Replace DropThought in Canvas courses

On this page:


DropThought is no longer supported at Indiana University. UITS recommends that you move to one of the following options to collect anonymous feedback from students:

  • To truly replicate the anonymous polling, feedback, and ability to carry on anonymous follow-up conversations with students found in DropThought, UITS recommends anonymous discussion in Top Hat.
  • For simple anonymous polling and feedback, Google Forms works well and integrates simply and seamlessly into Canvas. Forms will not enable anonymous conversations with students in the way DropThought does. If anonymous follow-up is important in your courses, anonymous discussion in Top Hat is a better choice.

Anonymous discussion in Top Hat

If you do not yet have a Top Hat course associated with your Canvas course, follow the directions in Professor: Indiana University Course Set Up Guide.

To create an anonymous survey and discussion in Top Hat:

  1. In your Top Hat course, create a new page. Give it a descriptive title.
  2. Create a question by clicking the blue + sign and choosing Question.
  3. For a simple Likert scale-type survey question, choose Multiple Choice.
  4. Enter your question and your answers. For a survey question, mark all of the answers as Correct Answer.
  5. Under "Response Options", select Anonymous.
  6. Save your question.
  7. Create a discussion by clicking the blue + and choosing Discussion.
  8. Provide the title and topic of your discussion.
  9. Under "Response Options":
    1. For "Responses can be seen by", choose Professor only.
    2. For "Participants are anonymous to", choose Everyone.

      You will see the following statement:

      Anonymous Submission - You will not be able to see what individuals answered, and this discussion cannot be graded. Students cannot see other student submissions. The anonymous setting cannot be changed after the discussion is created.

      To clarify the wording in this message: instructors will not be able to see the identity of the individuals who wrote each response.

  10. Save your discussion, and then save and close your page.
  11. Click Assign.
  12. Choose to assign as Homework (graded) or Review (not graded), fill in the "Start" and "Due" dates and other parameters as needed, and click Assign.
  13. In the upper right, click View URL.
  14. Copy the URL. Click somewhere else on the screen to close the window.

To add the new page to your Canvas course:

  1. Back in your Canvas course, add an "External URL" module item to your module.
  2. Enter the URL of your Top Hat page.
  3. Click Add Item and give the item an appropriate name in the "Page Name" box. UITS recommends that you name this page the same thing you named the page in Top Hat to make it easier for the students to identify the correct page when they get into Top Hat.
  4. Publish the module item.

When your students click the item, they may have to authenticate to Top Hat if they haven't previously accessed Top Hat during their current Canvas session. They will see the assigned page on the Top Hat left navigation. When they choose the page, they will be able to participate in the discussion and answer the survey question. In addition, you will be able to follow up anonymously with students if you wish, using the Comment button in each individual student response.

Anonymous polling using Google Forms

You can create a Google form using Google at IU and embed it in a Canvas course. To do so:

  1. Log into and navigate to Google at IU My Drive.
  2. From your Google My Drive, in the top left, click New. Click More and then Google Forms.
  3. Give your form a title.
  4. To create a Likert scale-type question, choose Linear scale. You can also use Multiple Choice or Dropdown question types.
  5. To create a free response question, choose Paragraph or Short answer. Enter your question.
  6. Click the gear icon in the upper right to adjust your settings.
    1. By default, Google Forms creates anonymous surveys.
    2. Make sure Collect email addresses is unchecked.
    3. Uncheck the box labeled Restrict to users in Indiana University and trusted domains, as this will require students to log in and may make them skeptical of how anonymous the survey actually is.
  7. Click SEND, and then choose Send via a link for the simplest, most seamless experience for your students.
  8. Copy the link.
  9. Go to your Canvas course and create a new module item.
  10. Choose External URL.
  11. Paste the link for the form into the "URL" field. Enter a title in the "Page Name" field.
  12. Click Add Item, and then publish the new module item.

When your students reply to the survey, you can view the responses in the Responses tab on your Google Forms page.

Get help

For further assistance with DropThought alternatives, instructors can get help through the teaching and learning centers on each campus.

This is document awpb in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2020-06-03 09:18:31.

Contact us

For help or to comment, email the UITS Support Center.