Making Discussions Visible in Canvas

Canvas and Desire2Learn (D2L) share much of the same functionality, but with the move to Canvas there might be confusion about some of the details about how to get the desired results for your courses.  One of the most common questions we are seeing is about how students will access Online Discussions inside the course.  While the advice below was prompted by the questions about Discussions, the same is true for Quizzes and Assignments.

In D2L there was a dedicated “Discussions” button that could be added to the navigation bar.  In Canvas, this same button exists, but it is only available to Instructors for building purposes.  There are two ways to make sure students can access your discussions; place the Discussions in Modules, or make them Graded.

The best way to make sure students can find discussions is to place them in your Modules in the most appropriate location.  Most courses are separated into units, and the discussion can be placed into the appropriate unit for when the Discussion starts.  Other instructors may create a separate unit just for ongoing discussions that are meant to cross multiple units.

It is also worth knowing that all items that are worth points will be visible to students in the Assignments area.  This includes quizzes and discussions.  While we would encourage you to include those items in your Modules, they will also be added to Assignments for you automatically.

If you have additional questions about Canvas please reach out to 24/7/365 support by going to

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