Canvas End of Semester / Term

The following will help instructors understand how the end of semester is handled in Canvas, and how to update related Canvas course settings if necessary. By default, students who complete a class continue to have read-only access to the concluded class’s course materials, discussions, and grades. If you wish to restrict concluded class access, you must change the class settings before the end of the term, or get a Canvas administrator to help you after the end of the term.

Everything below applies to typical term-based Canvas classes. Canvas sandbox classes and Canvas shells used for organizations, departments, groups, etc. are not tied to any particular terms and thus remain available indefinitely.

Closing your Course

There is nothing you have to do to close your Canvas course; at the term end date (see below), your course will be set to Concluded status and moved onto the Past Enrollments course list for you and your students. By default you and your students will continue to have read-only access to the course.

Canvas Term End Dates

SemesterDateTime
Fall 2020Dec 3112 am
Spring 2021June 112 am
Summer 2021August 14 12 am

Concluded Course Access

For both instructors and students, concluded courses can be found by clicking Courses in the main Canvas menu, then the All Courses link. Concluded courses are listed there under Past Enrollments. Concluded courses may not be moved back onto the Dashboard – they must be accessed in this way.

Instructors can perform the following actions with a concluded course

Instructors cannot perform the following actions within a concluded course (do these before the end of the term!)

  • Edit course content
  • Edit Grades
  • View/download Analytics
  • View/download Item Analysis within Quizzes
  • Send a message to the class within Canvas
  • Change class access settings
  • Change class navigation

Students can perform the following actions by default within a concluded course

  • View Grades
  • View course content
  • View Discussions and Assignments
  • Send a message to the instructor

Students cannot perform the following actions within a concluded course

  • View Quiz questions and answers
  • Submit discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other course activities

Restricting Students from Viewing Some or All of a Completed Course

As described above, by default in Canvas, students have ongoing read-only access to course content in Canvas after the term ends. This can be a great feature, allowing students to review key learning resources from previous semesters. If, however, you wish to limit this access, follow one of the methods below before the end of the term. (If you need to make these changes to a course that is already concluded, contact Karen Turpin for assistance at kturpin@miracosta.edu or 760-795-6787.)

Method 1: Hide Course Navigation menu links

If an instructor would like to limit access to major areas of course content, one method is to hide Navigation menu links. Note that if Navigation menu links are hidden, the instructor will also be unable to access them after the course concludes. This may be appropriate if you would like to leave Grades available to students, yet close off certain course content. The instructor may copy the course into another course to regain access to hidden menu items.

How to hide Course Navigation menu links

  1. Click Settings in the Canvas course menu
  2. Click Navigation in the tabs at the top.
  3. Drag and drop the menu items from the top (viewable) area to the bottom (hidden) area or click the gear icon to the right of the menu item and select disable.
  4. Click the Save button.

Method 2: Hide select course content

For more fine-grained control, certain course content such as files, pages, modules, or module items (but not assignments or discussions where students have participated) may be unpublished. As with hidden Navigation menu links, unpublished items are also inaccessible to the instructor after the course concludes.

If you wish to hide course items where students have participated, such as discussions or assignments, you cannot unpublish those. But there is a trick: simply set the availability date to sometime far in the future.

These options may be useful if you want students to be able to access most course content, but have select content that you prefer not to be accessed/shared in the future. The instructor may copy the course into a current course to be able to revisit/reuse hidden content.

Method 3: Restrict students from accessing entire course after end date

If an instructor would prefer the entire course and its course materials not be visible to students after the course end date:

  1. Click Settings in the Canvas course menu
  2. Select the checkbox for ‘Restrict students from viewing course after end date’Restrict past end date
  3. Click the Update Course Details button.

This option will completely remove the course from the student’s view in Past Enrollments. Students will not see the course and will have no access to course materials or grades. Instructors will continue to be able to access the course in Past Enrollments.

Resolving Incompletes

If you have assigned a student an incomplete ‘I‘ grade for the semester contact Karen Turpin at kturpin@miracosta.edu or 760-795-6787 as soon as the paperwork is complete with Admissions and Records. Karen will create a new Canvas course section based on the original course.  This new section will allow the student access to the course with the ability to submit work, and will give you access to grade the student’s work, for the time allowable by the Office of Admissions and Records.

Working with Concluded Courses to Build New Courses

As noted above, you may always export a concluded course for import back into Canvas (Text instructions), or use a concluded course as the source for copying into a new course (Text instructions | Video tutorial). If you wish to update the content of a concluded course for use in the future, but you do not have a current term course in which to do that, you may wish to request a Sandbox course to copy into and work with, since you cannot edit a concluded course directly.

Teaching a short course and/or need to close your course prior to the official term end date?

You can manually end your course by updating the course end date.

To change the Course Start and/or End Date

  1. Click on Settings in the Canvas course menu
  2. Change the Course Start and End Dates to reflect when you want students to have full access to the course.
  3. Select the checkbox for Users can only participate in this course between these dates.
  4. Click the Update Course Details button.

In the example below, students will not be able to access the course, even if it is published, until Jan 16 at 12 am. The students will no longer be able to participate in the course after May 30  at 5 pm and the course will be visible to students in the ‘Past Enrollments’ list by clicking on Courses, then All Courses.

Start / End Term Canvas Dates

  • Note: If you select a course end date prior to the official end of term date, but do not check the box Users can only participate in this course between these dates, students will still be able to actively participate in the course until the official Canvas end of term (as shown in the table above).

Adding faculty evaluators, tutors, SI leaders, and community ed students to Canvas classes

You cannot manually enroll users at the student permission level to your Canvas class.

If you have any of the following, follow the specified directions to have the user enrolled within your course at the student permission level.

  • Faculty Evaluator: Contact Heidi Willis at (760) 795-6827 or hwillis@miracosta.edu in the Office of Instruction when you need to provide access to a peer, your chair, etc. to conduct an evaluation. On the People roster, within Canvas, the user will be assigned the Evaluator role.
  • Tutor: Contact Janine Washabaugh at (760) 757-2121 ext. 7748 or jwashabaugh@miracosta.edu in the Tutoring & Academic Support Center (TASC) . On the People roster, within Canvas, the user will be assigned the Tutor role.
  • Writing Center SI Leader: Contact Jessica Perez-Corona at (760) 757-2121 ext. 6339 or jperezcorona@miracosta.edu in the Writing Center. On the People roster, within Canvas, the user will be assigned the SI leader role.
  • Community Education Student: Contact Karen Turpin using the form here or email kturpin@miracosta.edu. Include the confirmation of student enrollment through community education, the SURF ID of the student, and your 4 digit class number.

Also, keep in mind:

To add a TA or other MiraCosta College employee to your Canvas course with TA, designer, or observer permissions, see this set of instructions.

DO NOT attempt to add students to your course on Canvas. Students are automatically enrolled from SURF to your Canvas course several times a day.

You should not add anyone to Canvas as a teacher. Teachers are assigned via SURF.

FERPA Compliance and Student Interaction in Merged Canvas Course Sections

Please download a PDF or download a Word version of this guide for future reference as you develop and teach merged Canvas courses.

Faculty may request to merge Canvas courses when they are teaching multiple sections of the same course in order to more efficiently share the same content across course sections, freeing up time for other instructional activity. This must be done prior to the start date of the course sections. For detailed steps on how to request combining of course sections, download the Combine your Class sections in SURF for Canvas guide.

However, according to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, students cannot have access to student information (including the fact of their enrollment) of students in course sections other than their own (with the exception noted below). Because of this requirement, students are not allowed to interact within a Canvas course with students from another course section.

Canvas limits the visibility of students from other sections in a merged Canvas course. However, this does not cover all Canvas tools, so if you request to merge Canvas courses, you’ll need to take additional steps to protect your students’ privacy, as outlined in this document.

NOTE: FERPA restrictions do not apply to a merged Canvas course if students physically meet in the same classroom at the same time (i.e. “true cross-listed courses”). Course sections that meet simultaneously typically are combined in Canvas by default, and this document is not relevant for those merged courses.

What Canvas Does for You

In Canvas courses merged upon faculty request, students are prevented from seeing students in sections other than their own in

  • the full roster view of the People tool,
  • and the Inbox (Conversations).

What You Must Do to Maintain FERPA Compliance in a Merged Canvas Course

Click Settings in your course menu and:

  1. Under the Navigation tab, be sure that the Chat and Conferences items are hidden from students. If they are active (appearing in the top grouping of navigation items), drag them to the lower grouping or click the gear icon at the right of each and click Disable. Be sure to scroll down and click Save at the bottom.
  2. Under the Course Details tab, scroll down and click more options. Make sure that:
    Let students create discussion topics is NOT checked
    Let students organize their own groups
    is NOT checked
    Disable comments on announcements IS checked

    Click the Update Course Details button at bottom.

Ensure that each section has its own separate discussion:

  1. For graded discussions, restrict each discussion to an individual section using the Assign to option. See Canvas guide for details. See further details on section restriction under the What You May Do section below.
  2. For ungraded discussions, use the Post to option (immediately below the discussion description) to select an individual section for the discussion.
  3. Note – if you want each section to engage in discussions about the same topics, simply Duplicate the original discussion and modify it so it is available to a different section of students.

If/when you create Groups

Select the option to Require group members to be in the same section when creating a group set. See Canvas guide for details.

If/when you create Collaborations

Be sure to add students to Collaborations who are enrolled in the same course section. The Collaboration setup screen doesn’t display section information for students, so you will need to refer to the People area.

If/when you send a Canvas Inbox message to students from multiple sections

Select the option to Send an individual message to each recipient. This will send a separate copy to each recipient and hide the names of the recipients in the message header. You may also compose messages addressed to all members of a specific course section.

If/when you offer synchronous (live) online sessions (e.g. use Zoom)

Hold separate synchronous meetings with each section. When you record a synchronous meeting, share the recording only with the section that participated in the meeting.

What You May Do: Setting Calendar Events and Assignment Due Dates by Section

Note: This section is not required for FERPA compliance but may be helpful for managing a merged course if you would like to create differentiated events/activities for different sections.

The following Canvas Guides will help you create Canvas activities/assignments specific to a particular section within a merged course:

(Discussions must be separated by section – see notes in the What You Must Do section above.)

Note that when creating events/activities that are differentiated by section, you will need to select the section name in the Assign to area, which displays only a few options and is not scrollable. If your desired section is not displayed as an option, you will need to type in the section name until it shows up as an option to select.

Section names can be seen if you click Settings in the Course Menu and then the Sections tab. You may also click People in the course menu to see which section each enrolled student is assigned to. Sections with students have names ending in -SURF; to include your test student account in any differentiated activity in a merged course, you would also need to include one of the -OTHER sections available within the merged course.

Acknowledgements

Portions of this document are adapted from material originally developed by Seattle University and modified by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College district. Additional portions are adapted from material developed by Indiana University and modified by Cornell University.

Get Support

If you have any question or need assistance with combining courses in SURF for Canvas contact the MiraCosta College Employee Helpdesk at (760) 795-6850 or open a helpdesk ticket in the portal.

Stay Up To Date with Changes Happening within Canvas

Visit the new Upcoming Canvas Changes page within the Canvas Community. This page is updated by Instructure and is the central location for communicating all Canvas’s significant upcoming changes. Canvas recommends you click the Follow button at the top of the document so you will receive all updates as they are made available. You may also want to review the upcoming Canvas Release Notes to find out what is coming soon and when. Check the Canvas System Status Updates for real time updates about existing features within Canvas.

Student Support Guide Module from Canvas Commons

The MiraCosta College Student Support Guide Module is available from the Canvas Commons.

This module has relevant student resources and links that would be appropriate to go within the first week course content within a Canvas course.

Go to the Commons in Canvas and search “Student Support Guide” and you will be able to access it. 

Directions


Student Support Guide

1 2 3 11