How do I publish a course?

Document created by Canvas Doc Team Employee on Oct 7, 2017Last modified by on May 8, 2020
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If you have permission to publish your course, you can publish your course in the Course Home Page sidebar or from the Course Setup Checklist. If enabled by your institution, you may be able to publish a course in the Dashboard.


  • You must publish a course before students can access it and its contents. Students cannot see unpublished courses and content.
  • Publishing a course is a course permission. If you cannot publish your course, your institution has restricted this feature.
  • Publishing your course will send invitations to any users who were manually added to your course. Users added via SIS import will not receive an invitation. 
  • Course invitations will not be sent until after the course start date. (The start date is commonly the term date, unless the term is being overridden by a specific course or section date in Course Settings.)
  • If you are using a Free-for-Teacher account, you cannot publish a course until you have verified your email address.

Publish in Dashboard

Publish in Dashboard

Locate the Unpublished Courses section in the Dashboard [1].

Find the course you want to publish and click the Publish button [2].

Note: If sections or the Publish button do not display in your Dashboard, these features have not been enabled by your institution.

Publish in Course

Open Course

Open Course
In Global Navigation, click the Courses link [1]. Your courses will be organized by published courses [2] and unpublished courses [3]. To open an unpublished course, click the name of the course [4].

Publish Course

In the Sidebar, click the Publish button.

Note: On smaller screens, the Sidebar displays beneath Course Home Page content.

View Confirmation

View Confirmation

A message will appear at the top of your screen confirming the publishing of your course.

Unpublish Course

Unpublish Course

If you need to unpublish your course, click the Unpublish button in the sidebar. Students who already received course invitations will not be able to access your course.

Once your course contains a graded submission, the course status will no longer display in the sidebar and you will no longer be able to unpublish your course.

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