Available since 2021 as a feature preview, the Canvas Discussions Redesign will be enforced beginning in the 2024 Summer term.  Canvas has announced it will enforce the redesign on July 20, 2024, so Canvas@UD plans to enforce the update on May 29 to provide consistency in 24J course sites.  The update will also affect Announcements since they are a shared feature.  Once enforced, instructors will no longer be able to use the legacy Discussion and Announcements features.   The redesigned Discussions and Announcements aims to create a more engaging, user-friendly, and efficient interface for all users.  Please review the Canvas workshop calendar for upcoming introductory overview sessions of the redesign.

Please note, Canvas has modified dates as enforcement approaches in response to community feedback in the past.  If there are updates before the 24J term begins, this enforcement date may change.  

Interface changes in the Discussions/Announcements Redesign include:

  • The toolbar has been moved to the top of the discussion and announcement thread.
  • Newest replies display at the top of the first page instead of the bottom of the last page.
  • Users can sort replies from newest to oldest, or oldest to newest.
  • Users can also quickly move to the top of the discussion or announcement at any time.
  • Users can also expand all existing threads.

The main feature options currently available in the Discussions/Announcements Redesign are:

  • Reply sidebar – Threaded discussions now appear in a sidebar.  Click the number of replies link under a discussion reply to display the sidebar.
  • Anonymous discussions – Instructors can enable this on a per discussion basis and also configure whether students can also create anonymous discussions
  • Mentions – Mention other users in discussion replies by using the @ symbol.
  • Quoted replies – Quote other replies as part of a discussion reply. A quoted reply will @mention the post’s author as well as quote the first line of the original post.
  • Reply reporting for inappropriate, offensive and/or abusive comments (instructors can choose to enable this feature for students.

Once enabled, click the gear icon  in the Discussions tool to select preferred student settings.

Please note the following if the Anonymous Discussions setting is enabled:

  • Grading and groups are not supported.
  • Anonymity can be configured as either full (student names and profile pictures hidden) or partial (students can choose to reveal their names and profile pictures).
  • Users with a instructor, TA, or designer role in the course will never be anonymous.
  • Student posts will be anonymous to everyone in the course, including instructors and TA’s.
  • @ mentions are not supported.

The update can be enabled at any time in your course using Settings -> Feature Options.  Since the update consists of mostly interface changes, users can toggle between the classic and redesigned interface until the enforcement date for comparison without affecting core functionality.  But since the interface changes only affect individual discussions, not the Discussions tool page, students may require additional teacher support until all courses use the redesign.


If you have any questions about the changes or about how to use Canvas effectively, IT-Academic Technology Services staff is always available at the IT-ATS Welcome Bar or you can send your questions to canvas-info@udel.edu.