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Canvas - How to Manage Student Access to Your Course

This guide is for instructors teaching in Canvas. It explains how to use your Canvas course's access settings to ensure students are able to view your course as soon as it’s ready.

When you’ve prepared your Canvas course modules, activities, and syllabus, and you’re ready for students to access the course, you’ll need to complete two important steps:

  1. Configure Course Participation Settings
  2. Publish Your Course

Configure Student Access to Your Course

When setting up your Canvas course, decide between the Term and Course “Participation” options for managing student access to your course. The Term option is the default for newly-created Canvas courses and will allow students to access your course as soon as you publish it. Students will be able to participate in any open Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes.

Screenshot of Term Participation Setting

If you change the “Participation” dropdown to the Course setting—instead of the default Term option—student participation will be limited to the start and end date you enter in the “Start” and “End” date boxes (located below the “Participation” selector). If you use this Course option, remember to do the following:

  • Enter both a “Start” and “End” date. Choose a start date that corresponds with your class schedule and an end date after the end of your Finals period.
  • Check either of the “Restrict students from viewing course…” checkboxes, as necessary. [We recommend keeping both of these boxes unchecked.]

Screenshot of Course Participation Setting

For more information about managing access to your course by assigning start and end dates, please visit this Canvas Instructor Guide page.

Publish Your Course

When your course is ready, you must publish it, or students won’t be able to access the course and its contents. This is true regardless of how you set the course or section dates, and regardless of whether you publish or unpublish modules, pages, and assignments.

To publish your course, click the Publish button on your course homepage. This button is located in the Course Home Page Sidebar or the Course Settings Sidebar. Please note that on smaller screens, the sidebar may display beneath other page content.

Image of Course Publishing Status
Image of Course Publishing Status

For more information about managing access to your Canvas course using the Publish button, please visit this Canvas Instructor Guide page.

Publishing a course doesn’t automatically publish modules, pages, or assignments in your course and unpublished items are invisible to students. Remember to publish items in your course as you finalize them.

Keywordscanvas basics course setup instructors managing and publishing   Doc ID115485
OwnerMichael M.GroupUW Superior
Created2022-01-04 17:12:37Updated2023-10-27 10:12:43
SitesUW Superior
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