Canvas discussion redesign 

Reading Time: 2 minutes Big changes are coming to Canvas in May, including a brand-new discussion interface and an external program dedicated to enhancing students’ online experiences.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new notification recently popped up on the summer 2024 students of two new features coming to the software; one Canvas-related and the other pertaining to external software, called YuJa Panorama

The first feature is a Canvas update, which will redesign the Discussion Board interface. “No existing Discussion functionality is going away,” explains the official publication detailing the Discussions Redesign. “The redesign is solely focused on elevating the current Discussion experience.” 

Some key points in the new update include a “cleaner” user interface (UI), inline and split-screen viewing options, flexible grading for full and/or partial anonymity, quoting functionality, improved search, and more filtering and sorting preferences. Additionally, integrated into a feature officially called “Reply reporting,” instructors are now notified when a post is reported.  

“The new redesign allows for better peer-to-peer interaction through a modern discussion forum,” the same publication outlines. The new redesign “allows for a more relevant and more efficient Discussion experience.”  

An informational video highlights a new feature that enables teachers to assign peer responses. The new UI will open the thread of replies on a post, rather than corrugate them in a long list for students to scroll through. Users and members of the Canvas Community are actively discussing the new update, asking questions and making comments.  

The second feature coming to Canvas is through the integration of YuJa Panorama, an external program that makes digital content more accessible and supports additional file formats. Panorama Browser aims to put students in control of their own learning environment, “allowing them to create a personalized, accessible browsing experience.” Panorama boasts several reviews from esteemed organizations expressing gratitude for Panorama’s dedication to student experience, accessibility compliance and quality assurance.  

Its “Self-Service Accessibility Features to Meet Each Student’s Needs” provides easy ways to “scan, store, and enhance” downloadable files in a “personal content repository.” Students can also share workflows.  

The website accessibility tool allows students to create a “customizable browsing experience” and adjust the UI of any website by altering fonts, spacing, and color/contrast. Pre-generated UI profiles accommodate several conditions that may benefit from a customized experience; the seven profiles address motor impairment, dyslexia, cognitive and learning needs, seizures and epilepsy, color blindness, visual impairment, and ADHD.  

Other tools include real-time suggestions, Learning Management System (LMS) accessibility, and those related to analytics and reporting.  

Both features will be implemented in Canvas on May 6, 2024. For questions, contact the Office of Teaching & Learning by emailing [email protected], calling 801-663-8255, or visiting the office on the fifth floor of the Fulton Library.