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You can access your Canvas courses as soon as they have been provisioned. Once the semester's class schedule is approved by the Office of the Registrar and published, Canvas shells will begin being automatically provisioned based on the course information in Banner. Specific course provisioning dates will vary from year to year, but will generally follow this schedule:

TermCanvas Course Provisioning Date
Fall Mid-March
Spring Mid-October
Summer Mid-February

Assuming your course has already been provisioned (see When can I access my course(s) in Canvas above), your Canvas Dashboard may not include all the courses that are available to you for a couple reasons:

  1. The Dashboard Course Card's limit of displayed courses is 20. If you have access to more than 20 courses, you will need to access the other courses by clicking the Courses icon, scrolling to the bottom, and clicking the All courses link.
  2. If you have marked any courses as your favorite(s), only those courses will appear on the Dashboard. You can modify your favorites in bulk by clicking the Courses icon, scrolling to the bottom, and clicking the All courses link.

The publishing feature in Canvas allows Teachers to control the visibility of their course and its contents to students.

A gray/green icon on the Homepage of the course indicates the publication status of your course.

The Publish and Unpublish buttons in Canvas

Courses are published by default, and should not be unpublished unless you have extenuating circumstances—unpublishing the course can create problems with your course and with student access. If the course is published, it will be visible to students on the start date of the class. Once a course contains a graded submission, the course can no longer be unpublished.

Course content can also be individually published/unpublished. Published content in Canvas is indicated by a green checkmark as published status. Unpublished content is indicated by a gray circle icon with a slash through it. Students will only be able to view published content.

Additional Canvas guides:

Students will see your course in their list of classes in Canvas as soon as they are enrolled in the course. However, they will not gain access to it until (by default) two days before the start date, and will lose access to it six days after the course has ended.

Just like in Blackboard, you can set different dates for the course to be available to students. This option is available within the course Settings menu. Please note:

  • You can change the class to open earlier or close later, but you will want to make sure that it is always open for the official scheduled semester.
  • Courses should not be unpublished unless you have extenuating circumstances.
  • Courses cannot be unpublished once a student has a graded submission.

Your migrated course is not the student-facing course that will be populated with students. You can copy your migrated course content into any Student-facing course that you are given Instructor access to.

Students will be enrolled in courses according to the semester's registration and enrollment timeframe. For Fall 2020, those enrollments will start 7/20/2020.

If you are developing a course and would like to work on it before you put it in your student-facing course, we recommend copying the migrated content into one of your available Sandbox courses and developing the course there before copying it from the Sandbox course into the live course. For more information on how to copy course content and introduction tutorials on Canvas, please visit the Canvas Introduction tutorial page.

Canvas courses show all students that are actively registered, as well as any students that have dropped the class. Students that dropped will be identifiable by the "inactive" icon next to their name when you access the People tool within the course. Inactive students will also automatically be hidden from the grade center.

Students that have dropped must remain in the course's list of students so faculty can retrieve those students' activity information to respond to financial aid requests for participation data (for title IV returns of funds inquiries) from the MSU Denver Office of Financial Aid.

Canvas permissions allow users to access certain features and perform certain functions. Roles are essentially collections of permissions set for a particular role. A user's permissions are determined by the role(s) the user is assigned.


  • Users in the Teacher, TA, and Near-Peer 1 roles can view and edit student grade information.
  • Users in the Teacher, TA, Designer, Near-Peer 1, Near-Peer 2, and Internal Guest roles can add/edit/delete course content.

The following roles are available in Canvas at MSU Denver. If you would like to see more specific details for each role, please see the MSU Denver Canvas role detail information spreadsheet.

Role Description
Teacher For instructors and assistants who need full access to the Canvas course features for instruction.
TA For partner instructors with full access to the course, and when there is the need to differentiate the primary instructor and the partner instructor. Note this is different from adding a co-instructor in Banner.
Designer For instructional designers (and staff with similar responsibilities) who write and manage course content in courses or sections they will not be teaching.
Student For students enrolled in the course. Can also be used for colleagues that want to export some part of a course, a colleague that would like to visit another instructor's course to explore/observe it, or a student acting in a TA-like role but without grading responsibilities.
Near-Peer 1 (similar to the Teacher role) For course support representatives who should have access to creating, moderating, and editing information within a course, but not have access to edit the overall course state/visibility, view Grades audit trail (but can view and edit grades), view student 900#s, remove users from the course, or manage moderated assignments.

Near-Peer 1 allows for the most course access of the Near-Peer roles. Use this for LA/SI/TAs and similar support representatives if you want them to function as another instructor/team teacher in the course with access to grades.
Near-Peer 2 (similar to the TA role) For course support representatives with the same course access as Near-Peer 1 but excludes all grade access.
Near-Peer 3 (similar to the Student role) Near-Peer 3 is the most restricted Near-Peer role. It gives support representatives similar privileges as students enrolled in the course with the added ability to interact with the whole class and moderate discussions. Specific added abilities are to send conversations to the entire course, add/edit/delete calendar entries, add/edit/delete course content/files, moderate discussions, view all student groups within the course, view and link to question banks, add/edit/delete rubrics, and view student MSU Denver NetIDs.
Internal Guest NOTE: This role has course content add/edit/delete capability.

To share content without granting this permission directly, use the “Direct Share” features in Canvas using the steps outlined on this Canvas knowledgebase article.
Observer For support of a specific student. Observers can be linked to a student or multiple students and can view only those students’ data in the course. Observers cannot submit work on behalf of the students they observe, but they can see student grades, assignments, events, and course interactions. More information can be found in the Canvas Observer Guide.

Please note you can only add users that have an active MSU Denver email account to your course.

  1. Click on People from the course navigation menu.
  2. Click +People in the top-right corner.
  3. In the pop-up window that appears, select how you want to add users to the course. (Since the Login ID is the MSU Denver email address in our system, your selection doesn't matter; you'll enter the same information in either case).
  4. Type the user's email address into the text box provided. Note you can add multiple users at once by putting a comma between each user.
  5. Select the user's intended role. Please see "How are permissions assigned in Canvas? What are user roles?" above for more information about user roles.
  6. Once you have selected roles, the Next button should appear. Click it to proceed.
  7. Canvas will verify the account(s) is valid. If valid, you will see the following message in green: "The following users are ready to be added to the course."
  8. Click the Add Users button to add the desired user(s) to your course.

Canvas will automatically send an invitiation to participate in the course to any users added this way. The user's status will display as pending in your user list until they accept the invitation.

In addition to the University's email system, Canvas allows you to reach out to your students in a variety of ways. Please check the Communication tutorials page for more information.

Although there is no way in Canvas to tell if a student has fully watched or read a piece of content, there are multiple tools that will let you view a student's level of engagement and see if they have accessed specific pieces of content at all.

  • The Course Access Report will give you a summary of user participation in your course. More information.
  • User Page Views will give you the URLs of pages within your course that a particular student(s) has accessed. More information.
  • New Analytics can show you how well a student is performing in your course. More information.

Canvas does not have any browser lockdown options. However, MSU Denver does have proctoring and other exam-securing services available. Please see the Testing Center website or the ProctorU entry on the 3rd-party FAQ page for information about those services. For tutorials on creating Canvas quizzes using ProctorU, please see the CTLD's Quizzes/Tests tutorial page.

Please see the Canvas Knowledgebase for detailed information about Student View.

While you cannot edit the official course title for your courses in Canvas, you can add a nickname that appears on the Dashboard Card for your course. Additionally, you can add a course image to the Dashboard Card to make a visual representation of your course.

Please check the Use Appointment Groups to Host Virtual Office Hours heading on the CTLD's Communication tutorials page.

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