Skip to main content Skip to main content

Canvas Spotlight: video discussions

Use discussion boards and YuJa to enhance your online classroom.

By Alex McDaniel, Chelsea Posey and Nicholas Ogg

February 9, 2021

Holding discussions in an online course can have a very different feeling from having discussions in a face-to-face classroom. However, online discussions can still help students master content, explore new ideas and build a sense of community even when they may not be meeting with other people in a physical environment. Video discussions are a wonderful strategy that can help simulate the sense of community that students may feel when they see other students in a physical classroom. Students record their responses to the prompt and post their recordings to a discussion board. This strategy boosts student-to-student interaction and targets different learning styles since students will be able to discuss by speaking, listening and viewing visuals instead of relying on writing and reading alone.

Best practices

  • Create prompts and instructions that clearly explain what students should discuss. For example, should students refer to resources in the course in their response? How many other students should they respond to?
  • Use open-ended discussion prompts that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” For example, students could make comparisons and connections to their own lives or current events, or they could argue a position and support it with outside research.
  • Explain which tool students should use and how they should use it (this Canvas Spotlight describes how to use YuJa).

Let’s walk through it together


For complete written step-by-step instructions, head over to the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design Ready Spotlight page.

Have questions?

Want help on this or other teaching and learning topics? Please visit us for live support (10 a.m.-3 p.m., M-F) or try one of our self-help tutorials at

Topics: Academics, Best practices, Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, Excellence, Online Learning

Edit this page