Canvas @ YaleInstructor Guides External Apps to use with Canvas @ YaleExternal Apps: Ed Discussions - Set Up for Your Course

External Apps: Ed Discussions - Set Up for Your Course

Note: 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

On your Canvas course page, click Ed Discussion from the Navigation menu to begin setting up your Ed Discussion space.

Canvas navigation menu with Ed Discussions highlighted.

Ed Discussion will open in a new tab and take you into the General section of the Admin page for your Ed Discussion course. Under the [1] Users header, click [2] Sync with LMS to add your students.


  1. Under the Course header, do not edit the Code or Name of the Ed Discussion course. These are automatically populated from Canvas and should not be changed.
  2. Do not enable the Join Link option.
Ed Discussion General Admin page with the Users header highlighted and Sync with LMS button highlighted.

Once the students have been synced into the class and are visible under the Users header, click [3] Save at the top of the page, then click [4] Activate in the top banner to make your course live for students to access.

Ed Discussion admin page with the save button and Activate buttons highlighted.

Defining Discussion Categories, Thread Templates & Settings

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

Ed Discussion admin page with the "Discussion" tab identidfied on the left-hand side.


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.

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.

Ed Discussion admin page with the Categories box highlighted and an arrow pointing towards the category unselected by default checkbox.

When done, click Save at the top of the page.

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.

Click on the [1] Category from the list and type your Thread Template text into the Rich Text Editor box. Use the [2] 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 Thread Template text 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).
Discussion feature settings checked off in the default system settings.

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.

Click to [1] Enable the use of the Saved Replies function. Then click the [2] Plus Sign to add a new reply. Provide a [3] Name in the box for staff to identify this reply, and use the [4] Rich Text Editor box to write / format the reply that all staff can use.

Saved reply interface with the enabled button highlighted, as well as the plus sign, reply name field, and rich text editor box.

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.

Click the [1] Checkbox to require that new threads started by student require approval by a staff member before they become visible to other students. You can write a [2] Declined Thread Template that can be sent to the student if their discussion thread does not get approved.

Moderation settings section with the New threads require approval section checked off and the template rich text editor box highlighted.

For more help with Ed Discussions, please email vendor support  at or