation to review student submitted discussion threads prior to them becoming available for the class to view and participate in.

  1. Click the "New threads require approval" checkbox to require that new threads started by students require approval by an instructor / TA member before they become visible to other students.
  2. Instructors can write a "Declined Thread Template" that can be sent to the student if their discussion thread does not get approved.

For more help with Ed Discussions, please email their vendor support at [email protected] or [email protected].

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