Early Course Access for Students in Canvas

This page describes settings in your Canvas course to control student access to various content.

If you want students to be able to see things in your course prior to the start of the semester:


Click on Settings then uncheck the option "Restrict students from viewing this course before start date" and click on Update Course Details


Publish the course by going to the course Home and clicking Publish

With this done, students WILL be able to:

  • send and receive messages sent through the Inbox (Canvas mail)
  • view the course syllabus page
  • use the Student Sign-up tool to sign-up for social distancing groups
  • view published announcements
  • see published, available assignments
    (If you want some assignments to not be visible you can unpublish them, or add an availability date of a future date.)
  • view published pages, files, and modules

Until the first day of the semester, students will NOT:

  • be able to submit assignments
  • be able to post to discussion boards
  • receive notifications of announcements
  • be able to view unpublished content or content within unpublished modules

Zoom and other external tools must be enabled in all course sections separately

You cannot add it in the Blueprint and have it show up correctly in all the associated sections.

If you don't want students to be able to see content:

Leave the default checked to Restrict students from viewing this course before start date on the course Settings page. You can publish the course, but it won't be available to students until the start of the course.

To communicate with students via email, go to the People page in your Canvas course and click on the Email All Students button. This will open up your default mail program and create a new message with the students emails in the BCC field.

If you don't have a default mail account set-up, you can use the Download Class Roster button on the People page to download a csv list of your students so that you can email them.

Other Course Date Settings

The start and end dates of the courses are controlled by Banner. If you make changes to those dates they will be changed back upon the next sync, usually by the end of the day. This is not an effective way of making courses available to students before the start of the semester.

When to NOT Use a Blueprint Course

  • You are teaching only two sections of a class and you already have the majority of the content built before the start of the semester.  In this case, it will be less of a hassle for you to copy the content into both sections individually and make a few changes to each applicable section.  You won't have to deal with an additional class in Canvas and you won't have to wait for the manual sync process to discover and update changes.
  • If you will be making a lot of changes in one section and not the other(s).  If the sections are going to be significantly different, copying specific content External Link Icon (one page or assignment at a time) will likely save you time in the long run.
  • You are teaching a course that has multiple sections, but all sections are being taught at the same time using the same format.*
* If you are teaching a fully online course, broadcast course, or a course that is dual listed in multiple departments and you are seeing multiple Canvas courses, those courses can be cross listed in Banner and will be listed as the same Canvas course.

Canvas - Get Started