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Community Member

Setting up terms

We are new to Canvas (High School).  Is it advantageous to set your terms for the semester (18 weeks) and not quarters (9 weeks) so that the teachers only have 2 terms to set up?  It appears the course ends at the end of a term.

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach​, we are higher ed and do a full semester for each term (so the full 16 weeks). Yet, since you're talking about high school I'm going to share this with the K-12​ to see if they can provide any guidance. I will say that there are things you'd want to think about in terms of what are the advantages of using terms for every 9 weeks - ex: an actual grade for each 9 weeks vs. only a grade for the final 18 week period.

Hope you get some useful feedback/information!

Learner II

Hi Bob,

We are a High School District as well so I would think our use case is similar. We set up our classes in terms by the semester for most of our courses. We do have quarterly report cards that get sent out, but it is only the semester grades that matter (are reported on a student's official transcript) so we do not need to have an archive of the quarter grades. This practice has served us well in the 3 years that we have been using Canvas now.

The only exceptions we have are our PE courses. In our district, PE credits are awarded quarterly so we setup the PE courses in 4 quarters rather than the Fall & Spring Semester.

So this is what I whole heartedly recommend! Let me know if you have any further questions about this.

Community Coach
Community Coach

In our building (grades 9-12), we set up our courses that correspond with semesters. Students receive final grades at each semester's end. Our semesters are approximately the same length as yours. A few of our courses run as year-long courses in Canvas, and we separate the semesters through implementing grading periods.

18-week terms can get long  -- and full of information! We have found it helpful to demonstrate how modules can help organize course content.

Thank you. Extremely helpful.


Robert C. Lees

Robert C. Lees

Assistant Principal/Admissions

4171 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34232

Phone: 941-371-4917


Fax: 941-371-6924


Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School provides a quality education centered in Gospel values.

Community Member

The only thing I would add to the previous responses would be to consider how grades may need to be exported from Canvas.  We have learned this year that when choosing to use grading periods in Canvas, grade book exports must be done course by course.  This can create additional work if Canvas grades need to be imported into a separate SIS. 

Community Coach
Community Coach,

We are giving the Canvas Admins area a little bit of love (especially questions that are really, really old) and just want to check in with you.  This will also bring this question new attention. 


Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.



Hi, I know this thread was written a LONG time ago, but I have an additional question about this.  I am a Canvas admin at a HS as well.  When setting up the term dates, does the Semester end officially when midterm exams are over?  I am assuming it does, as midterm exams grades are part of the semester grade.  Maybe I just answered my own question!  However, I would still like to ask about this.  Thanks!