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In the K - 12 virtual world, we have a lot of accommodations and modifications to provide our students. It isn't as easy as in the brick and mortar world where you just let a student sit with their test a little longer or you just let the student keep their homework for an extra week before collecting it. But thanks to Canvas LMS, there are still sooooo many options we have by creating sections within our courses!


It is against FERPA to create groupings where students can see other students with accommodations based on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Many of our teachers were creating groups and in doing this, students could select "people" and see those students who were grouped with them. Instead, Canvas LMS has the ability to create sections. By going to settings, then the sections tab, our K - 12 teachers can create sections where students cannot see the other students listed.


When quizzes are given, extended time can be given as necessary. On assignment due dates, extended time can be given as necessary. Announcements can be released to just these sections and students can be attached to separate assignments without knowing they are seeing things different than their peers! This is an amazing opportunity to be able to provide accommodations to our special education population without violating FERPA!

From time to time, we've held blogging challenges in the Canvas Community, and the contributed content has been amazing. Recently, it's been noticed that there's a need for content that focuses on student privacy and, more specifically, FERPA. 


Like always, share your insight and then learn from others. Get involved, and encourage others to do the same!




Student information needs to be protected, and student privacy needs to be respected. However, sometimes avoidable mistakes happen, and those often occur during to lack of knowledge of FERPA, in general.


What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, exactly?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."


In the Canvas Community, there are not many resources that can provide Community members with the context of how FERPA is/should be an active component of the classroom. With the help of a powerful group of bloggers, Community members would be able to share resources with others who are looking for clarification or “real world” applications regarding FERPA. 




Here are a few questions to inspire you as you begin to write. You do not need to answer them all or answer them directly; just pick what inspires you!

  • What are some logical applications of FERPA in teaching? This could be from a K12 or Higher Education perspective.
  • How does FERPA impact your classroom?
  • How does FERPA influence some of the day-to-day decisions you make as an educator?
  • How does FERPA impact your classroom?
  • How would you respond to a colleague who was breaking FERPA rules?
  • Does your institution provide direct training on FERPA? What types of activities or resources do they share?


Set aside some time for some reflection and writing. Think about how this prompt applies to you and your classroom on a daily basis.


To begin sharing your story, you will need to find the Canvas Admins or Higher Education group. (If you aren’t already a member of the group where you want to share your writing, you will need to join the group in order to publish your blog post.) Next, at the top of the page, click Content. Then, along the left-hand-side of the screen, click Write a Blog Post. On the next screen, you will see a blank template that will house your blog post. Enter a title and a banner image. Now you can start to write about your stories, insights, and reflections!


Before you publish your blog post, please add two important tags within the Tag This Blog Post section of the template! Make sure to enter the tags correctly. That way, it will be easier to search for all of the contributions for this Blogging Challenge! Without the tags, you may not get the recognition you deserve or qualify for the rewards.

  • Blogging-Challenge
  • 2020




All authors who submit a blog post before March 13th will receive 250 Community points and receive an exclusive badge added to their profile in the Canvas Community.


As long as Jive points are working, additional point prizes will also be rewarded:

  • 250 additional points = Top 10 posts (based on # likes, views, bookmarks, shares, quality of comments, and the opinions of the Canvas Community Managers + Coaches.)
  • 500 additional points = #1 Winner (from the Top 10) determined by the Community in a poll




  • March 13, 2020: All posts must be published and tagged correctly to be considered for the TOP 10. Posts published after the deadline will be welcomed, but unfortunately, they will not be considered for this contest.
  • March 17, 2020: The top 10 blog posts will be announced in a poll within the Advocates group and will be eligible for voting. The authors will have two weeks to increase the visibility and ranking of their blog. Share it, tweet it, get people to read and rate it, comment on it, etc. to help surface your post to the top.
  • April 1, 2020: The overall winner will be announced.

I figured this out myself when I was an account admin at a Canvas institution, and I have since seen it described in comments here on the community too, but I thought it might be good to formally commit this to words and pixels.


Sometimes an instructor chooses "Reset Course Content," not realizing the scope of its changes. They might think they need to reset their site to reuse it for a new term. Then they contact you, tearfully, with an empty shell where once stood their pride and joy.


If they are savvy, they might have tried the /undelete option before contacting you, but found nothing listed there to undelete. This is because, during a reset, Canvas doesn't really delete the course's content. It actually:

  1. deletes the course
  2. creates a new course shell and gives it the old course's name 
  3. cross-lists the rosters from the deleted course to this new course shell


As a Canvas admin, I had two mantras. One was "Canvas really never throws anything away." (The other was "did you check the course start and end dates?" That's probably a topic for another, entirely different blog post, though.) So it's relatively easy to reverse this charge and make your instructor's day.


First you have to figure out the old course's Canvas course ID. You can get this a couple of ways:

  • Examine the instructor's Canvas page views.
    This will be really easy if they just performed the reset. If they did this a few days ago or otherwise engaged in Canvas after performing the reset, you might have a lot to scroll through. Searching for /settings/ can help you filter, since resets are performed from the course's Settings page.
    EDITED TO ADD: Audra notes below that you can also pull this information from the Recently Deleted Courses report.
  • Search for the course name in your test or beta environment.
    If there are too many page views to quickly identify the course, head to your test or beta environment. If the reset was triggered since Saturday, then the weekly or every-three-week sync will not have happened yet. You should be able to find the course either by searching for the course's title on your account's Courses page, or by searching for your instructor on the Users page and looking through the courses they are enrolled in.

Either way, you want the Canvas course ID, i.e.{this}, not the SIS ID for the course.


Head to your Canvas environment's Admin Tools page and undelete the course site.

Now the site is back, with its content. You can add the instructor back in their Teacher role and they're good to go after that. And, remember my mantra, "Canvas really never throws anything away?" You can cross-list the student rosters from the new site back to this undeleted site, and the students' submissions and gradebook will reappear too.


I hope this helps another admin down the road! Let me know in the comments if I forgot anything.

In my role as a Project Consultant, I frequently assist clients with configuring their authentication for Canvas. Because I have had several requests recently for assistance with Okta, I decided to put this resource together.



  • Any user that needs to authenticate via Okta must already have a user account provisioned in Canvas.
  • The login ID field in Canvas must match the username field returned from Okta.
  • Access to the Okta Admin Console.
  • Admin access in your Canvas instance.

Configuring Okta with Canvas

To set up Okta as the identify provider for Canvas, use the following steps:

  1. From the Okta Dashboard, click Add Applications.

    Okta Dashboard

  2. Click the Create New App button.

    Create New App button

  3. Select SAML 2.0 and then click the Create button.

    Select SAML 2.0 and Create button

  4. Under General Settings, name the App and then click the Next button.

  5. Under SAML Settings, input as the Single sign on URL (ACS URL).

    Then check the option to Allow this app to request other SSO URLs. Copy and paste the Single sign on URL and then add 0 as the Index number.

    Click the + Add Another button and input as the next Requestable SSO URL and add 2 as the Index number.

    Repeat the process to add and add 3 as the index number.

    Next, input as the Audience URI (SP Entity ID).

    Click the Show Advanced Settings link.

    SAML Settings

    NOTE: For vanity URLs, be sure to add https://YOURVANITYURL/login/saml as a Requestable SSO URL with an Index number of 4.

  6. For the Authentication context class, select X.509 Certificate.

    Advanced Settings

  7. Under Preview the SAML assertion generated from the information above, click the Next Button.

    Next button

  8. Under Help Okta Support understand how you configured this application, select I'm an Okta customer adding an internal app and check the option for This is an internal app that we have created.

    Then click the Finish button.

    Internal app setings

  9. Copy the Link Address for the Identity Provider metadata.

    Identity provider metadata

  10. In your Canvas instance, go to the account settings and click on Authentication. Then select SAML on the authentication service dropdown menu.

  11. Paste the Identity Provider metadata link address in the IdP Metadata URI box.

  12. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button. This will populate all the required fields for the configuration. Click the Save button again to finalize the process.


Additional Resources

For more information about configuring authentication for Canvas, please check out the following guides:

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