What happens in Canvas when a Staff change, or a Course Code change, is made in Synergy

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When the primary staff is changed on a section in Synergy SIS (effectively, when a section of students are assigned to a new teacher, but the Synergy Section ID remains the same for the students), OR when a course code is changed in Synergy (perhaps someone entered the wrong course code and it needs to be corrected) – this is what happens upon the next sync between Synergy and Canvas:

  • A new, blank course gets created in Canvas, and the enrollments get moved to the new course.
  • The original course is not gone, it remains in Canvas with all the content -- however, the enrollments are no longer in this course.
  • Because the enrollments have been removed from the original course, the People become disconnected from the course, and likewise disconnected from their submissions, grades, and feedback.
  • To regain access to the original course, and to reconnect students with their submissions and grades, the enrollments need to be cross-listed, manually, from the new course back to the original course. ("Cross-list" is Canvas-speak for "move the section of enrollments.")

How to find the original course

  • Someone with the correct Canvas Admin rights can search for the course:
    • DO Not search for the course by Teacher because there is no one enrolled as a Teacher in the course.
    • DO search for the course by Course Name - first limit your search to the Term of the current school year.  Then, as long as the teacher didn’t change the name of the course, you should be able to search by the subject name or the original teacher’s last name. (This depends on your district's naming convention).
  • Once you find the course, verify it actually has course content in it.  Remember, you will not see any People; you won’t see assignment submissions; you won’t see any grades or feedback.
  • Make a note of the course URL (the web address at the top of the browser).   Or simply leave the course open in its own tab.

How to move (crosslist) the enrollments from the new course back to the original course with content

Cross-listing means moving the section of enrollments from one course to another.  Only someone with certain Canvas Admin rights is able to do this.  Teachers cannot cross-list to- or from- a course in which they do not have the role of Teacher.

  • Begin by copying the course number (I call it the “license plate number”) of the target course (the course with the content) to which you are moving the enrollments.  This number is at the end of the URL and is after the slash after the word "courses."   Below is a fake URL for demo purposes -- the course number is 83802



  • Now, go to the new course that currently houses the enrollments.   Click on Settings => click the Sections tab.  If there is more than one section, for efficiency I recommend doing a “right click’ and open each Section in a new Tab.
  • From each Section tab screen, click the Cross-List this Section buttonCross-List Section screen in CanvasCross-List Section screen in Canvas
  • Paste or type the course number in the second text box called:  “Or Enter the Course's ID
  • Click anywhere in the pop-up box to activate the Cross-List This Section button
  • Click the Cross-List This Section button
  • Repeat the process for any remaining Sections

Canvas Admin Guide:  How do I cross-list a section in a course as an admin

After the enrollments are moved back to the original course with the content…

Once all sections are moved back to the original course, students will become re-associated with their submissions, grades, and feedback.

Likely the new teacher (if they have permissions), or you, will need to go to Course Settings and change the name of the course and course code to reflect the new teacher's name, and make changes to the Home Page or any other areas where there is teacher information.


  • Because there are so many schedule changes at the beginning of the school year, we like to recommend to teachers to not import content to their "real" courses for as long as possible, and to instead work in their Sandbox courses (we provide every teacher with four sandbox courses they can use, and reset when they no longer need the content, so they can re-use the sandbox the following year).  This avoids a lot of stress and panic (and extra work!)
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Great write-up. Are you using the OneRoster integration in Synergy to sync with Canvas or are you doing a custom SIS Import process?