Canvas @ Yale

Creating and Commenting on Ed Discussion Threads (Student Guide)

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Ed Discussions is a discussion tool integrated with Canvas. The following article provides a detailed overview of navigating, posting, and engaging on Ed Discussion threads.

Posting New Ed Discussion Threads

  1. Click the "New Thread" button. In the central discussion space, a new thread box will appear where you can begin to craft your message.
  2. Select what kind of thread you want to start, either a:
    1. Question - Default thread for students that is answered by instructor and/or other students.
    2. Post - Thread to promote discussion about a specific topic.
  3. Provide a "Title" for the Thread.
  4. Select the "Category" the Thread should be organized under.
  5. Then write your message in the Content Editor box.
    1. Review the Utilizing the Content Editor section for more information.
  6. Check off to either mark the thread as "Private" or "Anonymous" as applicable in the Thread.
    1. Review the Post / Comment Settings section for information.
  7. When done, click the "Post" button.

Utilizing the Content Editor

The Content Editor allows users to format text, insert multimedia, and other programming language snippets. It also supports LaText and chemical and mathematical equations by directly typing in Markdown and LaTex syntax. Below is a brief introduction to the Content Editor functions.

  1. Text Style - Change the text style to insert Header tags, Blockquotes, and specific Callouts that change the text color and background.
  2. Insert Image - Embed an image from a file on your computer or from a URL link.
  3. Embed Video - Embed a video from a URL link from sites like YouTube or Vimeo.
  4. Upload a File - Upload a file from your computer for students to download.
  5. Insert LaTex - Write direct input of LaText math equations into the Content Editor (using the dollar syntax) or build equations with the visual math editor to see a live preview in the LaTex editing window.
  6. Insert Code Snippets - Insert code snippets from supported coding language such as C/C++, Python, Java, Ruby, R, Julia, SQL, Javascript, CSS, HTML, etc. These code snippets can be run by clicking Run button in the top-right corner once inserted.
  7. Insert Web Codes - Insert HTML, CSS, or Javascript codes for web design and development.
  8. Image Annotation - Insert a blank canvas or upload an image to have students annotate over.
  9. Preview - Open a preview window to show what the new Thread will look like when posted.

Post / Comment Settings

If the instructor has enabled any post / comment settings, you can enable them by clicking the Check boxes below the content editor. For both Question and Post Threads, you can enable the option to make your post as:

  • Private - visible only to you and staff (i.e. instructors and TAs)
  • Anonymous - hides your name from other students, but not staff (i.e. instructors and TAs)

Replying / Interacting with Threads

Once a Thread has been made, you have a number of ways to reply / interact with the thread that can facilitate discussion, collaboration, and communication.


  1. To respond on any thread or comment, click the "Comment" button to open the Content Editor.
  2. Write your comment in the Content Editor and when done, click the "Post" button.

Hearts, Stars, and Watch

  1. Students can click the Heart icon on comments and threads they find useful.
    1. The number of Hearts that a post receives is viewable by the entire class.
  2. Students can also click the Star icon on the threads they want to refer to later.
    1. Stars are private to the individual user.
  3. The Watch icon allows users to manage their notifications for that thread. They can click to switch between three different modes: 
    1. Not Watching - notified of direct replies only
    2. Watching - receive notifications about all activities
    3. Ignoring - never notified

Search and Filters

  1. Ed Discussion supports a variety of ways to search, filter, and sort Threads. Utilizing the Search Box, you can conduct a full-text search by typing in keywords.
  1. All Threads that match will appear in the Search Results. You can also Filter your search results by selecting from things like Unread / Read, New Replies, Categories, and Date.

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

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