End of Year Guide

Community Team
Community Team

End of Year Guide

Authored by  @clong 

This guide is a collaborative effort to help you end your school year or terms smoothly. By carefully considering these  recommendations you should have the information you need to take the right actions for your institution. If you have questions about any of the items below or ideas on how we might improve this guide please add them. All users may comment on this document  

For Admins Only

Avoid Conclusion Confusion

One of the most confusing aspects of Canvas is knowing and understanding what happens when a course is concluded and how the settings made at the account and course level change the level of access students have in concluded courses. Here’s a little FAQ to clear things up.

Q: What happens when a course is concluded?

When a term, course, and/or section date has passed, the courses and/or sections are said to be concluded. This puts them  in a read-only (archived) state. Read-only means that the course is not available for submitting assignments, posting discussions, uploading files, grading, or any other action-based task within a course. Additionally, notifications and messages are no longer active in concluded courses.

Q: How can Admins control the level of access students have in concluded courses?

In the account admin area of Canvas (Settings > Account Settings), Admins can make adjustments to the settings as shown below:

⃞ Restrict students from viewing quiz questions after course end date

⃞ Restrict students from viewing courses after end date

Lock this setting for sub-accounts and courses

The table below describes the level of access students have for each setting. If Restrict Course Viewing Setting is not locked, teachers can control this in course settings.

Students in Concluded Courses

⃞  No Restrictions Checked

Can view their grades and all course *materials.

Can not submit assignments, take quizzes, post in discussions, use chat tool, conferences or start new collaborations.

View Quiz Restriction Checked

Can view their grades and all course *materials except

expect quizzes.

Can not submit assignments, take quizzes, post in discussions, use chat tool, conferences or start new collaborations.

View Course Restriction Checked

Can not view the course at all.

This will make it so the concluded courses do not show up in students “Past Enrollments” list and therefore they no longer have any access to the concluded course or its content, including their grades.

* Assignments and Quizzes that have a “Until Date” set for them, will not be available for students to view after that date regardless whether the course has been concluded or not.

Q: Can Teachers export or import content from concluded courses?

Yes, a teacher can download a course or quiz export file and a concluded course can still be used to copy or import content from.

Q: What other unforeseen problems arise when a course is concluded?

Course Menu - when a course is concluded, the course will disappear from the "Courses" menu if that user has not customized that menu. This is a good opportunity to remind students and faculty to click "All Courses" to see the concluded courses and point them toNot authorized to view the specified document 1288

Groups- Even though courses are concluded the groups in courses are not, so students will still be able to access those unless they are removed from the group.

Tune-up Your Term Settings

Term Dates

The Midnight Facepalm- Remember, the beginning of a new day is actually 12:00 AM and that’s the way it works in Canvas too. Many a Canvas admin has set their end of term date as the actual last day of the semester only to wake up with a plethora of panic stricken emails from teachers and students who aren’t able to do anything in their courses on the ever so critical last-day of school. To avoid this, be sure to set your term end date [1] to the day after the term actually ends. 

Teacher Time- The end of the year is a very busy time for teachers. They usually have hundreds of things to grade and after they’ve completed all that they need to verify all their grades before they officially submit them. Therefore, it’s safe to say that teachers will need more time [2] to have full access in their courses. It’s best to work with your institution's administrative team to determine how long after the term end date teachers will have write access to their courses and then communicate this with all of your teachers.

Term Date Override Optimization

So what do you do if you need a course to conclude earlier or later than your official term end date? Or what happens if a student is severely ill and needs more time to finish their coursework? Not a problem as long as you understand the hierarchy of term, course and section dates. Let’s take a moment to visualize these and discover how they work.

Section, Course & Term Dates
SectionSection dates provide the ultimate override. They trump both course and term dates and can be used creatively to provide maximum access flexibility in Canvas. If you have just a couple of students who need access to a course after the course end date you can create a new section, enroll those students into that section and give that section a different end date.
CourseIf you have a course that needs to be concluded early or open after the term ends setting a course end date will override the term date.
TermMost courses will end when the term they are in ends. Term dates provide the foundation for defining the window of course activity is open based on user roles in Canvas. However, if you need to get more specific, you’ll need to move up the ladder.

If you customize any section and/or course dates you should check the box “Users can only participate in the course between these dates” as shown below. If this is not checked and the course or section is in a term that has an end date set, then after that date the course will be concluded. However, if it is checked then the course and/or section dates will prevail.

Users can only participate in the course between these dates

For more information see:

What is the relationship between term dates, course dates, and section dates?

The Cross-Listed Conundrum

Did you have any teachers that cross-listed a SIS created section into a manually created course? If so, those courses will not be automatically concluded unless the teacher has set a course or section end date for them. Here are some tips that will help you navigate the cross-listing terrain.

Find Them. You can run a Provisioning report for the Default Term to see if anyone has cross-listed into a manually created course. To do this go to your Admin Area then to: Settings > Reports. Configure the Provisioning Report by selecting the “Default Term” and then checking off “X list CSV”. Once you download the report you have a handy CSV file that contains a list of all the cross-listed courses in the default term. For more information on reports, read the Canvas Guide: What Reports are available at the account level?

Now What? You can inform teachers they should enter a course end date for those courses or an admin will need to change the term for the course through the UI, CSV upload or using the API. Note, teachers do not have the ability to change the term of a course.

Help! If all or the majority of courses with students enrollments lives in the Default Term, please contact your CSM for additional assistance.

Summer Sandboxes

Many teachers will want to work on designing their courses and creating course content over the summer before your SIS created Canvas courses have even been created. So if you have a gap between the last day of school when courses conclude and when you roll and commit to your next year’s schedule when teachers new course shells will show up in Canvas, you can create “Master Courses”/”Sandbox Courses ” for teachers so they are be able to continue to edit their course content over the summer.

Teacher Created- you can allow teachers to create courses over the summer - by giving them permission to create new courses. To do this go to your Account Level Settings > Settings and check off the Teachers box as shown below.

Who Can Create New Courses

Please note, a new teacher who does not yet have at least one enrollment in a course as a teacher, will not be able to create a new course. Once they have a teacher enrollment in a course, the “Start A New Course” button will appear for them.

Admin Created- you can create a course per teacher through a CSV file upload or using the API.

Remind- teachers that they should not be teaching live course material out of their “Master Courses/”Sandbox” courses. That is, they should not cross-list their SIS created course shell enrollments into their “Master Courses/”Sandbox” courses. Rather, they should think about moving their course content into the correct SIS created course shell.


  1. Enrollment status vs. Course/Section status: Should you keep students enrolled in concluded courses? YES!  This is how you enroll, conclude an enrollment, or remove a user from a course. Mark as "active" to enroll a user in a course, "completed" to conclude a user's enrollment in a course, or "deleted" to remove a user from a course.
  2. The Conclude this Course Button
  3. Canvas does not delete anything, unless you tell it to.
    • You may decide as an institution to create a process/rule that after x number of year(s) old courses will deleted.
    • To identify unpublished or unused courses, you can run a report to list those courses then run a course CSV with the course status as “deleted”.

Additional Resources

Wrapping Up the School Year with Canvas - CanvasLive Video

Quiz Settings to Maximize Security - Canvas Community