Discussions Group Work/Collaboration

Set Up Small Group Discussions

Last updated on October 19, 2021

You can use the Canvas Group Discussions feature to create identical discussion topics for different groups in your class. Students will only be able to see posts from other members of their group. Consider using this feature to group students by interest, create a more intimate environment by reducing the discussion group size, or implement a jigsaw activity where each small group of students learns about a topic then teaches the class. You can also use this tool to facilitate communication for group projects such as collaborative papers, presentations, or research projects.

Note: Before creating a group discussion, you will need to know how to create student groups. Visit the “Create Groups in Canvas” tutorial for more information.


  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas Account.
  4. Select the Course you’d like to work in.
  5. Click Modules on the course navigation menu to the left.
  6. Scroll to the Module where your discussion is located.
  7. Click the Name of the discussion you wish to edit.
  8. Scroll down to the Group Discussion setting.
  9. Check the box for This is a Group Discussion.
  10. Choose an existing Group Set from the drop-down menu, or create a new one by clicking the New Group Category button.
  11. Click Save

Assign Different Discussion Topics or Due Dates to Different Groups

The Group Discussion feature can also be used to assign different due dates to different groups. You can also give an extra discussion to a group, exempt a group from a certain discussion, or assign different discussion topics to different groups, by using the “Assign to” field, described below.

Within the Discussion settings:

  1. Scroll down to the Assign setting.
  2. Click the Assign to box.
  3. Select group.
  4. Choose the due date for that group’s assignment.
  5. Click the +Add button if you wish to give the assignment to another group.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for as many groups as necessary.
  7. Click Save.