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Community Participant

Certificate issuing - how to use Canvas to 'trigger' the process

We are a Training Organisation in Australia and, as such, we have a compliance requirement to issue certificates within 30 calendar days of the student's final assessment being marked and all units deemed 'competent'.  In this regard, I am seeking a method to enable our Student Services Team to be notified when a student has completed their studies.  


At the moment, there is no ability to set up automated notification (or any template) emails in Canvas.  An example of how this might work is an email is sent to Student Services to advise them a student's enrollment status has changed to 'concluded' (after a Trainer/Assessor has marked the final assessment).  This would enable Student Services to review the student's record and initiate the certificate issuance process.


As this cannot occur in Canvas at the moment, I thought to ask how other Providers are determining when a student has successfully completed their assessments (course), especially when using contract Trainers/Assessors who may be located around (Australia)?


One method I have looked at is to ask the Trainer to conclude the student's enrollment in the course.  The challenge to this approach is two-fold:

1. I cannot find a report in Canvas that Student Services can then run which details a Student's the enrollment state (concluded) and the date that enrollment state was triggered.

2. There is a business risk in having contract Trainers/Assessors be responsible for changing the student's enrollment state to 'concluded'.


Any tips of suggestions on how I might achieve the outcome I am looking for is greatly appreciated.



9 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @j_ronchi , I think a variation of something we do for our faculty training (and student orientation) course might work for you. Faculty have to complete the training course and have me review/approve their sandbox course to be certified. I then use an assignment to check off (using pass/fail settings) that the student has “passed” the course. Automated programming - from outside of Canvas registers this information - person who completed, date/time, and some additional info - and writes it to a table. Then for us, updates to this table of information automatically feeds back into Canvas and adds faculty to any of their “real courses” in Canvas. 

For what you are wanting I would see this as using a final assignment grade (or something similar) that the Instructor entered in as indicating that the student had successfully completed the certificate. This could be a made up assignment just for checking off that the student had completed the requirements or it could be a real assignment. The programming would then mark the student as complete on a table (outside of Canvas) and send an automated email to Studemt Services with the students information and date they “completed.”

The programming of this isn’t my area of expertise, but I’m guessing you could use whatever database you are familiar with or already using for other things. I believe what we use is an external database (MySQL) and set of programs that our Internet Systems Specialist,  @James ‌, has written. 

Hope this helps!

Community Contributor

What I have used in the past is Articulate Storyline to build the certificate and print options. Once it is built, you can embed the code into Canvas. It works great. 

Community Participant

We have used a combination of Canvas and Qualtrics survey software and it has worked in some situations. We set up a Qualtrics survey and put it in the last module of the training or its own module. That module only opens when the other modules are complete. When the student reaches the survey we ask a few evaluation questions. Once they submit the survey it generates an e-mail to the student and the facilitator acknowledging they have completed the work. This process isn't tamper-proof but it seems to provide enough structure that most students appear to be completing honestly.

Like John Boekenoogen, we also use Storyline and it has been successful for us as well.

Community Participant

Excellent - thank you for all your insights and opening up some further avenues of investigation for me. Smiley Happy

Community Champion

If you need a trigger in the true sense, then Canvas Data Live Events may be the closest option. Otherwise, you can poll to check -- we check our orientation every 20 minutes to see which students have completed it. We also have an LTI-invoking button that they can click at the end of the process -- controlled by module prerequisites -- to speed up the process.

Community Champion

Hi  @j_ronchi ‌. I have a similar problem with some readiness tutorials for prospective online students at my college. I have colleagues who teach online classes that want their students to view the tutorials, and I want to keep the tutorials in one place. I ended up using a Google Form, and the submissions are all collected on one Google Sheet that can be shared. My college is a Google Suite for Education client, which makes authentication easier. I documented the process in my blog post /blogs/greg/2018/03/22/google-forms-with-canvas?sr=search&searchId=344b1e56-2644-42aa-a28e-a8d044143...‌.

Community Participant

Hi  @j_ronchi ‌ - How did you end up going with this? We are stuck in the same situation where we have 100s of people completing courses round the clock and have no way of being "told" as such that they have completed other than a manual (time consuming) check. 

Community Participant

Not sure if anyone is still looking for a way to do this, but we use a simple PHP script on our web server to generate the certificate. We then added an LTI to Canvas with some custom fields for name, email, course name etc and used the path to the PHP file as the launch URL. Finally we added the LTI at the very end of a course, with the pre-requisite of scoring x% on a quiz (we actually lock all modules this way too so users would have had to score at least 80% on all module quizzes before they get to the final quiz). When the LTI is finally unlocked the certificate is automatically emailed to the user (and a copy to admin for our records).

Community Member

Has anyone found a robust solution? We are a government agency and our area can't have our own servers. 

We are looking for internal course triggers may be a quiz, assessment ect?

We are looking at large numbers, especially for compliance-based training. So a manual check is out of the question.