Canvas: Beginning and End of Term Information

Beginning of term information

Course availability

Canvas course sites for all classes are automatically made available to instructors six months before a term's start date. Course sites are updated twice daily with M-Pathways enrollment data changes.

By default, students can see a published course starting 4 weeks before the start of the term. To override this setting, see Changing Course Access.

1 Section = 1 Canvas Course

With the exceptions of already-crosslisted courses, meet-togethers, and graduate/undergrad courses, Canvas courses are automatically created as 1 section = 1 Canvas course. Instructors can combine two or more sections into a single Canvas course using the U-M Course Manager, which is in the left-hand navigation. Click "Help" in the tool for step-by-step instructions. You can also contact the Service Center at 734-764-HELP (764-4357) or

Reusing Canvas course content in an upcoming term

If you currently have a Canvas course and would like to reuse the content in a course for an upcoming term, you can use the Canvas import feature. You can reuse course settings, syllabus, assignments, modules, files, pages, and discussions. It’s also possible to import and adjust events and due dates.

Importing content from another Canvas course

Remember to publish your course — and everything in it!

The instructor must publish a Canvas course site before students in the course can see it. Once published, it will appear in the Wolverine Access Student Center for students registered for the course. By default, students can see a published course starting 4 weeks before the start of the term. To override this setting, see Changing Course Access

Canvas content items are published idependently. To publish an item, click the Publsh button while in edit mode or the Publish button in list view.

Course visibility

By default, cousrse visiblity is limited to the course site members.

You have the option (under Settings) to make your published course site visible to:

  1. only members of the class 
  2. anyone with a U-M uniqname (institutional visibility)
  3. anyone with or without a uniqname (public visibility). 

Student submissions are hidden in both the institutional and public views, but extra caution should be taken to ensure that student information is not inadvertently made visible. For example, you have the option to allow students to add Discussions topics. Unlike responses, topics are not considered student submissions and will be visible. Also, an instructor may include student work in a file that would be visible in an institutionally or publicly available course.

For detailed information, see Canvas Course Visibility Options (PDF).

Changing course access — term start and end dates

Students can access your Canvas courses once you have published it. Students, instructors, designers and observers have write-access (i.e., can post announcements, discussions, resubmit assignments, etc.) after the term ends. 

If you would like to specify a date when students can access your course (after it's published), or if you do not want students to have continued access after the term ends, complete the following steps to change the dates.

Regardless of the term start date, students do not have access to your course until you have (1) published any modules, assignments, pages and quizzes you want them to see by clicking the pubslish icon next to the item's name so it turns green, and (2) published your course.

Canvas unpublished to published icon.

To override the default access settings in your course:

  1. While in your Canvas course, click Settings in the left navigation menu.
  2. On the Course Details tab, enter the desired date(s) in the Starts and/or Ends fields. Alternatively, you can click the calendar icon in each field to select the desired date.
  3. Click the checkbox to indicate that users can only participate in the course between these dates (if you omit this option, the date changes will have no effect).
  4. Click Update Course Details to save your changes.

What to do if there are extra sections in your class

Canvas courses are automatically created as 1 section = 1 Canvas course, with the exceptions of already-crosslisted courses, meet-togethers, and graduate/undergrad courses.

If you think there may be an error in the number of sections, please call the ITS Service Center at 734-764-HELP (4357) or email

Adding waitlisted students and others

An Instructor or Designer in a course can add anyone; TAs can only add students.

  1. While in your Canvas course, click the People link in the left navigation menu.
  2. Click the blue + People link.
  3. The "Add People" window will open.
  4. Add one or more U-M users by typing their full email address in the window provided. Separate multiple addresses with a comma.
  5. Select a role for the user(s)
  6. Choose the section.
  7. Click Next
  8. Canvas should recognize the user's full name on the next screen.
  9. If it is correct, click Add Users.
  10. If there is an error, click Start Over.

 Non U-M users may be added with the U-M Course Manager tool in the course navigation.

If you are adding a user as a TA, you can improve performance in grading by checking the "Can grade students in their section only" box.

    Friend accounts

    To access Canvas, users must either be sponsored by a UM school or department, or be added as a Canvas external user using the Course Manager Tool. External users can also be added to a Canvas course site by the ITS Service Center (734-764-HELP or

    Late withdrawals

    Students who withdraw from a course after the drop/add deadline are marked as inactive in Canvas and will lose access to all course content. 

    In Canvas, students will still show in Sections under Current Enrollments, but will be listed as "Inactive" in the People Tool. The Inactive enrollment status allows instructors to view the student's prior activity in a course but does not allow the student to access course content. Other students in the course will not see students with an inactive enrollment status.

    End of term information

    Teaching Evaluations at the end of the term

    Teaching Evaluations follow the standard U-M process: students receive an email when the evaluations open and reminder emails every other day until the evaluations closes.

    In addition, in about 85% of courses, students and instructors will see a link to Teaching Evaluations is in the left navigation of their course. (The tool is not available in Business and Medical School courses, as they use an alternative source for evaluations.) Students and instructors can also link to Teaching Evaluations while they're in Canvas by clicking Accounts in the left-hand menu and then clicking Settings. They'll see the Teaching Evaluations link in the left-hand navigation.

    Instructors can view their real-time response rates by accessing their Teaching Evaluation dashboard. The response rates are only visible during the evaluation period.

    Additional Information: Office of the Registrar — Evaluations

    Preparing final grades for Wolverine Access

    Canvas allows you to download a final grade file that you can modify and upload to Wolverine Access.

    Course availability at the end of the term

    Students, instructors, designers and observers have write-access (i.e., can post announcements, discussions, resubmit assignments, etc.) at the end of the term. There is no automatic cutoff date. You can, however, specify an end-of-term access date — See Changing course access.

    Last Updated: 
    Thursday, January 25, 2018