Discussions in Canvas

Bruin Learn - Discussions

Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions, allowing both instructors and students to start and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired. Discussions allows for interactive communication between two or more people; users can participate in a conversation with an entire class or group.

There are two different types of discussion in Bruin Learn:

Threaded Discussions are better for long-term or in-depth discussion topics. This type of discussion would be best for topics that will be focused on throughout the length of a course. In these types of discussions, students can reply to the original topic of the discussion or they can reply directly to a fellow student’s comment. This allows for several layers of nested replies to build up within a discussion.

Focused Discussions are best for short-term discussion topics. So this type of discussion would be best for topics that are important for a specific reading or for a short-term group project. In focused discussions, students can only reply to the original discussion topic, they can not reply to their fellow student’s comments. This does not allow for more than two levels of nested replies to ever form.

Discussions in Bruin Learn

The discussions panel in your Bruin Learn course can be found by looking for “Discussions” in the left hand navigation panel of your course site. Here you have the ability to create any number of Discussions for your course needs. You also have the option to separate discussions into Pinned Discussions, Discussions, and Closed for Comment Discussions.

Pinned discussions is a place you can put discussions that you want students to see immediately when they enter this page on your course site. This can be for discussions on specific topics relevant to the current course materials, question and answer discussions where students can connect with each other, their TAs, or you as the instructor, or a place for general announcements you wish to be easy to locate.

Discussions is the location where all discussion you build in your course site will live. Unless otherwise specified to be under pinned discussion or closed for comments, this is the main repository for the discussion for your course.

Closed for comment discussions can be found in this area, located at the bottom of your Discussions page. Discussions can be moved here by clicking on the three vertical buttons to the right of the discussion name, then selecting “close for comments”. You can always move discussions out of this section by selecting “open for comments”.

How can Discussions be Utilized in my Bruin Learn course?

The following section will detail how best to approximate different types of CCLE Forums within Bruin Learn using the Discussion tool. These instructions are meant primarily for Instructors to help you manage your Bruin Learn course site.

Announcement forum

  • In the case of Announcement forums, the closest approximation in Bruin Learn would be a Focused Discussion that was pinned in the Discussion board. The discussion itself can be named “Announcements” if desired.

    • To create a Focused Discussion in Bruin Learn follow the steps provided in the documentation link below about creating discussions as an instructor. Be sure that when selecting options for your discussion, you do not select to allow for threaded replies. As a default, discussion built in Bruin Learn are created as Focused Discussion unless otherwise specified in the discussion options.

Discussion forum

  • In the case of a General Discussion Forum, the closest approximation in Bruin Learn would be to create a Threaded Discussion. This type of discussion can be pinned in your Discussion board for your course website or you can make several different discussions that may pertain to a specific topic in your course. Examples could be questions regarding different units or modules in your class as well as specific discussions set up for mid-term or final exam review.

    • to create a Threaded Discussion in Bruin Learn follow the steps provided in the documentation link below about creating discussions as an instructor. Remember, to create a Threaded Discussion, you need to ensure that the option to allow for threaded replies is selected in the discussion options when making a new discussion within Bruin Learn.

Q and A forum

  • The closest approximation to a Q and A forum in Bruin Learn is to create a Focused Discussion that only allows students to view their classmates responses after they themselves have posted to the discussion board. To help distinguish it from any other Focused Discussion you have in your Bruin Learn course site, you can name it Q and A Discussion.

    • To create your Question and Answer discussion in Bruin Learn, follow the directions in the documentation link below about adding new discussion to your course site. Remember, once you have selected to create a new discussion, and you have named your new discussion, be sure to leave the box next to “allow for threaded replies” blank, and be sure to check the box next to “Users must post before seeing replies”. This will require students to post in reply to the Q and A discussion question you as the instructor created before they can view any replies made by their classmates.

Group Restricted forum

  • The closest approximation to a Group Restricted Forum in Bruin Learn is to create either a Focused or Threaded Discussion in Bruin Learn. For the overall effectiveness of group discussions however, a Threaded Discussion may be most useful.

    • As with the other types of Discussion in Bruin Learn, to begin to create a Group Restricted Discussion, please follow the documentation link below. However, once you name your new discussion in Bruin Learn, and select it to be either threaded or focused, you need to select “this is a Group Discussion” underneath “Group discussion”. Once you select this option, a window will pop up on your computer screen and ask you to enter a Group name, provide you the option to allow the discussion group to self-signup, or allow you to divide students into groups based on a) the number of groups desired, b) the numbers of students per a group, or c) manually assign students into a group. Once you select how you would like students to be divided up into groups, you can also select to ensure students must be in the same section in order to be placed into a group together. Lastly, you can choose to have a student placed as the group ‘leader’ within a Group Discussion. The options provided are a) the first student to join the group is designated as the leader or b) a student is randomly selected from the group to be the leader. For further information about creating Groups in Bruin Learn, please see the documentation linked below.

Please note, unlike in CCLE Forums, Bruin Learn Discussions do not allow for several different topics to be included within a discussion. Instead, if instructors wish to have several topics up for discussion, then each topic will need to be the focus of it’s own Discussion (focused or threaded). All these Discussions however can be within the same module to make it easier for student’s and instructor’s to locate within Bruin Learn.

Also, remember to Publish all new discussions if you want them to be visible to your students within your course site. Any unpublished discussions or other course materials will NOT be visible to your students.

Helpful Links:

What are Discussions (on Canvas)?

How do I create a discussion as an instructor?

How do I publish or unpublish a discussion as an instructor?

How do I reply to a discussion as an instructor?

How do I view and sort discussion replies as an instructor?