Ed Discussion

As of May 2022, Ed Discussion is available to all Penn faculty, staff, and students. A Canvas integration is available for all courses taught through Penn Canvas.

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Ed Discussion is a discussion tool that provides a platform for students and instructors to interact through threaded discussions. Students can answer one another’s questions, work on and run code together, embed videos, annotate images, and share documents.

Instructors can endorse student responses. Students can like one another’s posts, post anonymously, and receive instructor feedback all in one place.

Ed Discussion’s features foster community and peer learning. Additionally, students may opt to use Ed Discussion to ask questions about the course, which could reduce emails to the instructor.

Ed Discussion is highly customizable with categories for certain questions or threads and an easy-to-use search and filter tool.

How Do I Get Access to Ed Discussion?

If you are using Ed Discussion in a course that will not use Canvas, you may log in with your Penn email address at edstem.org/us/login.

Add Ed Discussion to Canvas

To add Ed Discussion to a Canvas course site, please submit a request to canvas@pobox.upenn.edu or use the following instructions:

  1. Click Settings from your course navigation menu.
  2. Click the Navigation tab near the top of the page.
  3. Locate the Ed Discussion link, and drag it into the “Drag and drop items to reorder them in the course navigation” list. Alternatively, you can click the three vertical dots on the right of the button and select Enable.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save. This will add the link to the course menu.

Using Ed Discussion as an Instructor

We recommend waiting to activate your Ed Discussion course until after your Canvas site has been published. By clicking Activate in your Ed Discussion course, students will receive a notification that the course is live but if your Canvas course site has not been published they will not be able to access Ed Discussion.

The Quick Start Guide provides an excellent preview of the appearance and functionality of discussion threads in Ed Discussion. 

For more detailed guides, please log in to Ed Discussion, select your region, and then go to Help with Using Ed Discussion. If you are already logged into your Ed Discussion Dashboard, click on the person icon found in the upper right corner of the screen and click Help.

Using Ed Discussion as a Student

Students can answer one another’s questions, work on and run code together, embed video, annotate images, and share documents. Many instructors prefer that you use Ed Discussion to ask questions instead of emailing them directly so the whole class can benefit from the question. When posting a question, you can select Post Anonymously so only the instructor can see who is asking.

Ed Discussion allows for many filtering preferences. Students can favorite threads, filter by most recent thread, or by category of question, such as seeing all questions pertaining to lectures. The discussion board is also searchable.

Understanding Thread Icons

  • Threads with a blue dot Blue dot icon are unread. These are threads that you have not seen.
  • Threads with a green checkmark Green checkmark icon are questions that have been resolved. This means that the question has already been answered.
  • Threads with a purple pin Purple push pin icon have been pinned. Pinned threads are generally reserved for announcements or important information.
  • Threads with a blue ribbon Blue ribbon icon have been endorsed by course instructors. This is usually done by instructors to distinguish high-quality content.

Getting Help

For additional help or information, please contact your Local Support Provider or submit a request to canvas@pobox.upenn.edu.

Last Updated: 27 May 2022