2 Minute Tech Tips No. 3: Using Discussions in Canvas

This week’s 2 Minute Tech Tip shows staff how to use Discussions to facilitate learning and teaching in Canvas.


Discussions can be powerful tools for interaction, but can also be difficult to get students to contribute. Think about the following hints and tips when setting up and managing discussion:


  • Be clear about the purpose of the discussion. Discussions work best when linked to a specific activity or task.
  • Be clear about what it is you want your students to post e.g. initial thoughts ideas or well considered and thoughtful written responses / resolved works.
  • Ensure you have a clear structure and timeline – Who will post, what will they post, and when should they post.
  • Set interim deadlines for initial posts, follow up posts or comments and final responses.
  • Ensure you have given enough time for posts to be formulated
  • Allow for different types of media to be used e.g. video, audio, graphics, animations, links, minds maps, documents etc. 
  • Clearly signpost your role in the activity – Tutors often need to be active contributors in discussions, this can be through guidance, challenge or moderating.

(Adapted from Lieberman, 2019)


For further information on using Discussions to enhance your Canvas course, please visit the Engaging with Students Online course or see the Canvas guides, which provide a valuable resource containing detailed searchable information on all Canvas features. 

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