Canvas LMS: New Term Tips for Secondary Schools

Posted by Emil Ahangarzadeh on 1/20/2016

With the coming of the new term for secondary schools, educators from around the district who use the Canvas learning management system (LMS) are preparing for the turn-over into second semester.  The Learning Innovations Through Technology (LIT) Department and the 21st Century Learning Department are preparing a job aid for all teachers to make sure the transition goes over smoothly.  Meanwhile, here are a few points for your consideration:

  • One of the most confusing aspects of Canvas is knowing and understanding what happens when a course is concluded and how the settings made at the course level change the level of access students have in concluded courses.  When a course is concluded, it turns into a read-only archive for both instructors and students. Instructors can no longer enter or change grades and students cannot submit any assignments; notifications cannot be sent nor received.  Instructors can however, copy and export course content.
  • The district has not set any start or end dates for SIS-imported courses.  Therefore, it’s up to you as educators to set the term end date for your current class (via course settings).  We recommend setting a term-end date for one-week after the new semester begins.  In most cases, instructors will need more time to access and work in their courses. At the end of the term, there’s a ton of assignments to grade and once that is all done, instructors may need some time to verify all their grades before they officially submit them.
  • It is important to remember, that Canvas never deletes anything! It just reverts to an “inactive” status and can always be reversed.
  • An instructor can download a course or quiz export file and a concluded course can still be used to copy or import content from.
  • Because of the way our SIS procedures work, instructors will not have enrollment in a course as a teacher until the first day of the new semester.  This means that they will not be able to create a new course until the first day of class.  Until then, we recommend you start a manually-created course to build your content into.  Once your data is populated on day one, you can then copy the manually-created course content into your SIS-sanctioned course.  Some teachers call these place-holder courses ‘Master Courses’ or ‘Sandbox’.  You use them to create/edit course content until the next term’s course shell is populated via SIS.  Alternatively, you can export course content into Commons.

NOTE:  Never begin teaching live course material out of a master course or sandbox course.  Rather, move your course content into the correct SIS created course shell once it available.

As mentioned, there is more information coming but for now, why not join the SAUSD Canvas User Group to get more feedback and support from your peers?  Visit  to sign up or contact Dr. Nicol Howard for more information and support at .