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Community Participant

Student Hub for +40k Students?

We are interested in creating a "Student Hub" for our community college. Our initial thoughts on the idea are to create a course and enroll every student we have in it -- that would be somewhere in the realm of 40K - 50K students! 

So we came up with a few initial questions of concern. Any additional thoughts are appreciated: 

  1. Can all of our students be enrolled in the same class at once?
  2. Is there any degradation in performance if 40 or 50k students are in the same course?
  3. What ideas can you come up with that would help add new students, and remove graduated students, per semester, in perpetuity?

We're assuming that there's no restriction on course life duration. That end dates are not required and that we could simply create a term without them.

Any thoughts, objections, or knee jerk reactions? 



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10 Replies
Community Champion

Hi  @ddieckmeyer ,

We have a CCSD Hub for all staff, there are 53K staff members enrolled as students.

We place a button on the global nav, using this addMenuButton() JavaScript

ccsd-canvas/util at master · robert-carroll/ccsd-canvas · GitHub 

  • It is only visible to 'teacher' role, this can be changed to students
  • The icon links to a course, which is set in our Forever term, it does not conclude or expire

The course also shows up on their dashboard.

You could also add the link to the help links tray, if you didn't want to include custom code.

  1. Yes, with CSV SIS Import
  2. We have not noticed an issue with this many enrollments.
    Mind you there are no assignments, modules, or quizzes.
    It mostly houses an external search tool via iframe, which provides additional links and resources.
  3. Every morning we handle the enrollment process with new/removed employees via CSV file. You may be able to do something similar with a student enrollment import if you can query your active enrollments for the current term in your SIS.

Tagging SHEBENE‌ in case he as something to add.

Community Champion

We tried using Canvas for some pre-registration modules, and the gradebook became unusable after the first couple thousand students. We haven't done that in at least 3 years, however, so it might no longer be an issue. If you are using it as an informational (read-only) course, you will probably be fine - there really wasn't any course slowness from the user perspective, it was just the gradebook and the roster that were unmanageable at those enrollment levels.

Community Participant

Thanks for the insight and the code reference. This will definitely enhance our conversation about whether or not we want to start down this road. I will keep you informed of our progress. I think the bigger issue for us is the maintenance of the roster. Adding and deleting on a daily basis isn't that appealing unless we can automate it in someway.

Hmmm.... will have to think about that....


Community Participant

Yeah, I can see that the gradebook and rosters might be an issue - especially trying to keep it current.

Community Contributor


be aware of the spamming/notifications from this course. If you publish an announcement in this course there will default go out 40-50k e-mails..  So be very restrict of who can have teacher privileges and handle with care..

And the issue with keeping the user list updated could also be a bit of a pain..


carroll-ccsd‌ has the process for enrollments rocking for us. I would add to the above that it's great and yes, we don't use it to run announcements but if I ever need to skip red tape and get a message to all employees of the district it's nice to know I have it in my back pocket. Smiley Happy

We once ran a course with just one assignment in it for about 27,000 students. It kind of broke the gradebook too. We had to have Canvas run a gradebook export to look at results. If you're doing info only this works out really well and I like that we can run it by role. All employees by default get a "workroom" play course in Canvas when they're added as a user. They are a teacher in it whether they know it or use it. The delete button is hidden from all but us so they'll always be a teacher too. That's their ticket to seeing/using the "CCSD Hub" course where we can coordinate resources and information beyond Canvas itself. First ran across the idea for curricular resource sharing from Howard County.

Community Participant

Thanks Everyone for the great insights! Lots to think about here.

So in our own conversations, we thought that one option is to create a public course and provide a global nav button that points to it. With this students will be able to get to the information in the hub without having to enroll. it seems a good idea, no enrollments, no grade book, no .... what else? I'm not sure but it definitely removes the maintenance issues.

Any thoughts on pros and cons for this option?

If it doesn't contain any information that can't be made public, that sounds like the best option for you. We have a student guide that we've added a custom global nav item for, and we've just made it public so we don't have to enroll anyone in it. The only real "duh" moment we had was when we realized it prominently said "For help with Canvas, call 210-xxx-xxxx" (our institution's help desk, that then routes users to Canvas Support), and random people who Googled "Canvas help" were finding that, and calling, and causing great confusion because they were not in fact our students or staff.

Community Participant

We created a 'Learn How to Use Canvas' space for our students and wanted all students to be able to see it and all staff to be able to see it too (so they knew what advice we were giving to students). In the end rather than faff about with enrolment issues, we set the course up as an Institutional Course. So, in the Course Settings we popped it in the 'Default Term' with no End Date, set Visibility to 'Institution' and checked the 'Include this module in the public module index' check box. Then, to facilitate access, we added it as an option to the customisable 'Help' menu, so students can get to it through the global 'Help' option, as shown in the screen shot below.

Accessing the Learn How To Use Canvas Module via the Help Menu screen shot

It takes the Roster issues out of the equation for us: If you are a current staff member or a current student you can get access to the course area, if not then you can't (you control these settings when editing the link in the Help menu). We don't have to update users, you're either in or out based on your role. 

I appreciate this solution might not work for you. What we have here is essentially a self-help area, mostly pointing to existing Canvas Support materials plus a few in-house guides, so it lends itself to this solution nicely. We don't care less who's 'on' the course as such, but that's okay for us as we're not issuing assignments or anything through it, so there's no need ever to go in the Grade Book etc.