It’s 8 pm on a Thursday. Your students submitted their discussion prompts in Canvas LMS earlier in the week. By 8 pm on Thursday, they needed to reply to two classmates. I don’t need to set the scene any further. You’ve been there. You know how tedious it is to sort through the never-ending scroll of posts, figuring out who has replied to their classmates and who hasn’t. 

Scrolling my life away…

Don’t get us wrong. It’s important work. Authentic discussions, created from a student’s experience and not an AI chatbot, are crucial to student development. We believe in the power of these discussions so much that we created the free Discussion Moderator Library for Annotate PRO to help out our fellow educators in this important task. But just because it’s important doesn’t mean it can’t be mind-numbingly tedious. Seeing how students are processing what you teach them and connecting it to their experiences is rewarding. The problem is the format. 

How do you, at 8 pm, figure out which students have completed the assignment on time? How do you both hold students accountable and encourage them to interact? After all, as Inside Higher Ed stated: 

The ultimate goal of a discussion board assignment is to get students talking to each other.

Inside Higher Ed

The answer to all these difficulties: Canopy. How long does it take you to sort out which students have replied on time? With Canopy it takes seconds. Canopy is a dashboard showing all the discussions across all your Canvas courses. Get a high-level overview of your student’s participation across all discussions or in this case find out how many replies they’ve made to their classmates.

We’ve selected the Week 1 Discussion and sorted by Replies. 

As you can see in the image above, we’re not off to a great start with our BIO301 class! Half of the students didn’t reply yet. Fortunately, we’ve got a quick way to address this. Canopy has a built-in messaging tool for sending a Canvas Message or Email. 

Message Students in Canopy

With only a few clicks, we’ve sent a Canvas message to all the students who are late in submitting their work. Just select the checkbox next to their name, click the Canvas Message (or Email if you prefer) button, and compose the message from there. Bonus time savings if you save the message in Annotate PRO to avoid having to retype it every time you moderate your course discussions.

With that housekeeping out of the way, now you can dedicate the time you otherwise would’ve spent on sorting through who had replied to actually helping your students improve their critical thinking and communication skills. Best of all, you don’t need to go anywhere. You can see all the student’s original posts and replies to their classmates in Canopy. 

Hover over the number of replies to see the full text of the student’s replies. 

Now you can see the actual substance of the student’s replies. Ona did a fantastic job at making a personal connection with her classmates. Since we know how powerful positive reinforcement is, we want to let her know how great her reply was. 

Clicking reply opens up a box to interact with the discussion. 

From the Reply dialogue, you can see the reply Ona made and the original post by Howard to which she replied. Draft your reply to her and then either post it to the discussion or respond privately by a Canvas Message or regular Email. 

How much more productive will Canopy make your class discussions? Sign up now and find out for yourself – it takes five minutes or less to securely connect your Canvas account to Canopy. A powerful version of Canopy is forever-free for individual educators. Canopy+ is available for an additional $3/month subscription for individual educators or institutions can contact us to bring Canopy to the entire institution. Learn more about Canopy pricing here and see our FAQ, to learn about privacy and other topics, here.